With Zach Plesac on the mound, the Cleveland Indians have been tough to beat of late. It’s a stretch that began against the Minnesota Twins nearly a month ago.
Plesac looks for a third consecutive winning start as the Indians aim to take Sunday’s rubber game against the visiting Twins.
Cleveland went 1-3 in the first four starts made by Plesac (4-3, 3.93 ERA) this season. Since then, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts during which the Indians are 4-1.
That run began on April 26, when Plesac allowed three runs over 7 2/3 innings of a 5-3, 10-inning home win over Minnesota. Though he earned his second straight winning decision on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels, all five runs Plesac allowed over seven innings of that contest came on three homers in the 6-5 victory.
For Plesac, however, he’s fine with a victory no matter how ugly it might look.
“Winning, that’s what we want to do,” he told Cleveland.com. “We want to win. (I’m) trying to do my part.”
Minnesota hitters have not had much success against Plesac. Josh Donaldson, Andrelton Simmons and Miguel Sano are a combined 0-for-15 versus Plesac. Sano, however, is batting .333 with six home runs and 13 RBIs in his last nine games.
He’ll face a Twins club that opened this three-game series with a 10-0 rout on Friday, but fell 5-3 in 10 innings on Saturday — even though it rallied from three runs down to tie the game against Cleveland ace Shane Bieber. Minnesota is 0-8 in extra-inning games in 2021.
“It’s hard because I think our guys went out there and played hard … and battled,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said after Saturday’s loss.
“Obviously, we need to find a way to get it done towards the end of the game.”
While the Indians have only lost one home series of at least two games all season, the Twins haven’t taken a set anywhere since April 30-May 2 versus Kansas City at Minnesota. The Twins’ last winning road series came at Detroit from April 5-7.
Minnesota’s J.A. Happ (2-2, 5.35 ERA) is slated to take the ball Sunday, and should be glad to face someone other than the Chicago White Sox. In his first five starts of 2021, Happ was 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA. He then faced the White Sox back-to-back in his last two outings on May 12 and 17, allowing 15 runs, 16 hits and five walks while fanning just four over seven innings to lose both.
The left-hander’s most recent victory came on April 28 at Cleveland. Happ allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings of the 10-2 win. Amed Rosario homered off Happ in that contest, and is 5-for-9 against him in his career. He’s 7-for-21 in his last six games overall.
Cleveland’s Franmil Reyes has homered three times against the Twins this season, but he’s likely to miss this contest after suffering an abdominal injury on Saturday.
Minnesota infielder Luis Arraez, who had two hits Saturday, is day-to-day with shoulder tightness.
–Field Level Media