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Cleveland Indians (91-70) at Minnesota Twins (66-95)
Sunday, September 29 - 2:10 PM EST
Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
For the first time since the Cleveland Indians began their September surge, they have the fate of the top wild-card spot in their own hands and home-field advantage in sight. The Indians can clinch the top wild-card spot when they visit the Minnesota Twins in the regular-season finale on Sunday. Cleveland is looking for its 10th straight win and owns a one-game lead over both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers in the wild-card race.
The Indians will host the one-game wild-card playoff with a win on Sunday but could drop into a three-way tie with a loss that would kick off a series of one-game playoffs. Cleveland is 20-6 this month and is taking advantage of a season-ending schedule that included the Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox and Twins. Minnesota put up a fight in the first two games of the series but could not mount much of a challenge in Saturday’s 5-1 setback.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, Sports Time Ohio (Cleveland), FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.38 ERA) vs. Twins LH Scott Diamond (6-12, 5.54)
Jimenez will look to allow two or fewer runs for the sixth straight start and is 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in the last five turns. The Dominican is benefiting from improved command and issued a total of six walks in his last six outings. Jimenez struck out 10 over six innings against Minnesota on Aug. 23 but did not receive much run support and suffered the loss despite yielding just two runs on five hits.
Diamond owns one win in his last 10 starts and allowed three home runs among nine hits over 6 1/3 innings in a loss to Detroit on Tuesday. The 27-year-old notched three strikeouts against the Tigers, matching his total from his previous five starts. Diamond lost to Cleveland on July 21, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
1. In the event of a three-way tie after Sunday, the Indians would host the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday in a one-game tiebreaker. The loser would then head to Texas for a second one-game tiebreaker on Tuesday.
2. Minnesota has dropped 16 of its last 21 games.
3. Cleveland 2B Jason Kipnis is 6-for-13 with four runs scored and three RBIs in the series.
PREDICTION: Indians 6, Twins 2