Indians hope Aaron Civale’s return helps against Twins

MLB Minneapolis

Aaron Civale’s expected return to the mound comes in time to help the Cleveland Indians attempt to halt their recent struggles against the Minnesota Twins.

The right-hander is slated to make his first major league start in more than two months when the Indians try to avoid a third consecutive defeat to the visiting Twins on Tuesday night.

Civale (10-2, 3.32 ERA) went 3-0 over four June starts and threw 4 2/3 innings of scoreless ball against the Chicago Cubs on June 21. However, three days later he was placed on the injured list due to a sprained right middle finger.

He has not pitched in the majors since, but following a third rehab start last week, Civale appears ready for his big-league return.

“His intensity was up, his volume was up,” acting Indians manager DeMarlo Hale said, according to Cleveland.com. “He felt real pleased.”

“I think we came out of his last (rehab) start feeling very good,” Hale added, per the Indians’ official website.

Civale will face Minnesota (60-77) for the second time this season after he allowed four runs and eight hits over 7 2/3 innings of a 7-4 Cleveland home victory on April 27. He’ll also try to help the Indians (68-67) avoid a sixth loss in seven games to the Twins following Minnesota’s 5-2 win in the series opener.

Jorge Polanco homered and doubled three times Monday for Minnesota, which is 8-5 against Cleveland this season and has won two straight overall following a four-game losing streak. Polanco is 9-for-17 with five doubles, three homers and five RBIs in his past four games and is batting .368 (28-for-76) with 15 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs over his past 18 contests.

Civale is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA in five career starts against the Twins.

Polanco is just 2-for-11 with a double all-time vs. Civale. However, Twins outfielder Byron Buxton, who homered Monday, also went deep for one of those runs off Civale in April and is 2-for-6 lifetime against him. Teammate Miguel Sano is 1-for-10 vs. Civale, but that lone hit was a home run.

John Gant (4-9, 3.98 ERA) will try to avoid losing a fourth straight start and seventh consecutive decision when he takes the ball for the Twins on Tuesday. Acquired from St. Louis at the trade deadline, Gant’s first seven appearances with Minnesota came out of the bullpen. That included a scoreless inning of work with two strikeouts against the Indians on Aug. 16.

In his three starts for Minnesota, the right-hander has yielded 10 runs and nine hits over 12 1/3 innings. However, Gant is coming off his best start with the Twins on Aug. 31 against the Chicago Cubs, when he yielded just two runs and three hits while striking out five without a walk over five innings.

“Good outing to build off of and to keep working and be ready to go out there (Tuesday),” said Gant, who is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in five career games (two starts) vs. the Indians.

Cleveland star Jose Ramirez is 0-for-6 against Gant, but has hit safely during a five-game hitting streak vs. Minnesota.

With a two-run homer Monday, Cleveland’s Franmil Reyes has gone deep in three straight games and recorded seven RBIs during that span. He has never homered in four consecutive contests.

–Field Level Media

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