Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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MLB Preview: Minnesota Twins (18-14) at Cleveland Guardians (14-17)


THE TWINS: After completing their 10-game homestand with a record of 6-4 (1-2 against the Nationals, 2-1 against the Yankees and 3-1 against the Royals), the Twins began their six-game road-trip with a series loss on the South Side against the White Sox this week, salvaging game three yesterday afternoon…tonight, Minnesota will continue the trip with game one of a three-game weekend series at Progressive Field against the Guardians…the Twins have gone 10-6 at Target Field and 8-8 on the road.

THE OL’ FIVE-RUN 12TH, EXACTLY HOW YOU DRAW IT UP: The Twins beat the White Sox yesterday afternoon in Chicago by a score of 7-3 in 12 innings, avoiding the three-game sweep…Pablo López was the starter but did not factor into the decision, allowing two runs on six hits in 7.0 innings pitched, with one walk and eight strikeouts…the bullpen combined for 5.0 innings pitched with one hit allowed and six strikeouts…the offense recorded just five hits but walked a season-high eight times…Carlos Correa hit his fourth home run, a solo shot in the sixth inning to make it 2-1 and Byron Buxton hit his team-leading eighth homer in the eighth inning to tie the game at 2-2…Minnesota scored five runs in the top of the 12th inning on two hits, three walks and an error…Twins set a Minnesota-era record and tied the franchise mark (since 1901) by issuing five intentional walks

TWINS-GUARDS: The Twins are playing the Guardians for the first of 13 times in 2023… the Twins went 6-13 against the Guards last season, going 3-6 at Target Field and 3-7 at Progressive Field…14 of the 19 games were decided by three runs-or-less and nine by one run…eight of the Twins’ 13 losses to Cleveland in 2023 were by one run.

Carlos Correa hit .387 (24-for-62) with one double, five home runs, 10 RBI, seven walks, a .457 on-base percentage, a .645 slugging percentage and a 1.102 OPS in 16 games vs. Cleveland last season…he slashed .324/.452/.500 at Cleveland in 2023, reaching base 19 times (11 hits, 7 walks, 1 HBP), the most for any opponent in this park.

For his career, Max Kepler has 43 hits, 14 home runs, 30 runs scored and 31 RBI at Progressive Field (47 games), all his most in any opposing ballpark.

The Twins have hit 32 home runs at Cleveland since the start of 2021, their second-most outside of Target Field in that span…they have hit 33 at Guaranteed Rate Field in that span.

TROUBLE GUARDING LEADS: Of the 19 games against the Guardians last season, the Twins held a lead then lost in seven of those, the most by any opponent last season…in fact, five of those seven losses took place between June 21-30…below are the Twins starting pitcher numbers vs. Cleveland last season, compared to the bullpen numbers:

STARTERS 5-5 94.1 89 37 13 25 67 3.53 2.39
RELIEVERS 1-8 81.2 76 42 9 39 76 4.63 4.30

LAND OF 10,000 RAKES: The Twins have homered in a season-long 16 straight games, since April 18, tying the all-time franchise record (since 1901)…since that date, they have hit 26 home runs, the third most in baseball in that span, trailing Atlanta (30) and Tampa Bay (30)… the current streak is the second longest of 2023, trailing the Rays’ stretch of 22 straight to begin the season (March 30-April 23).

16……………………April 18, 2023-present…………………….26 ………………………………………… Buxton – 6
16……………………May 20 (2)-June 5, 2021…………………..27 …………………………………………….Sanó – 5
16……………………September 1-17, 2017……………………..31 ……………………………………….. Escobar – 7
16……………………April 25-May 16, 2017 ……………………..26 …………………………………………….Sanó – 6
16……………………April 28-May 15, 1979 ……………………..28 ……………………………………….. Smalley – 6
NOTE: Twins have scored an AL-leading 47.6 percent of their runs via homers this season.

BUCK TRUCK ROLLIN’ UP: Byron Buxton has hit safely in a season-long eight-straight games and in 12 of his last 13, since April 19…his eight-game streak is the third-longest of his career, trailing his 12-gamer (August 10-21, 2017) and his 10-gamer (April 1-20, 2021)…in his last 13, since April 19, he is hitting .306 (15-for-49) with six doubles, six home runs, 13 RBI, nine walks, a .414 on-base percentage, a .796 slugging percentage and a 1.210 OPS… below are his first 16 compared to his last 13:

FIRST 16 .224 10 13 1 2 6 6 25 .292 .379 .672
LAST 13 .306 11 15 6 6 13 9 13 .414 .796 1.210

ALSO: Buck has reached base multiple times in six-straight, the longest stretch of his career…it is the longest streak for a Twin since Josh Donaldson reached multiple times in seven straight from August 24-30, 2021.

2023: 1-0, 1.59 ERA CAREER: 6-6, 3.66 ERA
Making his third start of the season and first road start…also his 34th career start and appearance.

Facing the Guardians for the first time this year and the fourth time in his career…is 0-1, 2.40 ERA (15.0 IP, 4 ER) with one walk and 12 strikeouts in three previous starts vs. Cleveland.

Making his third career start at Progressive Field…is 0-0, 2.00 ERA (9.0 IP, 2 ER) with one walk and nine strikeouts in his previous two starts.

Selected by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of the College of Charleston.


With a chance to come home with a road trip split thru Boston (1-2) and New York-AL (1-2), the Guardians dropped a heartbreaker on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, falling 4-3 in 10 innings… marked their second extra-inning walk-off loss of the road trip (also 4/29 at BOS) after starting the season 4-0 in extras…Cleveland has dropped 2 of 3 in five consecutive series, as club is seeking first series victory overall since April 14-16 at Washington.

Cleveland relinquished a 2-0 lead for a second consecutive night, as 1st-inning RBI-singles from JOSH BELL and ANDRÉS GIMÉNEZ allowed SHANE BIEBER to take the bump with an early advantage that would last until the 5th, when he allowed his only damage on a pair of solo homers to Willie Calhoun and former Clevelander Jake Bauers (8.0IP, 5H, 2R-ER, BB, 4SO, 2HR, BK, 93 pitches)…the 2-2 deadlock would remain until both teams plated single tallies in the 9th…MYLES STRAW came thru with a 2-out double and then scored on an OSCAR GONZALEZ RBI-single… Calhoun matched the effort with an RBI-single in the bottom of frame that capitalized on a lead-off single from Anthony Rizzo and a stolen base by pinch-runner Oswald Peraza…after Cleveland failed to bring home the club’s Auto-Runner in the 10th, pinch-hitter Jose Trevino ended the contest with an RBI-single.

The Guardians, set to begin a 9-game, 10-day homestand against Minnesota, Detroit and Los Angeles-AL, are just 4-8 at Progressive Field and have dropped 11 of last 16 overall following a 9-6 start to the season…Guardians (14-17) hold sole possession of 2nd place in AL Central standings, 3.5 games behind Minnesota (18-14)…last season, club went 9-12 in April and 12-12 in May.

Tonight’s affair marks the first of 13 meetings between the Guardians and Twins this season…the Guards won 9 of their last 10 contests against Minnesota in 2022, winning the season series by a 13-6 margin, including a 7-3 record at Progressive Field…8 of the Guardians 13 victories against the Twins last season came in their last at-bat…on September 9, 2022, Cleveland held a 2.5-game lead over Minnesota, and on September 19, 2022, after winning 7 of 8 vs. the Twins, Cleveland held an 8-game lead over Minnesota.

Since 2020, the two teams are gridlocked with a 24-24 record when facing one another…however, the Twins hold a +26 run differential, outscoring Cleveland 216-190 during that span…in the Terry Francona era, Cleveland has claimed 7 of 10 season series against Minnesota, holding a 97-84 record against the Twins… Cleveland leads the all-time series, with a 1,183-1,039 (.532) record, totaling the most wins against the Twins/Senators franchise of any other MLB club.

Last season, AMED ROSARIO (32-for-85) had a club-high .376 batting average against the Twins, tallying an MLB-high 32 hits and 19 RBI against Minnesota in 19 games…STEVEN KWAN (23-for70) hit .329 against the Twins, getting on base at a 44% clip and scoring an MLB-high 14 runs against Minnesota last year…since 2013, JOSÉ RAMÍREZ has tallied an MLB-high 80 runs and 39 doubles against Minnesota, owning a .281 batting average.

Cleveland leads MLB with 16 games decided by one run, going 7-9 in those contests…the 7 one-run victories are T2nd in MLB with Baltimore (7-2), trailing Miami (10-0)…since TERRY FRANCONA became manager in 2013, Cleveland holds MLB’s 5th-best win percentage (2nd-best in AL) in one-run games.

Atlanta 240-198 .548
Milwaukee 231-192 .546
New York-AL 233-196 .543
St. Louis 239-205 .538
Cleveland 215-186 .536

Through the first 29 games this season, Cleveland’s 6 extra-inning contests rank T1st in MLB with Seattle…Cleveland holds a 4-2 record in extra frames this year, winning a pair of extra-inning contests apiece against Seattle and Oakland before falling to both Boston on April 29 (8-7, 10 innings) and New York-AL on May 3 (4- 3, 10 innings) during their last road trip.

Since last season, STEVEN KWAN has turned into one of MLB’s most effective leadoff hitters, ranking highly in several categories… since 2022, his 30 leadoff singles rank T1st among MLB leadoff hitters with Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr…his 159 total singles since last year rank 2nd among leadoff hitters behind Miami’s Luis Arraez (167)…his 33 1st-inning singles rank 4th among leadoff hitters since making his MLB debut…he also ranks top-15 among all MLB hitters with 8 triples (T3rd), 30 infield hits (5th), 18 3+ hit games (T6th), 289 times on base (T10th), a .294 batting average (14th), and 202 hits (T14th) since 2022.

In 2023, Kwan ranks 2nd in MLB/1st in the AL with 11 leadoff hits, only behind Acuña Jr., who paces MLB with 16…he also ranks T2nd in MLB/1st in the AL with 8 leadoff singles, tied with Chicago NL’s Nico Hoerner and behind Acuña Jr. (9)…with 29 singles so far this season, he ranks 5th among MLB hitters and 2nd in the AL behind Toronto’s Bo Bichette, who paces the AL with 32.

The Guardians 37 stolen bases, rank 1st in the AL and 2nd in MLB behind Pittsburgh (44)…Cleveland and Pittsburgh are the first two teams with 37-or-more stolen bases through the first 31 games of a season since the 2015 Cincinnati Reds (37)…the last time Cleveland stole 37-or-more bases through 31 games was when the club swiped 38 bags in 1992…Cleveland’s 12 multi-steal games in 2023 are the most in the AL and 2nd in MLB behind Pittsburgh’s 14, holding a 10-2 record in such games…4 different players have 6+ stolen bases for the club this season (ANDRÉS GIMÉNEZ, STEVEN KWAN, AMED ROSARIO and MYLES STRAW), no other team has more than 2 players with 6+ steals.

Los Guardians Spanish Radio Broadcasts return this weekend (May 5-7) vs. Twins, now available on The Gambler 1350AM in NE Ohio, WNZN 89.1FM in Lorain, and WHTX 1570AM/97.7FM in Warren and Youngstown. Los Guardians broadcasts feature Guards Hall of Famer Carlos Baerga providing the analysis alongside Rafa Hernández-Brito and Octavio Sequera who will be rotating play-by-play duties. The broadcasts will also be available via the audio stream on MLB’s At-Bat app, via NEO Sports on the iHeart app

2023 0-2 4.67 4 3 17.1 16 10 9 11 14
Career 0-2 4.67 4 3 17.1 16 10 9 11 14

2023 0-1 4.82 2 2 9.1 10 6 5 4 7
Career 0-1 4.82 2 2 9.1 10 6 5 4 7

The 25-year-old right-hander is making his fourth career start, third at Progressive Field, in the opening contest of a 3-game set with the Minnesota Twins…is making this start on 4 days rest after throwing 2.0 innings of relief in a 7-1 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday….became the 2nd Guardians player to make their debut this season in a start against the Yankees on April 12…he did not factor into the decision, allowing 2R/1ER on 4 hits over 4.2 innings in a 4-3 defeat to New York-AL…Battenfield got the call after AARON CIVALE went on the 15-day Injured List with a strained left oblique…he was originally selected in the 9th round (286th overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros…was traded to Tampa Bay during the 2020 season and later traded to Cleveland for Jordan Luplow and DJ Johnson on July 30, 2021.

His last appearance came out of the bullpen on Sunday in a 7-1 defeat at Boston…he did not factor into the decision, throwing 2.0 innings of relief and allowing 3R/ER on 3 hits with 4 walks and 2 strikeouts…the right-hander opened up his day by surrendering a solo shot to Alex Verdugo, he then walked three of the next four batters before Christian Arroyo knocked in two runs with a double… his second inning of relief was scoreless.

Battenfield last started on the mound in a 5-1 defeat to the Colorado Rockies on April 25 at Progressive Field…he took the loss, allowing 4R/ER over 4.2 innings with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts…Charlie Blackmon led the game off with a solo shot to right field…Colorado would plate three more runs in the 2nd inning…he didn’t allow another run following the 2nd frame and was pulled with 2 outs in the 5th frame…he has surrendered 7R/ER with 11 walks over his last two outings (6.2IP).

2022: Spent the season at AAA Columbus leading the International League and organization with 153.2 innings, it was the 4th-most in all of Minor League Baseball…he finished the season 4th in the International League with a 3.63 ERA (62ER/163.2IP)… threw 21.0 more innings pitched than anyone in the system…made his Triple-A debut in his 36th career game (142.1IP)

The right-hander posted a sub-3.94 ERA in each of the first five months of the season before posting a 7.48 ERA over 5 September starts…he earned International League Pitcher of the Week from 8/15-21 after throwing 6.0 scoreless innings with 8 strikeouts and 2 walks, it was hit fifth shutout start of the season.

2021: He combined to go 7-1 in 21G/19GS with a 2.53 ERA (29ER/103.0IP) while striking out 131 batters and walking 19 across two levels (A/AA) and two organizations…he did not allow a run over his first 17.2IP…was traded to Cleveland on July 30… at the time of the trade he was 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA (16ER/67.1IP) with 95 strikeouts and 12 walks in 14G/12GS. » 2019: Across 14G/5GS he posted a 1.60 ERA (7ER/39.1IP) with 46 strikeouts and 15 walks…only went 3.0-or-more innings in one of his starts

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