Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook has not been his sharpest lately. With the Indians’ potent offense he doesn’t have to be.
Westbrook looks for a career-high fifth straight win as Cleveland continues a crucial three-game series with the first-place Minnesota Twins at Jacobs Field.
The 26-year-old right-hander has been solid throughout the season, leading the team with 147 innings pitched and a 3.61 ERA. Westbrook, a sinkerball pitcher who began the year in the bullpen, has struggled lately, though, posting a 5.29 ERA in his last five starts but is 4-0 in that span.
The Cleveland offense, which leads the majors with 654 runs, has given him plenty of cushion during that stretch—scoring 53 while winning all five games. They show no signs of cooling off as they try to help Westbrook remain undefeated at Jacobs Field, where he is 6-0 with a 2.34 ERA and one shutout in 10 appearances, including eight starts, this season.
The Indians pounded the Twins 8-2 Friday in the first of 13 games left between the division rivals. Winners of five straight and nine of 10, the Indians have pulled within two games of the AL Central-leading Twins, who have lost seven of nine.
“It was important for us to come out and get this first one tonight,” Clevaland manager Eric Wedge said. “We recognize who we’re playing and what time of year it is.”
The Indians scored five times in the first inning on Victor Martinez’s two-run double and Ben Broussard’s 455-foot, three-run homer. It was Broussard’s second straight game with a homer after he had a pinch-hit grand slam Thursday—his second grand slam in a week.
“That is not Minnesota Twins baseball,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. ”(The Indians) are a good team. But to say we are going to pack our bags and go home because we lost one game—I doubt it.”