Trevor Bauer will look to replicate his last outing when the Indians start a three-game series in Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Bauer tossed a career-high eight innings on Wednesday in Cleveland's 3-2 win over his former team, the D-backs. He surrendered two runs and struck out nine, just one fewer than his career high. Bauer took a no-decision, as a month now separates his last victory.
Arizona selected Bauer with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut with the team a year later, but the D-backs dealt him to Cleveland that offseason.
"That was two years ago," Bauer said after the start. "I've long since moved on from that. So to me, it's just another team. Nine more hitters to try to get out. That's it.
"There's no bad blood between me and them or anything like that. … I just tried to pitch and get outs."
Bauer's first full season in a rotation has been marked by inconsistency. Positive signs have been prevalent, like his 8.4 strikeouts per nine inning ratio and his 3.4 walks per nine ratio, compared to the 7.8 figure he posted in his first two seasons in a limited sample size (33 1/3 innings). However, his 1.42 WHIP ranks 105th out of 120 starting pitchers with at least 100 innings this season, according to fangraphs.com.
Bauer lost to the Twins on July 23, allowing three runs in six innings and striking out seven.
After losing four straight from Aug. 5-8, the Indians have collected five wins in their last seven games. They couldn't complete a three-game sweep of the Orioles on Sunday, as they fell, 4-1, in the finale.
Kyle Gibson looks to slow the streaking Tribe as he takes the mound opposite Bauer.
Gibson has improved his statistics with a solid end of July and start to August. In five starts (24 1/3 innings) from June 24 to July 18, Gibson recorded just eight strikeouts and owned a 7.40 ERA. In his four outings since then (26 2/3 innings), Gibson has notched 20 strikeouts and posted a 3.04 ERA.
Gibson's last start was Wednesday, when he held the Astros to one run over 7 2/3 innings for his 11th win.
"He was in command," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after the team's 3-1 victory. "Didn't overthrow too much. He had a good moving fastball. His slider was good. His changeup was decent. He kept pouring it in there and didn't let them breathe much."
This will be Gibson's first start against the Indians at Target Field this season. Earlier in the year, he stymied Cleveland twice at Progressive Field (on April 5 and May 5), allowing just one run between two outings.
Before Cleveland comes to town, Minnesota wraps up its four-game series with the Royals on Monday.
Indians: Starting pitching key
Cleveland can thank its spectacular starting pitching for its recent surge.
In their last seven games, Indians starters have allowed just five runs (1.02 ERA), and they hold a 0.68 WHIP in 44 innings with 46 strikeouts.
Bauer looks to extend Cleveland's streak of starters allowing two runs or fewer to eight games.
Twins: Buxton shut down
Outfielder Byron Buxton, ranked the Majors' No. 1 prospect by MLB.com, isn't expected to play another game for Double-A New Britain this season, according to Twins general manager Terry Ryan.
Buxton sustained a concussion last week when he and teammate Mike Kvasnicka simultaneously dove and collided while tracking a shallow fly ball. It was Buxton's first game at Double-A.
He is still feeling stiffness in his upper body around his neck and experiencing minor concussion symptoms. On Sunday he flew to the team's Spring Training Complex in Fort Myers, Fla., so he can be monitored by Minnesota's medical staff. Ryan didn't rule out the possibility of Buxton playing in the Arizona Fall League.
Ryan was less optimistic about Buxton returning for the rest of New Britain's season, which ends Sept. 1.
"I would doubt it," Ryan said when asked if Buxton will return. "They're on the road for 11 days and he's going to be in Florida and we still have to go through the protocol to get him cleared. So I don't think we're going to mess with it."
• Cleveland hitters on the active roster hold a .188 batting average and .250 slugging percentage in 48 at-bats against Gibson.
• In five starts since the All-Star break, Gibson is 3-2 with a 4.09 ERA and has held opponents to a .228 batting average.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.