Jim Thome hit the 600th home run of his illustrious big league career as a member of the Minnesota Twins against the Detroit Tigers back on August 15. Soon after that, he was sent to the Cleveland Indians. . .the team he started his career with. . .to help them make one last push towards the American League Central division title.
The Twins and Indians will meet on Monday night to start a three-game series at Target Field, but any drama that Jim Thome's return could have brought, as well as any drama for either of these fan bases, evaporated a long time ago. The Twins have been out of the division race for a long time, and the next loss for the Indians (or the next Tigers win) will officially sew up the division for Detroit.
Neither of these teams come into this one on anything resembling a hot streak. The Twins have lost their last five in a row and 11 of their last 12, while the Indians have lost three straight and eight of their last 10. The Twins actually lead the season series against the Tribe thus far, 6-5, but these teams will meet seven more times before the end of the season, starting with tonight's contest.
No Twins pitcher has lost six consecutive starts in a season since Jim Deshaies did so in 1993, but Kevin Slowey has the potential to reach that figure this evening. Slowey is 0-5 since coming back to the Twins' rotation, with all five of those losses coming in his last five starts. He has not seen the Indians this season, and in his last start he managed only four innings of work, allowing six runs and seven hits in a 8-4 Twins' loss to Detroit.
He will be opposed by another player the Indians brought in for a playoff run that never really materialized, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (9-11, 4.61 ERA). He is 3-2 with a 4.98 ERA since the Indians acquired him from the Colorado Rockies at the trading deadline. He was victorious in his last start, allowing two runs on just three hits in six innings of work as the Indians beat the Chicago White Sox, 7-3, on Sunday.
First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. Twinkie Town already has their Game Thread up and running, so be sure to check that out, and we'll have the recap here for you after the game.