By: Corey Perez
CLEVELAND, Ohio- The Cleveland Indians are returning home Friday night for a nine game homestand. The Tribe went 4-3 over in games in Detroit and Chicago (White Sox) winning Thursday afternoons finale vs the Sox. Cleveland had lost two in a row before yesterday. The Indians are in the middle of a stretch where they don’t play anyone outside of the AL Central until they head to St. Louis for a date with the Cardinals on June 25th.
Here are three keys to tonight’s game vs the Minnesota Twins.
1) Home cooking
The Indians come home sitting at ( 36-31) with a very impressive 20-11 record in front of the fans at Progressive Field. While the Tribe has struggled to score in the last few games, expect the Tribe offense to operate a different frequency during this homestand as they average 5.8 runs per game at home, while only averaging 3.9 runs per game on the road. While producing runs is the name of the game the Indians also excel at just getting on base at home as they have a team on base percentage of .350 at Progressive Field. These next nine games could prove to be the difference in the division when September rolls around.
2) Kluber Day
Friday night marks everyone’s favorite day of the week, no I’m not talking about Friday but rather Kluber Day. Indians fans are blessed to see Kluber on the bump every fifth game, and this season has been special. Kluber heads into Friday night without yielding a walk in 41 innings, or 168 batters. That’s right Kluber hasn’t allowed a walk since May 8th. He sits at (10-2) on the season with a sub two ERA. Another Cy Young season may be in the works for the Indians ace
3) Return of the Indians Killer
Minnesota Twins legend Joe Mauer is expected to return to the Twins lineup for the first time since the beginning of May. Mauer has long had success against the Tribe, as he boasts a career .325 average against the Indians. That is the highest average in Mauer’s career against any one team in the AL Central. Not only does Mauer experience success against the Indians as a ball club, but he also has had individual success when matched up against Corey Kluber, hitting .327 lifetime with two home runs against the two time Cy Young winner. With the Twins sending Miguel Sano back to the minors, they could really use Mauer returning to form to keep contention in Al Central.