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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 4th (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Twins (1-2) at Cleveland Indians (2-1), 3:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Minnesota - Mike Pelfrey (0-0, 0.00) Cleveland - Danny Salazar (0-0, 0.00)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Indians begin their home slate Friday afternoon hoping to get back to the postseason for a second consecutive year.
The Indians, who are coming off two wins in a three-game set at Oakland, host American League Central rival Minnesota at Progressive Field.
Right-hander Danny Salazar started last year at Double-A Akron, but worked his way up through the ranks and ended the 2013 season as a valuable member of Cleveland's rotation. The 24-year-old went 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 10 games for the parent club.
"It's the first game of the season at home," Salazar said. "I closed the year last year, and I'm opening the year at home this year. It's something new for me. I think that's why I'm a little nervous. I know that as soon as I throw the first pitch, I'll be fine after that."
Salazar lost his only start against the Twins when he allowed three hits and three runs in four innings.
The Indians split a day-night doubleheader in Oakland Wednesday. Michael Brantley drove in three runs, including two in the ninth inning to help the Indians rally to a 6-4 win in the second contest.
"Things seem bigger at the beginning of the year," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "It's a great way to go home."
The Indians were hitting 4-for-32 with runners in scoring position in the series before Brantley's ninth-inning single.
Minnesota also enters on a high note, as Oswaldo Arcia's RBI triple capped a ninth- inning rally that lifted the Twins to a wild 10-9 victory over the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field Thursday afternoon.
Arcia's first hit of the young season followed Trevor Plouffe's single off Matt Lindstrom (0-1) that tied the score at 9-9, and enabled Minnesota to avoid being swept in the season-opening three-game series.
Chris Colabello drove in a career-high six runs on a pair of doubles and a groundout earlier in the contest, while Plouffe finished 2-for-4 with two RBI.
The Twins will start Mike Pelfrey this afternoon. He re-signed with the club in the offseason after posting a 5-13 mark with a 5.19 ERA in 29 starts. The 6-foot-7 right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in three career starts against the Indians.
"Last year, our biggest struggle was starting pitching," Pelfrey said, "and I think it's going to be a night-and-day difference. If you are going to turn it around, pitching is the way to turn it around. One through five, we'll be able to keep us in games and give us a chance -- and that is all you can ask for."
Cleveland won 13 of the 19 encounters last season.
04/04 10:27:16 ET
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