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11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE12:10 PM CT, March 30, 2019
Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota  Attendance: 15,271

Bauer to start perhaps last go-round with Indians

According to STATS
According to STATS

Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins

  1. The Indians took the season series with the Twins in 2018, 10-9, winning eight of the last 11 games after the Twins won six of the first eight.
  2. Cleveland won the AL Central last year with a 91-71 record. The Indians have won 90+ games in three straight seasons for the first time since 1999-2001. They have only ever done so in four straight seasons one time in franchise history -- six straight years from 1950-1955.
  3. The Twins finished second in the AL Central behind the Indians with a 78-84 record, one year after losing the AL Wild Card game. Minnesota hasn't won a playoff series in 16 consecutive seasons, the second-longest active streak in the AL behind the Mariners (17 straight).
  4. Corey Kluber finished third in the AL Cy Young voting after posting a 2.89 ERA with 222 strikeouts. He notched the 1400th strikeout of his career in his 199th game on September 28, 2018 -- the only other pitcher in MLB history to reach 1400 strikeouts within the first 200 games of his career is Randy Johnson, who did so in his 196th game.
  5. Jose Berrios has improved his ERA (3.94 in 2018), WHIP (1.14) and opponent batting average (.222) in each of the first three seasons of his career. In his last start against Cleveland, he gave up four earned runs and six walks in just 4.0 innings.
  6. Eddie Rosario was one of five MLB players to lead his team in hits (161), runs (87), home runs (24) and RBI (87) last season. He batted .311 with 19 home runs before the All-Star break but regressed to a .240 batting average with just five homers after the break.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 3/28/2019 thru 3/31/2019

What is expected to be the last lap around the track with a vaunted one-two punch in the rotation began Thursday afternoon for the Cleveland Indians. On Saturday, the pitcher least likely to remain with the team beyond this season, Trevor Bauer, will make his season debut when he takes the mound against the host Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

The Twins won the season opener Thursday, when Jose Berrios allowed just two hits over 7 2/3 innings and earned the victory in a 2-0 win. Berrios outdueled two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who gave up both runs on just four hits over seven innings.

Bauer (12-6, 2.21 ERA last season), who may have succeeded Kluber as the AL Cy Young winner if not for a late-season injury, is scheduled to oppose Jake Odorizzi (7-10, 4.49 ERA last season) on Saturday.

While Bauer and Kluber both were the subject of trade rumors over the winter, there's a far smaller chance of the 28-year-old Bauer staying with the Indians beyond 2019 than Kluber, who turns 33 in April and is under team control through 2021.

Bauer is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season and has no interest in signing a long-term deal with the Indians or anyone else. The right-hander told Yahoo Sports in 2018 that he told a friend he could shoot him in a, ahem, painful spot with a paintball gun if he ever signed a multi-year deal. Bauer backed those comments up during offseason interviews in which he said going year-to-year would maximize his earnings.

"How much would Bryce Harper be worth on a one-year deal?" Bauer told USA Today in February. "Or Dallas Keuchel? How much would Max Scherzer be worth last year to the Brewers, who were one game away from the World Series and needed an ace?

"If players are willing to take more risk and shorter term, they can really drive the value up."

The outing Saturday will serve as Bauer's first true regular-season start since he suffered a broken leg after being hit by a line drive against the Chicago White Sox last Aug. 11. While Bauer returned to make three appearances (two starts) totaling 9 1/3 innings in late September, the injury derailed what was could have been an award-winning season for Bauer, who finished second in the AL in ERA behind Cy Young winner Blake Snell, who only threw 4 2/3 innings more than Bauer.

While Odorizzi posted a career-high ERA last year, he enters his final season prior to free agency as one of the most durable starters in the game. The right-hander, who turned 29 on Wednesday, is one of just five pitchers to make at least 28 starts in each of the past five seasons. Odorizzi's peers in the group include Kluber and Scherzer, who have combined to win five Cy Youngs.

He had a rough season by his standards in 2018 and committed to working on his mechanics in the offseason. He posted a 13.50 ERA in limited spring training action, but he wasn't worried after the Toronto Blue Jays took their cuts at him in a March 10 spring training game.

"I thought I executed a lot of quality pitches. They weren't called strikes today. It wasn't a big deal," Odorizzi said after that game. "As long as I'm happy with the shape of them and how they were coming out, that's about all I need to get out of spring training. Sure, would I have liked to get some outs or faced more batters? But it's not going to make me miss a bit of sleep tonight."

Bauer is 6-7 with a 4.46 ERA in 19 appearances (18 starts) against the Twins, whom he's faced more than any other opponent. Odorizzi is 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA in nine career starts against the Indians.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 29, 2019

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