Right-hander Mike Clevinger looks to mend a few fences on Wednesday when he takes the mound for the Cleveland Indians in the rubber match of their three-game series against the visiting Minnesota Twins.
Clevinger (1-1, 3.24 ERA) will make his first start with the club since being removed from the roster due to an incident in which he and fellow right-hander Zach Plesac violated team safety and health policies by going out with friends in Chicago on Aug. 8.
“We have a lot of clouds over this organization right now, even though we’re doing great things,” Cleveland acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. “It’s time to start the healing process with these guys.”
Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti stressed that repairing the relationships with his teammates is an important step for Clevinger.
“I think Mike has had the chance to reflect upon a lot over the course of the last week to 10 days and is really eager to rejoin the team and get back up here and help us win games,” Antonetti said. “And I know in talking to our players, we’re all ready to have him back and looking forward to (seeing) him go out (Wednesday) night and pitch the way we all know he’s capable of pitching.”
Clevinger, who last pitched for the Indians on Aug. 5, posted a 13-4 mark in 2019 with a career-best 2.71 ERA in 21 starts. The 29-year-old is 4-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 15 career appearances (12 starts) versus the Twins after allowing four runs on six hits — including two homers — and five walks in four innings of a 4-1 setback at Minnesota on July 31.
Luis Arraez, who is 6-for-13 (.462) in his career versus Clevinger, extended his hitting streak to seven games with an RBI double in the second inning of the Twins’ 4-2 setback on Tuesday. Arraez is 10-for-26 (.385) during his current streak.
Miguel Sano carries a nine-game hitting streak into Wednesday’s series finale. He is 14-for-32 (.438) with two homers and seven RBIs during that stretch.
“We hit some balls hard and on the barrel as well,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It was a good offensive performance from our guys, obviously we wish we would have been able to get a few more runs across and left a few guys on.”
Minnesota right-hander Jose Berrios (2-3, 4.75 ERA) will get the nod on Wednesday after snapping a modest two-start losing streak with a sterling performance in his last outing. Berrios permitted one hit and struck out nine over six scoreless innings in a 7-1 romp over Milwaukee on Thursday.
Berrios, 26, fell to 5-3 with a 3.90 ERA in 12 career starts versus Cleveland after surrendering two runs on three hits in five innings of a 2-0 setback on July 30.
Francisco Lindor belted a two-run homer off Berrios in that contest and also went deep on Tuesday. He highlighted that latter home run with a celebration that he contends was to encourage his teammates.
“I’m not trying to show anybody up,” Lindor said, per Cleveland.com. “I am who I am. I respect the game. I’m not trying to disrespect anybody. I’m just trying to get the team going. There’s no fans to get the team going. We have to do it ourselves.”
–Field Level Media