Series Preview: Indians vs. Pirates

There’s 162 of these things. It’s only June 17. There’s still plenty of time to make up a one game deficit in the American League Central. The Indians will return home to a place where, up until their most recent homestand, was a good place for the Tribe. They will be welcoming in the streaking Pittsburgh Pirates. Yes, the Pittsburgh Pirates that are two games above .500 and have won four straight. I’ve always loved this series and I’ll be there Saturday night to witness game 2 first hand. Normally when the Bucs tome to town it’s a meaningless series but a sweep of the Pirates would put the Tribe right back atop the American League Central.

June 17-19, 2011

Progressive Field

Scouting Report

  • Pittsburgh – The Pirates will roll into Progressive field having won four straight to push their record to two games above .500. They also have the National League’s best road record a year after they won just 17 games away from PNC Park.  Yes, these same Pirates that have had 18 straight losing seasons. On the bright side for the Tribe they also have the Majors worst interleague winning percentage. They’re also just three games out of first place in the NL Central. Andrew McCutchen has turned things around offensively for the Pirates using the recent Houston series to propel his average to .294. As of late, he’s seemed more like his moniker of “McClutchen.”
  • Cleveland – The Indians haven’t won a series this month. They’ve lost 11 of 14, have a team batting average of .199, their offense has only scored 30 runs and they have been shut out six times during that span. A trip back home could be just what’s needed as the Indians have enjoyed success at Progressive Field and the Pirates have one of the worst interleague winning percentages in baseball. The Indians need a series win to, at the very least, build some confidence heading into the final stretch before the All-Star break. They could also benefit from getting designated hitter Travis Hafner back at some point over the weekend.

Pitching Match-up(s)

Game 1 – Kevin Correia vs. Josh Tomlin

  • Kevin Correia  8-5, 3.73  ERA

Correia must be glad his next start is on the road, where he is 7-1 with a 2.42 ERA. Correia allowed two hits in his first six innings on Sunday before unraveling late. Still, his eight wins leads a Pirates staff that has 22.

  • Josh Tomlin  7-4, 4.14 ERA

As poor as the Indians’ offense has been over the past few weeks, Tomlin has not helped his own cause, giving up six earned runs in each of his last three starts. After starting the year 6-1, he is now 7-4.

Game 2 – Paul Maholm vs. Carlos Carrasco

  • Paul Maholm  3-7, 3.12 ERA

Maholm hasn’t allowed a run in three of his last four starts, including Monday’s vs. the Mets. His record continues to be deceiving because of a lack of run support and blown saves, but he’s been as consistent as anyone on the staff.

  • Carlos Carrasco  6-3, 4.09 ERA

In a game where I was finally able to watch instead of listen to, Carlos Carrasco was dominant against the Yankees for the better part of seven innings. He got out of some early inning jams and was able to settle in allowing five hits, no runs and he struck out a season high seven. The Tribe has won just three times in their last ten ballgames, two of those came on the arm of Carlos Carrasco.

Game 3 – Jeff Karstens vs. Justin Masterson

  • Jeff Karstens  4-4, 2.66 ERA

Karstens has allowed just one run in his last 20 2/3 innings over his last three starts, including none in his last two. Karstens surrendered just three hits in 6 2/3 innings on Tuesday against the Astros.

  • Justin Masterson  5-5, 3.16 ERA

Masterson won his first five starts of the season, but a slumping Cleveland offense has not helped him win any more games. He has given up more than three earned runs just three times this season.

Probable Lineups

Pittsburgh

  1. LF Jose Tabata
  2. RF Xavier Paul
  3. CF Andrew McCutchen
  4. 2B Neil Walker
  5. DH Garret Jones
  6. 1B Lyle Overbay
  7. 3B Josh Harrison
  8. C Michael McKenry
  9. SS Ronny Cedeno

Cleveland

  1. DH Grady Sizemore
  2. CF Michael Brantley
  3. SS Asdrubal Cabrera
  4. DH Travis Hafner
  5. RF Shin-Soo Choo
  6. C Carlos Santana
  7. 2B Orlando Cabrera
  8. 3B Jack Hannahan

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