The veteran right-hander looks to snap an eight-start winless streak as the struggling Twins conclude a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at the Metrodome.
Radke won four straight starts from April 20-May 16, helping Minnesota overtake surprising Kansas City for the top spot in the AL Central. However, both Radke and the Twins have since fallen on hard times.
Radke is 0-5 in his last eight outings, including Tuesday’s 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox in which he surrendered five runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings. He was pounded for three homers in the first two innings, putting the Twins in a hole they never climbed out of.
“Maybe I was trying too hard out there. I’m just pressing a little too much,” admitted Radke, who pitched the Twins into last year’s AL championship series.
Radke wasn’t responsible for Saturday’s 13-2 rout by the Indians. Casey Blake went 5-for-5 with two homers and seven RBIs against his former team and Matt Lawton and Milton Bradley also homered as Cleveland battered Twins starter Joe Mays.
The Twins have lost 15 of 21 to slip 2 1/2 games behind the Royals in the Central, with the resurgent White Sox just 4 1/2 out of first.
Cleveland has won five of eight and recovered nicely from Friday’s 9-2 loss, which featured a bench-clearing incident.
STANDINGS: Indians - 4th place, 10 1/2 GB, AL Central. Twins - 2nd place, 2 1/2 GB, AL Central.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Jason Stanford (No record). Stanford, who was 8-3 with a 3.18 ERA for Triple-A Buffalo, will make his major league debut. He took the roster spot of right-hander Ricardo Rodriguez, who was optioned to Buffalo on Wednesday after posting a 5.73 ERA in 15 starts.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Radke (5-8, 5.76 ERA). Radke is 5-14 with a 6.14 ERA—his worst numbers against any AL opponent—in 23 career starts against the Indians.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Indians - Bradley, .345 avg., 47 runs and 13 SBs.; Lawton, 13 HRs and 44 RBIs. Twins - Corey Koskie, .303 avg., 13 HRs and 47 runs; Koskie and Torii Hunter, 53 RBIs; Cristian Guzman, 7 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Indians, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Indians - 3B Blake, a journeyman who got 58 at-bats with the Twins from 2000-02, has 10 homers and 35 RBIs as the Indians’ starting third baseman this year. He made the team as a non-roster invitee to spring training. … OF Coco Crisp’s streak of seven straight times reaching base to start the game ended Saturday. … The Indians are 4-3 on their eight-game road trip. Twins - The Twins’ total of 57 double plays ranks last in baseball. Cleveland’s 101 leads the majors. … RHP Radke is 3-5 with an 8.25 ERA in nine home starts this year. … Minnesota is 15-16 against Central opponents this year.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Indians - 18-28 on the road; Twins - 22-22 at home.
INJURIES: Indians - INF John McDonald (back), 15-day DL; SS Omar Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL. Twins - IF Chris Gomez (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (knee), 60-day DL.