Cleveland (74-74) at Minnesota (76-73)
When: Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, MN
Time: 8:10 ET
TV: DirecTV 662, 668 Radio: XM 186
The Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians are still alive in the race for the second American League wild card, but time is running out. The Twins will try to gain on the Astros when they host the opener of a three-game series Tuesday. Minnesota is 3 games behind Houston with 13 to play. The Twins seemed to be doing all they could to play themselves out of the race with a five-game losing streak before recovering with an 8-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. With Houston’s recent struggles, the Twins are lucky to still be alive. Right fielder Torii Hunter has been hot, recording multiple hits six times during a nine-game hitting streak. Ervin Santana makes his 15th start and he’s been hot. He is 3-0 with a total of five runs allowed in 29 innings over his last four starts. The 32-year-old former Angel fought his control a bit with four walks Wednesday but limited the damage to two runs in seven innings against Detroit. Santana endured his worst start of the season in Cleveland on Aug. 8, allowing eight runs and 10 hits in 2 1/3 innings.
The Indians got back into the race by winning 12 of 16 since late August until last week when they hit a bump and have won 1, lost 1 for the last 9 games. The Indians come into this series 5-7 against the Twins this year. If they can come out of it 8-7, then things could get interesting in Cleveland. The Indians pitching staff leads all of baseball in strikeouts and they’ll have one of their top guys on the mound tonight. Danny Salazar put together his best start of the month against Kansas City on Wednesday, allowing only 1 run and four hits across seven innings to pick up the win. Salazar battled through some inconsistency at the end of August and beginning of September but has posted back-to-back quality starts. Salazar had one of his best starts the last time he faced Minnesota on May 10, allowing one run and one hit while matching a season high with 11 strikeouts in seven innings. He’s 10-5 in night games and the Indians are 13-6 in those games that he starts at night.
The Indians are one of those rare teams that have a winning record on the road (39-36). Overall they are playing a little better ball than the Twins, so I’ll take Cleveland tonight.
Pick: Indians -115