Tribe-Twins huge series in AL Central

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There’s a huge series emanating from Target Field this weekend when last year’s American League Central champions, the Minnesota Twins, try to gain some ground on current leaders, the Cleveland Indians.

The division has been so competitive that the Twins aren’t even in second place as of press time Tuesday, with the Chicago White Sox stepping up and mashing their way into contention for one of those two postseason berths from the Central.

Minnesota is only one game back of both clubs and will have a chance to directly overtake at least one of them — while having the pleasure of staying at home. Let’s see how the matchups line up.

Friday

Shane Bieber vs. TBD: If there’s any individual player awards that are as close to being locked up as possible, it has to be the AL Cy Young, which seems destined to go to Bieber based on the remarkable month-and-change he’s enjoyed up to this point. Not only is the Biebs a perfect 7-0, he also tops the Majors in ERA (1.25) and Ks (94).

The Twins don’t have their starter announced yet for the opener but more likely than not, it will be a bullpen game, something they’ve implemented a few times already this season. That means it will probably be Matt Wisler getting things started, and with one of the better crew of relievers close behind him, it’s hard to see this game go over opposite Bieber, who has seen the under go 8-1 in his starts. UNDER

Saturday

Zach Plesac vs. Kenta Maeda: Following an extensive layoff related to COVID-19 protocols, Plesac appears to have picked up where he left off from his dynamite start to the campaign. In his two starts since returning, the Ball State product has continued to throw great baseball, pitching into the seventh inning and allowing just one run in each outing.

Maeda, meanwhile, has been doing it all season in his first big-league stint outside of Los Angeles. In fact, all but two of his eight assignments have gone into the books as quality starts, as the 32-year-old has looked notably consistent. Maeda has faced the Tribe twice this season and yielded just a single run total. UNDER

Sunday

Triston McKenzie vs. Rich Hill: Among all the up-and-coming young pitchers in baseball today, McKenzie is generating some of the most excitement. If you’ve watched him pitch so far, it’s pretty evident why, with the electric right-hander showcasing a nasty arsenal, a 1.69 ERA and a terrific 19-4 K/BB ratio through his first three career MLB starts.

The rookie will get a taste of the old guard when he battles someone that is 17 years older than him, that being 40-year-old Rich Hill. The veteran southpaw is showing he still belongs in The Show, stringing together a respectable 3.86 ERA in five assignments. He hasn’t been going deep into games but the good bullpen in the wings can play just as big of a role. UNDER

Last week: 0-1

Season: 3-2

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