Indians’ Sam Hentges returns home to face Twins
Cleveland Indians rookie left-hander Sam Hentges figures to see plenty of familiar faces in the stands for Sunday’s series finale against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.
The 24-year-old Hentges is a Minnesota native who grew up about 20 minutes from Target Field, where he pitched in the 2014 Minnesota Class 3A state championship game.
“Pitching here again, it’s definitely something that I have grown up wanting to do. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the big leagues,” Hentges said. “Now here I am facing the Twins, a team that I rooted for growing up. It’s pretty surreal.”
Hentges (1-1, 6.40 ERA) has shuffled between the bullpen and the rotation this season for the Indians, who have won nine of their past 14 games. Minnesota and Cleveland split the first two games of the scheduled four-game series before Saturday’s contest was postponed due to rain.
Saturday’s contest will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Sept. 14.
The 6-foot-6 Hentges is set to make his second straight start after pitching well against Pittsburgh last Sunday, allowing two hits over five scoreless innings.
Minnesota has won six of its past eight games while receiving a spark from second baseman Luis Arraez.
The 24-year-old went 3-for-4 with one double, two triples, three RBIs and two runs scored in Friday’s 8-7 win and is batting .423 (11-for-26) in the past seven games.
“We’ve seen him string together these types of games, where he’s just having those games making it very difficult on opposing pitchers, driving the ball all over the place, using the whole field,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That’s what he does. He’s a pest and I love watching him play.”
Twins starter J.A. Happ (3-3, 6.09) is seeking his first win this month after posting an 8.20 ERA in his previous four outings covering 18 2/3 innings.
The 38-year-old left-hander received a no-decision against Cincinnati last Monday, giving up three runs with a season-high five walks over 4 2/3 innings.
Amed Rosario is 7-for-12 with a home run against Happ, who is 4-2 with a 4.18 ERA in nine career games (eight starts) versus Cleveland.
Happ has also struggled to contain Eddie Rosario, who is 6-for-19 with two homers against the veteran hurler.
Rosario has been on a tear this month and brings a 12-game hitting streak into Sunday’s contest. He is batting .324 (23-for-71) with 13 RBIs over his last 18 games.
Cleveland has also received a jolt of power from slugging first baseman Bobby Bradley, who was recalled from Triple-A Columbus on June 5.
Bradley went 1-for-3 with a homer, a walk and two runs scored in Friday’s victory. Each of his past four hits have been home runs.
Minnesota has won seven of its past eight games against Cleveland at Target Field, dating back to July 31, 2020.
–Field Level Media