Going into Thursday night, the Minnesota Twins trailed the Cleveland Indians by 16.5 games in the American League Central Division race. However, four consecutive wins by Minnesota coupled with four straight losses by Cleveland have narrowed the gap to 12.5 games.
Hey, it's not much. . .but with the way the 2011 season has gone for the Minnesota Twins, at least it's something.
Tonight, these two teams will meet to begin a three-game series at Progressive Field in Cleveland, in which the Twins will hope to continue the four-game winning streak they racked up against the Kansas City Royals this past week.
There's a bit of an interesting lineup change for the Twins this evening in Cleveland. . .in addition to Justin Morneau coming back (even though his wrist is "not great," according to reports), center fielder Denard Span will bat in the third spot for the first time in his career. Ben Revere will lead off, and Alexi Casilla will hit second. Morneau will bat fifth and serve as tonight's designated hitter.
The Indians have not scored a run since Friday, having been shut out by the Texas Rangers in their last two games, and Twins' starter Scott Baker (2-4, 3.86 ERA) will hope to keep it that way. Baker is winless in his past five starts. The Indians will be sending right-hander Josh Tomlin (7-2, 3.27 ERA) to the mound this evening. Tomlin has made five starts at Progressive Field this season, and is 4-0 with a 2.53 ERA in those starts. He has, however, allowed ten total runs in his last two home starts, so he is getting a little shakier as the season goes along in that department.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 6:05 PM Central time from Progressive Field. As always, Twinkie Town is the place to be during the game, and we'll be recapping all of the action for you once things get finished up.