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Major League Baseball
Preview
Cleveland at Minnesota
When: 1:10 PM ET, Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Cleveland Indians are starting to flex their muscle as they attempt to gain ground in the American League Central. The Indians vie for their fifth win in seven outings after the All-Star break when they play the rubber match of the three-game series versus the host Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon. Carlos Santana, who homered among his season high-tying four hits in Tuesday's 8-2 triumph, has seven hits and five RBIs since the Midsummer Classic.

While Cleveland is ascending, cellar-dwelling Minnesota continued to plummet by losing four of five while going 4-for-41 with runners in scoring position since the All-Star break. Like his team, Brian Dozier slumped following the intermission by going 1-for-16 in his first four games. The recipient of the Twins' Heart and Hustle Award, Dozier redeemed himself on Tuesday by belting his career-high 19th homer among three hits.

TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, MLBN, STO (Cleveland)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Trevor Bauer (4-4, 3.89 ERA) vs. Twins RH Anthony Swarzak (1-0, 4.34)

Bauer improved to 2-0 in his last four outings by recording a quality start versus Detroit on Friday. The 23-year-old allowed three runs on six hits and struck out five in the 9-3 victory. Bauer has struggled on the road, posting a 1-3 mark with a 5.29 ERA while permitting the opposition to bat .298 against him.

With scheduled starter Kyle Gibson scratched due to back stiffness, Swarzak officially received the nod shortly after the conclusion of Tuesday's tilt. The 28-year-old has made 30 relief appearances this season and hasn't started a contest since the 2012 campaign. Swarzak hasn't fared well against Cleveland, posting a 1-5 career mark with a gaudy 7.34 ERA while allowing the Indians to bat .343 against him in 16 appearances, including four starts.

WALK-OFFS

1. Cleveland SS Asdrubal Cabrera is considered day-to-day with a balky back, although manager Terry Francona admitted to MLB.com that "if it persists, then we'll look into getting some help here."

2. Minnesota C Kurt Suzuki, who is 4-for-7 in the series, is 23-for-63 (.365) since June 30.

3. Indians C Yan Gomes is 11-for-21 with two homers and six runs scored in his last six games in which he has had a plate appearance.

PREDICTION: Indians 6, Twins 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Cleveland 51-49 W1 29-19 22-30 13-11 22-21 8-11 8-6
Minnesota 45-54 L1 22-26 23-28 13-15 18-15 8-15 6-9
Last Meeting
Cleveland Minnesota
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/22/14 CLE 8 MIN 2 .297 1 .828 .257 1 .762
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland M. Brantley .382 13 1.005
Minnesota K. Suzuki .280 7 .757
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland Y. Gomes 3 6 8
Minnesota B. Dozier 2 7 4
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 3.33 .270 84
Minnesota 4.92 .239 53
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Cleveland M. Brantley .324 121 .903
Minnesota K. Suzuki .312 91 .767
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Cleveland M. Brantley 15 67 63
Minnesota B. Dozier 19 72 46
Pitching ERA Avg K
Cleveland 3.93 .257 870
Minnesota 4.32 .246 603