Cleveland (72-75) at Minnesota (59-89)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 82° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri Sep 16, 2011
  • TV: STO, FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Cleveland Indians’ flickering playoff hopes are all but extinguished.

On the cusp of elimination, the visiting Indians start a weekend series with the AL-worst Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

Cleveland (72-75) was alone atop the AL Central for much of the early season, most recently July 18 when it was 51-44. Now, manager Manny Acta’s club is 13 1/2 games behind Detroit and will be eliminated with a loss to the Twins or if the Tigers win at Oakland later Friday.

“All we can do is keep showing up and try to win as many games as we can. We have to finish this season with pride,” rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis(notes) said following Thursday’s 7-4 loss to Texas that capped a three-game sweep. “We know we could have been playing better.

“Nobody on this team enjoys losing. It’s not time to start now. We’ll battle the rest of the way and finish with our heads held high.”

Cleveland is 5-6 against Minnesota this season, including 2-4 at Target Field.

Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) (3-2, 4.98 ERA) will try to win back-to-back starts for the first time since the Indians acquired him in a trade from Colorado in hopes of making a stretch run for the playoffs.

Facing the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, the right-hander yielded two runs and three hits in five innings and overcame five walks as the Indians won 7-3.

Jimenez will be facing Minnesota for the first time since allowing one run over eight innings of the Rockies’ 5-1 win June 17, 2010, in Minneapolis.

Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) - 0 for 16 in his last four games - is batting .302 (13 for 43) with three homers and 10 RBIs in 11 games against the Twins this season.

The Twins have lost five straight following a 7-3 setback Wednesday at Kansas City. After winning the Central each of the last two years, Minnesota (59-89) is in danger of finishing with the worst record in the AL for the first time since 2000.

“Our whole year has been based on injuries. We’ve force-fed this whole organization, and we’ve used everyone on our 40-man roster because of injuries,” manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins’ official website.

Joe Mauer(notes), who has been limited to 82 games in 2011, is hitting .435 (10 for 23) in six games this season against Cleveland.

Kevin Slowey(notes) (0-5, 6.07) hopes to avoid being the first Twins pitcher to lose six consecutive starts in one season in more than 18 years.

Slowey has been tagged for 21 runs in 28 1-3 innings since being recalled from the minors Aug. 19. His losing streak reached five last Friday after he surrendered six runs in four innings of an 8-4 loss to Detroit.

However, Slowey is 5-0 with a 2.35 ERA in his last six starts against the Indians. Three of those victories came in 2010, when he won a career-best 13 games.

No Twins pitcher has dropped six straight starts in a single season since Jim Deshaies from July 30-Aug. 27, 1993. Francisco Liriano(notes) lost six consecutive starts bridging the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

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Starting Pitchers

U. Jiménez Bal vs. K. Slowey Phi
10-13 Record 0-8
4.68 ERA 6.67
180 K 34
78 BB 5
1.40 WHIP 1.40

Scoreboard

Friday, Sep 16