Series Preview: Indians vs. Rangers


Normally, a series split with the Boston Red Sox in Fenway would be considered a win for the Indians. Considering they went into the final frame with the game in the hands of the bullpen and failed to come away with a victory in both instances is just as disappointing. Luckily, the bats broke out for 14 hits and seven runs on Thursday night to avoid falling below .500 for the first time since starting 1-2. The season now turns to Texas, and a weekend series that could potentially make an all-important series with the Tigers next week even more significant.

 

 

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

August 5-7, 2011

Scouting Report

  • Cleveland - The Indians have won four of their last 14. To say they are struggling might be an understatement. They are averaging just three runs per game over that 14-game span. To make matters even more complicated, Michael Brantley is questionable for the Rangers series. The woes the Indians have endured in the outfield are almost comical, as Brantley is now sidelined with a sore wrist. On the bright side of things, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was stellar for the Tribe throughout the Boston series. Kipnis went 6-for-16 including three home runs. He is the first rookie to hit a home run in four straight games since Al Rosen in 1950. The Indians will need all of that production and more. It’s clear that the offense runs on the bats of Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis Hafner, with Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley chipping in as well. Cabrera went 6-for-17 in the Boston series, including Monday night in which he hit two home runs. As bad as Carlos Santana was on Wednesday night, (0-for-4 with four strikeouts) he came up big Thursday night, going 3-for-5 with a two-run home run. The Indians pitching was stellar, and will need to continue that level of performance if the Indians want to gain ground on the Tigers in the Central.
  • Texas - The Rangers didn’t give the Indians much help this week, dropping two of three to the Tigers. However, they could equally help the Tribe should they do the same this weekend. The Rangers are good at home, very good in fact. They boast a .511 slugging percentage in the league’s most hitter-friendly ballpark and are tied with the Yankee’s for most home runs in their own park with 85. They also have a .295 batting average at the Ballpark in Arlington. For the year, they own the second best slugging percentage, as well as batting average, in all of baseball  Michael Young is just five hits from notching career hit number 2,000 and has gotten a hit in 13 of his last 15 games. He also leads the club in batting average and OPS. The Rangers pitching staff, which has the ninth best WHIP and batting average against in the majors, will be up against a struggling offense that his clicking at a.245 clip.

Pitching Match-ups

Game 1 – Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Derek Holland

  • Ubaldo Jimenez  0-0, -.– ERA

Perhaps the biggest prize any team landed this Trade Deadline, Jimenez makes his Indians debut on five days’ rest. He’s never faced the Rangers, one of six Major League teams (including Colorado) that he hasn’t seen.

  • Derek Holland  10-4, 4.14 ERA

Holland threw his fourth shutout of the season with a 3-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday. He is 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his five starts, including three shutouts. He also had a shutout against the Indians on June 4 in Cleveland.

Game 2 – Fausto Carmona vs. C.J. Wilson

  • Fausto Carmona  5-11, 5.31 ERA

Carmona lost his only start against the Rangers this year, allowing four runs, including two homers. He’s allowed a career-high 18 home runs this season.

  • C.J. Wilson 10-5, 3.37 ERA

Wilson struggled for his second straight outing, going 3 2/3 innings while giving up seven runs to Toronto on Sunday. In 34 1/3 career innings against the Indians, Wilson is 2-1 with a 2.62 ERA.

Game 3 – Josh Tomlin vs. Colby Lewis

  • Josh Tomlin 11-5, 4.16 ERA

Tomlin has struggled over his last four starts, as he’s allowed five homers and accumulated a 5.76 ERA. The young strike-throwing righty has yet to face the Rangers.

  • Colby Lewis 10-8, 4.14 ERA

Lewis lasted just four-plus innings against Detroit on Tuesday, allowing four runs on 10 hits. He is 4-4 with a 5.32 ERA at home. He has not faced Cleveland in 2011, but was 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in two starts against the Tribe last year.

Projected Lineups

Cleveland

  1. CF Ezequiel Carrera
  2. 2B Jason Kipnis
  3. SS Asdrubal Cabrera
  4. DH Travis Hafner
  5.    C Carlos Santana
  6. RF Kosuke Fukudome
  7. 1B Matt LaPorta
  8. LF Austin Kearns
  9. 3B Jason Donald

Texas

  1. 2B Ian Kinsler
  2. SS Elvis Andrus
  3. LF Josh Hamilton
  4. DH Michael Young
  5. RF Nelson Cruz
  6.    C Mike Napoli
  7. 1B Mitch Moreland
  8. 3B Andres Blanco
  9. CF Endy Chavez

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera Indians Jason Kipnis Rangers Series Preview Travis Hafner Ubaldo Jimenez