The Twins fell to 17-37 on June 1, 2011, before ripping off 15 wins over their next 17 games. Manager Ron Gardenhire said last year's squad received a jolt from the starting rotation during the hot streak. He's hopeful that the Twins' maligned staff can piece together a similar stretch this year.
"They were eating it up," Gardenhire said. "We couldn't find innings for our bullpen, which was a good thing. You have to try to find innings for your bullpen. But it's been just the opposite. So hopefully we'll get some good starts in a row."
Minnesota beat Cleveland, 7-4, on Saturday to move to 19-33. But can the Twins use a June 2 victory as a stepping stone for the second straight year?
The Twins have already shuffled through nine starting pitchers this season. Southpaw Scott Diamond (3-1, 2.27 ERA) will take the mound on Sunday at Progressive Field.
The Indians will counter with Justin Masterson (2-4, 5.14 ERA), the club's unpredictable Opening Day hurler. The right-hander surrendered eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits in his last outing, which followed a pair of quality starts.
The outing before that, Masterson yielded six runs in six innings in a 12-1 loss to Boston. That performance followed up three consecutive quality starts.
"It's always one inning," Masterson said after his last start. "When I do struggle, it typically is one inning. It's moved around a couple times -- fourth inning one time, third inning, second inning -- mix and match."
Twins: Pavano headed back for MRI
Right-hander Carl Pavano was scheduled to return to Minneapolis on Sunday and have an MRI exam on his right shoulder on Monday. The veteran starter will likely miss his next start on Wednesday.
Gardenhire has been mystified by the turnover in the starting rotation.
"Through the course of a season, yeah, you've had some turnover, but just never in the first two months plus," Gardenhire said. "[There's] a real good chance [at using 10 starters]. A real good chance."
In 11 starts, Pavano is 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA.
Indians: Santana making way back from concussion
Carlos Santana, on the seven-day concussion list since May 25, could return to Cleveland's lineup by Tuesday or Wednesday.
"He's going to take a neurological test [in the clubhouse], and we'll go from there," manager Manny Acta said. "It all depends on the test and being approved by [Major League Baseball]."
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is tied for the American League lead with 13 stolen bases.