Cleveland Indians’ offense continues to slumber as Minnesota Twins win, 3-0

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Indians offense continued to whisper sweet nothings Saturday night at Target Field.Carlos Carrasco, backed by an adequate offense, would have had a chance to beat the Twins. But there is nothing adequate about the Indians offense through the first nine games of the season, which was more than illuminated by their…

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Indians offense continued to whisper sweet nothings Saturday night at Target Field.

Carlos Carrasco, backed by an adequate offense, would have had a chance to beat the Twins. But there is nothing adequate about the Indians offense through the first nine games of the season, which was more than illuminated by their 3-0 loss to Minnesota.

The Indians have scored 25 runs so far this season. They’re averaging 2.78 runs per game. If their starting pitching had been average instead of great, their 5-4 record would be a lot worse than it is today.

Carrasco (1-1, 3.76) allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one. The lone drawback to Carrasco’s night was that half of the hits he allowed left the ballpark for homers.

“All things said, Carlos ends up giving up three runs,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “They were all solo homers. Sometimes when you’re playing Minnesota and you look up and say, ‘You know what, we’ll take three.’ We didn’t mount any offense at all. So three seemed like more.”

Minnesota’s Bomba Squad cherry picked its way to the win.

Miguel Sano homered twice and Eddie Rosario once. Sano’s first homer of the season gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the third. Rosario made it 2-0 with two out in the fourth. Sano homered again in the fifth to make it 3-0.

“Sano’s first homer was on a good pitch,” said Carrasco. “The next two were on really bad pitches, kind of flat on the top of the zone. . .To be honest with you I don’t know how Rosario hit that ball right there. He just went the other way. I looked back and that ball was gone.”

Kenta Maeda (2-0, 1.64) faced the Indians for the first time in his career and he made an impression. Maeda, acquired from the Dodgers in the offseason, allowed one run on six scoreless innings. He struck out six and walked one.

Bradley Zimmer’s infield hit in the fifth was only hit Maeda allowed. The only other Indians hitter to reach base against him was Francisco Lindor with a walk in the first.

“His changeup was the pitch that gave us the most trouble,” said Francona. “I think the more you see a pitcher, the more it helps. But give him credit. He pitched a really good ballgame. He kept us off balance. The two hits we had were infield hits. Frankie had a couple of line outs. Other than that there wasn’t a whole lot going on.”

The Indians are hitting .206 (57-for-277) for the season. In their three games against the Twins, they are hitting .154 (14-for-91). They posted a 2-0 win behind Shane Bieber’s eight scoreless innings on Thursday. Friday night, they lost 4-1 behind Mike Clevinger. Saturday they were shut out for the second time this season.

They’ve gone 2, 1, 0 in three games against the team they must beat to win the AL Central. That’s not exactly the kind of countdown that evokes dreams of postseason celebrations. Especially in a 60-game season where everything is being player in hyper drive.

Take a look at these Indians batting averages following Saturday night’s loss:

Greg Allen .000 (0-for-6), Yu Chang .167 (1-for-6), Jordan Luplow .000 (0-for-12), Oscar Mercado .091 (2-for-22), Franmil Reyes .200 (6-for-30) and Sandy Leon .154 (2-for-13).

Reyes and Domingo Santana (.188) have made some contact, but they haven’t hit a home run between them and have combined for just three RBI.

Maeda faced 20 batters over six innings. He didn’t throw many fastballs, sticking mostly with sliders and changeups. The Indians looked befuddled against those off-speed pitches from the top of the lineup right through Daniel Johnson, who was hitting ninth.

“The scouting report said he’s going to throw sliders and changeups and a fastball to get you off the changeup,” said Lindor. “He’s been successful that way. I didn’t make the adjustments so I didn’t get any hits off him.”

This series was supposed to be a matchup between the Indians’ pitchers and the Twins’ hitting. The Twins, with the exception of Thursday night, have beaten the Indians on both fronts.

The Twins used relievers Trevor May, Cody Stashak and Taylor Rogers to complete the two-hitter. Rogers earned his second save of the series after working a scoreless ninth inning on Friday night.

The Indians have managed 14 hits in the first three games of the series. Lindor had the Indians’ second and final hit Saturday night with an infield single in the seventh.


The four-game series ends Sunday when RHP Aaron Civale (1-0, 3.00) meets Minnesota right-hander Tyler Clippard (0-0, 2.54) at 2:10 p.m. Homer Bailey was scheduled to start for the Twins, but they announced the change late Saturday following the win over the Indians. SportsTime Ohio and WTAM will carry the game.

Fanatics has released Cleveland Indians face masks, with sales benefitting two charities. See details and product links below.

New Indians face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Indians-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). All MLB proceeds donated to charity.

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