If this game doesn’t drive you crazy sometimes I don’t know what will. There’s 162 of these things. Teams will take their lumps and hit slides that will make you think “geez what the heck happened,” and then the next week they will hit a hot streak and rattle off eight in a row. Luckily for the Indians they have played so well early they can afford to have a bit of a slide and still be in the right place. They are even more fortunate that the AL central doesn’t have the usual players battling it out at the top giving the Indians further breathing room when they inevitable hit another skid later this summer. This upcoming series should be a good gauge against a post-season club who holds first place in their division. If all holds up, we could even be looking back at this series in October to try and predict what may happen in a division or league championship series.
June 2-5, 2011
- Texas – The Rangers come into this series with the Indians having won seven out of their last ten games and are holding down first place in the American League West with a 1 1/2 game lead. They have won back to back series for the first time since opeing the season with three straight series victories. Right fielder Nelson Cruz may have had an adverse start to the season marked by injury and offensive inconsistency, but he appears to be fighting his way out of the early hole. Cruz went 3-for-4 in Wednesday’s finale against Tampa Bay, and has now hit in five straight games, a surge that has helped his season average move from .202 to .234. Cruz, an All-Star in 2009, batted .318 with 22 home runs last year, providing a key lineup presence behind AL Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton. He missed two weeks this season due to a strained right quadriceps muscle — his fourth disabled list stint since the start of 2010 — but appears fully healthy again. Cruz is tied for second on the team with 10 homers.
- Cleveland - Prior to their series with the Blue Jays the Indians scored a combined 14 runs in their two previous series. Aside from a 11-1 drubbing in game on of the Blue Jays series, the offense erupted for 19 runs in route to the series win. Carlos Santana has been very hot for the Indians after making a mechanical adjustment to his swing. Over his last six games Santana has been hitting .412 (7-for-17) after an 0-for-3 performance in Wednesday night’s big 13-9 win. In that game Santana also scored two runs after drawing a pair of walks. Grady Sizemore also looked like more of himself after going 2-for -4 on Tuesday and following up with a 2-for-5 performance on Wednesday. It’s no secret that the Indians need these bats to produce for them to continue to lead the AL Central. Now if Shin-Soo Choo could break out, this offense could REALLY be scary.
Game 1 – Dave Bush vs. Carlos Carrasco
- Dave Bush 0-1, 4.43 ERA
Bush is replacing Matt Harrison, who is being scratched due to a blister. Bush has a 2.57 ERA in two spot starts, and he pitched a scoreless inning against the Rays on Monday. He is 0-1 with a 5.55 ERA in four career starts vs. the Tribe.
- Carlos Carrasco 4-2, 4.91 ERA
Carrasco has gone 3-0 with a 4.15 ERA in his past three starts for the Indians. On Saturday, the right-hander picked up a road win over the Rays after allowing two runs on seven hits over seven innings. He had four strikeouts and no walks.
Game 2 – Alexi Ogando vs. Justin Masterson
- Alexi Ogando 5-0, 2.33 ERA
Ogando avoided a defeat in his last start when the Rangers came back. In two relief appearances against Cleveland, Ogando has given up one earned run in 2 1/3 innings.
- Justin Masterson 5-3, 3.07 ERA
On Sunday against the Rays, Masterson allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in five innings, during which he walked five and struck out none. He is 0-3 with a 3.79 ERA in May after going 5-0 with a 2.18 ERA in April.
Game 3 – Derek Holland vs. Fausto Carmona
- Derek Holland 4-1, 4.96 ERA
Holland beat the Rays, 11-5, on Monday and is 1-0 with a 5.35 ERA in his last seven starts. He is 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA in his five starts on the road this season. He has never pitched against the Indians in his career.
- Fausto Carmona 3-6, 5.31 ERA
Carmona surrendered nine runs (seven earned) in four forgettable innings on the road against Toronto on Monday. In his last four starts, the righty has gone 0-3 with an 8.39 ERA. In his previous seven, he went 3-2 with a 2.22 ERA.
Game 4 – C.J. Wilson vs. Mitch Talbot
- C.J. Wilson 5-3, 3.32 ERA
Wilson is 2-3 despite a 3.19 ERA in his last seven starts. Over that span, opponents are hitting .209 off Wilson and he is averaging 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in his career against the Indians.
- Mitch Talbot 2-1, 4.50 ERA
One start after a rough return from the disabled list, Talbot bounced back with a solid road win over the Blue Jays. On Tuesday, the righty allowed just one run on six hits over 6 2/3 effective innings. In his previous outing, Talbot gave up eight runs on 12 hits in three frames.
1. 2B Ian Kinsler
2. SS Elvis Andrus
3. LF Josh Hamilton
4. DH Michael Young
5. 3B Adrian Beltre
6. RF Nelson Cruz
7. 1B Mitch Moreland
8. C Yorvit Torrealba
9. CF Endy Chavez
1. CF Michael Brantley
2. SS Asdrubal Cabrera
3. RF Shin-Soo Choo
4. C Carlos Santana
5. DH Grady Sizemore
6. LF Travis Buck
7. 2B Orlando Cabrera
8. 1B Matt LaPorta
9. 3B Jack Hannahan