July 26, 2007

Series Preview: Cleveland Indians

I have only done one other series preview this year, and it was for the big series against the Detroit Tigers way back at the beginning of June. I've decided to do another one for this upcoming series against the Cleveland Indians because I feel as though it might be a do or die type series.

If we win it, and gain a game or two, things might head in the right direction. But if we lose, and fall farther back in the Wild Card race, the season may near an end and it may change the team's approach heading into the trade deadline on Tuesday.

So, with that, lets preview the pitching matchups.

Friday, July 27
Boof Bonser vs. Paul Byrd
Boof Bonser had arguably his best start in his last outing, lasting 7.2 innings. Bonser will be looking to help his team break out of their four game losing streak, but a big part of it may come from the amount of run support. Bonser is only 5-6 on the season, but in most of his starts has kept his team in the game.

On the other side, Byrd has gotten consistent run support, and has a decent record of 8-4 on the season. In his last start, he also pitched pretty well, holding the Ranger to just two runs. Byrd has one start against the Twins this season, and got a win after allowing five runs.

Game Time: 6:05 PM
TV Station: FSN North

Saturday, July 28
Johan Santana vs. Jake Westbrook
Johan Santana is a second half pitcher, and is coming off a surprisingly rough start against the Blue Jays. In the outing, he allowed a season high six runs and career high four homeruns. I expect the Twins to have a huge chance of winning this game, and expect Johan to come fired up, looking to prove his last start was a one time thing.

Jake Westbrook was at one time the Indian's ace, but with guys like Sabathia and Carmona, has lost that name. Westbrook hasn't done so swell so far this season, and is sporting a 1-6 record to go along with his 6.20 ERA. Much like the Twins offense, he has been very inconsistent.

Game Time: 6:05 PM
TV Station: FSN North


Sunday, July 29
Matt Garza vs. C.C. Sabathia
The last game of this series will feature Matt Garza for the Twins. Garza has made three starts so far this season, and all three have been good. If Garza can continue to keep the ball down in the zone, and hit his spots, he should continue that streak.

On the other hand, the Twins offense will face off against a very good leftie. Sabathia has always had success against the Twins, and this season, is having a career year. The Twins need to make him throw some pitches and get him out of the game sooner rather than later.

Game Time: 12:05 PM
TV Station: WFTC (FSN Outstate)


The Hitters
Ryan Garko
Garko has had a good career against the Twins so far, and has hit in 18 of the 19 games against them. On the season, he has a total of 13 homeruns and 42 RBI. He's been a big reason for the Indian's success, and the Twins will need to control him throughout the series.

Victor Martinez
Victor Martinez is one of only six players to lead their team in homeruns and runs batted in. On the season, he has a total of 17 HR and 77 RBI. Martinez isn't the best throwing catcher, so it is possible the Twins may try to take advantage of that.

Twins (Series) Notes
Watch For Buscher
Brian Buscher will most likely be making his debut tonight at third for the Twins, but if not, watch out for him to get into the action sometime this series. Obviously, if he gets a hit, it will be his first of his career. It'll be interesting to see in Gardenhire starts him for two or all three games of the series.

Do or Die
As I kinda mentioned above, this series could be a do or die series. If the Twins win some games, and prove their last series was a fluke, it may give the front office some incentive to not give up on the season and make a trade. However, if they again just bomb it, there is a big chance the ownership will look towards next season and trade parts such as Castillo and Silva.