Minnesota (88-64) at Cleveland (74-78)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu Sep 23, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

J.D. Durbin, one of Minnesota’s top pitching prospects, makes his first career start as the playoff-bound Twins begin a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field.

Starting in place of Brad Radke, who is being pushed back to Saturday to help line up Minnesota’s rotation for the playoffs, Durbin has made three relief appearances thus far, posting a 2.08 ERA in 4 1-3 innings.

The 22-year-old right-hander said he’s hoping to prove he deserves another start before the regular season ends.

“It’s a building block,” Durbin said. “If I go out there and throw well and show I can handle the workload … maybe I’ll get another start against New York or home against Cleveland, depending how they set up the rotation for the playoffs.”

The Twins have dropped back-to-back games since clinching their third straight AL Central title on Monday, including Wednesday’s 7-6 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.

Joe Roa surrendered the game-winning hit to Paul Konerko in the ninth inning as the White Sox came back after trailing 6-3 in the sixth inning.

“Even though we clinched our division, we still have to take pride in what we do,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They’re trying. It’s not like they’re not trying, but I am sure you lose a little bit of an edge a little bit. Hopefully we can get that edge back.”

The Indians are coming off a 7-6 win in the finale of a three-game set with the Detroit Tigers.

Jhonny Peralta’s two-run double keyed Cleveland’s five-run seventh inning and Jake Westbrook won for the first time in four September starts, allowing three runs and seven hits over seven innings.

“I felt pretty good out there, but I wasn’t locked in like I have been,” Westbrook said. “I was elevating some fastballs early, but I settled down and got into a good rhythm.”

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Starting Pitchers

J. Durbin Bos vs. C. Lee Phi
0-1 Record 14-8
7.36 ERA 5.43
6 K 161
6 BB 81
2.45 WHIP 1.50