CLEVELAND (AP) — Jason Kipnis found a silver lining under the dark clouds — and the rain.
After the opener of a three-game AL Central showdown series between Minnesota and Cleveland was washed out Friday night because of thunderstorms, Kipnis said playing a doubleheader on Saturday may benefit the Indians.
“This could be a good thing,” the second baseman said.
The teams were tied 2-2 after two innings when powerful storms swept through Progressive Field. Following a delay of 1 hour, 57 minutes, the game was postponed and rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader Saturday.
Because of the lengthy delay, the Twins, who jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first on Jorge Polanco’s two-run homer, weren’t going to be able to bring back ace Jake Odorizzi if the game had resumed.
Now, Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli must lean on his bullpen to get him through both games Saturday.
Kipnis believes that could help the Indians, who entered the series 3 ½ games back.
“They punched first and we came right back, so it looked like we were ready to play,” Kipnis said. “Guys were into the game from the start and it could be a good thing. They had a bullpen game going tomorrow, and now they got to fit it into two. So they lose out on Odorizzi. Granted we lose (Aaron) Civale, but we get to come back with (Mike Clevinger) Clev and they got to piece together two starts tomorrow.”
Saturday’s first game will start at 1:10 p.m. with the second game scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
Clevinger, who has won his last 10 decisions and is 4-0 at home, will start the opener for Cleveland. Manager Terry Francona plans to use his bullpen in the nightcap.
The Twins were already dragging after getting to Cleveland at 5 a.m. Friday. They’re also dealing with an assortment of injuries.
Baldelli has a new challenge.
“We have 18 innings to cover at least, you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “This is a pretty unique experience. I don’t know if I’ve seen the two-bullpen-days in one day, but I think we have the personnel to make it work.”
Odorizzi has dominated the Indians this season, going 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA in four starts. The right-hander was upset that Mother Nature altered his start and this series.
“For me it’s lousy because this is the last time to see these guys this year after I threw pretty well against them.” he said. “I’m frustrated because I wanted to pitch against them.”
On a humid September night, Cleveland fans were in October form.
After his leadoff double in the first inning, All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor waved toward Cleveland’s dugout to fire up his teammates. The Indians’ crowd was already revved up.
“It was the kind of energy I wanted to see from my teammates,” he said. “We had great energy. And the crowd, I mean, they’ve been like that all season long except for weekdays. It’s hard to come to every game and have the same energy. But whenever weekends, the crowd usually shows up. It’s fun.
“They’ve got rally towels and they had all kinds of stuff going. It was fun. But I was more pleased with my teammates and how they reacted.”
Twins: Baldelli doesn’t expect utility INF Ehire Adrianza (strained right oblique) to return anytime soon. “It’s not a matter of days,” Baldelli said. Adrianza was injured swinging at a pitch Thursday.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber played catch from 60 feet for the first time since the two-time Cy Young winner’s comeback from a broken arm was slowed by a strained oblique. It’s still not known he’ll pitch again this season. … 3B Jose Ramirez took grounders as he recovers from a broken hand that seemed to ransack the Indians’ postseason hopes. Ramirez can grip a bat, but hasn’t started swinging. … OF Tyler Naquin underwent right knee reconstruction surgery Thursday in Houston. His recovery time is estimated from 7-9 months.
Twins: Baldelli has several options to start Game 1 but said he will talk with pitching coach Wes Johnson before making a decision.
Indians: Clevinger (11-2, 2.72 ERA) beat the Twins in his last start, allowing four hits in 6 1/3 innings on Sept. 8.