CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Indian offensive continued to whisper sweet words on Saturday night at Target Field.
Carlos Carrasco, supported by an adequate offense, would have had a chance to beat the Twins. But there is nothing adequate about the Indians’ offense in the first nine games of the season, which was more than illuminated by their 3-0 loss to Minnesota.
The Indians have scored 25 points so far this season. They average 2.78 races per game. If their starting pitch had been average instead of excellent, their 5-4 record would be much worse than today.
Carrasco (1-1, 3.76) allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. He took out five and walked one. The only downside to Carrasco’s night was that half of the hits he gave left the ballpark for home runs.
“Everything is said, Carlos ended up giving up three points,” said Indian manager Terry Francona. “They were all solo circuits. Sometimes when you’re playing Minnesota and you look up and say, “You know what, we’ll take three.” We didn’t mount any offense at all. So three seemed more.
The Cherry Bomba Squad of Minnesota picked the win.
Miguel Sano had two homers and Eddie Rosario once. Sano’s first home run of the season gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the third. Rosario made it 2-0 with two strikeouts in the fourth. Sano had another homerun in the fifth to make it 3-0.
“Sano’s first circuit was on good ground,” Carrasco said. “The next two were on very bad ground, a little flat at the top of the zone. . To be honest with you, I don’t know how Rosario hit that ball there. He just went the other way. I looked back and that bullet was gone.
Kenta Maeda (2-0, 1.64) faced the Indians for the first time in his career and he made a good impression. Maeda, acquired from the Dodgers in the offseason, allowed a run in six scoreless innings. He pulled out six and walked one.
Bradley Zimmer’s infielder in the fifth was only allowed in Maeda. The only other Indian hitter to reach base against him was Francisco Lindor with a step in the first.
“His change was the terrain that gave us the most problems,” said Francona. “I think the more you see a pitcher, the more it helps. But give it credit. He pitched a really good baseball game. He got us out of balance. The two hits we got were hits on the pitch. Frankie has had a few line outs. Other than that, not much was happening.
Indians hit .206 (57-for-277) for the season. In their three games against the Twins, they reach 0.154 (14 for 91). They posted a 2-0 win behind Shane Bieber’s eight scoreless innings on Thursday. Friday night, they lost 4-1 to Mike Clevinger. On Saturday they were excluded for the first time this season.
They have made 2, 1, 0 in three games against the team they need to beat to win AL Central. It’s not exactly the kind of countdown that conjures up dreams of post-season celebrations. Especially in a season of 60 games where everything is played in hyper drive.
Take a look at these Indians batting averages after Saturday night’s loss:
Greg Allen .000 (0-for-6), Yu Chang .167 (1-for-6), Jordan Luplow .000 (0-for-12), Oscar Mercado .091 (2-for-22), Franmil Reyes .200 (6-for-30) and Sandy Leon .154 (2-for-13).
Reyes and Domingo Santana (.188) made contact, but they failed a homerun between them and combined for just three RBIs.
Maeda faced 20 batters in six innings. He didn’t throw a lot of fastballs, mostly sticking with sliders and changes. The Indians looked puzzled at the speedy throws from the top of the line-up through Daniel Johnson, who reached ninth place.
“The scout report said it was going to throw sliders and changes and a fastball to get you out of the change,” Lindor said. “He succeeded that way. I didn’t make the adjustments so I wasn’t affected by him.
This series was meant to be a match between the Indian pitchers and the Twins’ shots. The Twins, with the exception of Thursday night, beat the Indians on both fronts.
The Twins used relievers Trevor May, Cody Stashak and Taylor Rogers to complete the double hitter. Rogers got his second stoppage of the series after working a scoreless ninth inning on Friday night.
The Indians had 14 hits in the first three games of the series. Lindor won the Indians’ second and final stroke on Saturday night with a field single in the seventh.
The four-game streak ends Sunday when RHP Aaron Civale (1-0, 3.00) meets Minnesota right-hander Tyler Clippard (0-0, 2.54) at 2:10 p.m. Homer Bailey was due to start for the Twins, but they announced the change late Saturday following the victory over the Indians. SportsTime Ohio and WTAM will wear the game.
New Indian masks for sale: Here’s where you can purchase Cleveland Indian-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB profits are donated to charity.
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