Minnesota Twins (51-50) @ Cleveland Indians (59-43)
The Twins look to notch their first win this season against Cleveland in a three game weekend series on the road. If they don’t get that elusive win this season, it doesn’t matter too much. First of all, the Twins have essentially played themselves out of the playoff picture, going 2-7 over their last three series including sweeps at the hands of Detroit and Toronto. Secondly, they will get plenty more chances against this Indians team. In fact, their next 14 games, and 26 of their next 45, (58%) are evenly split against Cleveland and Kansas City. So get used to these guys, because we’re going to see a lot of them. The Indians have been playing .500 since the break, losing 3 of 4 in their most recent series against Boston to start their current homestand. They remain in second place in the AL Central, 1.5 games back of Detroit. They have been very good at home, only the Angels and Brewers have fewer home losses than the Indians 35-18 record. The Twins, meanwhile, need a weekend sweep to get back to .500 on the road from their current 23-26 mark.
If you happen to be reading this in Cleveland, and are planning on going to the games, you need to read these first. Mistake by the Lake has all the info you could want on the parking and concessions at Jacobs Field. I love the scatterplot breakdown of parking price versus walking distance. If you’re looking for something to do after the game, if you can somehow make your way into the clubhouse, you could participate in a baseball video game tournament. Alternatively, you could befriend Grady Sizemore and tag along on his trips to Las Vegas. If you’re more laid back than that, you could just ask Sizemore where to find the local whiffle ball games. The commercials here aren’t quite awkward enough to be uproariously funny, but I did enjoy the argument about ghost runners.
The Indians have been very proactive this season in signing their big-name free agents before they hit the open market. Manager Eric Wedge and designated hitter Travis Hafner are the most recent to sign extensions. After signing his extension, Wedge went right out and gave an exciting preview of what to expect in years to come. With Hafner in place, here’s a look at what the Indians of the future will look like. Actually, they look an awful lot like the Indians of right now. Knowing that Democrats are much more likely to favor the designated hitter rule, wouldn’t it have made more sense for Hafner to sign in a blue state (preferably one that doesn’t have an AL Central team)? On the flip side of the coin, could there be the possibility that Twins fans, soured on the DH concept by the likes of Jason Tyner and Garrett Jones, will exhibit a swing to the conservative side of the political spectrum?
While we’re on a political note, I found it interesting that the Indians developmental academy in the Dominican Republic has began to require that its prospects attend a secondary education program and pursue high school degrees. Even more interesting is that Cleveland is one of the first organizations to do so.
From the future of the Indians to the past, here are a couple of stories. One concerns the career of Larry Doby, the first African American player in the American League. The other is a real interesting story about former Indians oufielder Dave Gallagher’s debut playing behind his idol Steve Carlton.
Lastly, with the Twins falling out of the race, if they don’t turn things around this weekend, I may find myself joining the fan-club with the most ingenious nickname I’ve heard in a while. That’s right, I may become one of R-Gark’s Aardvarks.