Through everything this club has endured this season, all of the injuries, the spotty hitting, the Indians continue to stay within striking distance in the American League Central. It’s something to be said of this group of guys, the depth of this organization, and manager Manny Acta. 28 games in 28 days the rest of the way for the Tribe. There’s still a chance for October baseball in Cleveland, and watching the midges swarm on Ubaldo Jimenez on Wednesday night, made me that much more excited at that possibility.
September 2-4, 2011
- Cleveland – Still 5 1/2 games back in the central, the Tribe is still in the race. Unfortunately, for the Indians, the Tigers are hosting Chicago this weekend. The Indians will need to keep pace with BOTH clubs as the weekend swings into action and gather as much momentum as possible heading into next week’s series against Detroit. The Indians have a stretch of 28 games in 28 days, six of those against Detroit. If the Indians are going to make a move in the division, they have their opportunities to do so. Their fate rests in their hands, which is where you want it to be. If the Indians “just win baby,” then all should fall into place for the Tribe.
- Kansas City – The Royals find them once again in a familiar, but unfortunate place: the basement in the American League Central. First baseman Eric Hosmer homered twice on Wednesday, and he came back to drill another round-tripper in Thursday’s win over Detroit. Hosmer, the third overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, has hit safely in 10 straight games and is batting .301 (55-for-182) since the break. The last time these two clubs met up, the Indians took two of three, one of which was where Jim Thome hit his first homer in his return trip to Cleveland.
Game 1 – Justin Masterson vs. Bruce Chen
- Justin Masterson 10-8, 2.83 ERA
Masterson took the loss Sunday, despite allowing just two runs in six innings against the Royals. It was the 11th time in his 28 starts that the Indians have scored two or fewer runs.
- Bruce Chen 10-5, 3.94 ERA
Chen had a 5-1 August record, finishing with wins in his last five starts. He went 7 1/3 innings on Sunday in Cleveland, surviving a strange first in which he gave up three singles and walked in a run, then pitched shutout ball the rest of the way.
Game 2 – David Huff vs. Luke Hochevar
- David Huff 2-2, 2.08 ERA
Huff blanked the Athletics for six innings, earning the win in Monday’s 2-1 triumph. The left-hander hasn’t allowed an earned run in three of his five starts this season.
- Luke Hochevar 9-10, 4.97 ERA
Hochevar worked seven-plus innings Monday in Detroit to beat the division leaders. He gave up five runs, but got big run support and was able to cruise most of the way. He hasn’t faced the Tribe since losing back-to-back starts against it in April.
Game 3 – Jeanmar Gomez vs. Jeff Francis
- Jeanmar Gomez 1-2, 4.55 ERA
In place of injured starter Josh Tomlin, Gomez allowed just one unearned run in six stellar innings in a 6-2 win over Oakland. The performance earned him at least one more start.
- Jeff Francis 5-14, 4.64 ERA
Francis has been extremely sharp in his past two starts. He held the Jays to two runs in six frames for a win and then worked 6 1/3 shutout innings and gave up just two hits to Detroit. The last time he faced Cleveland, he threw eight shutout frames.
- CF Ezequiel Carrera
- RF Kosuke Fukudome
- SS Asdrubal Cabrera
- 1B Carlos Santana
- DH Jim Thome
- LF Shelly Duncan
- 2B Jason Donald
- 3B Jack Hannahan
- C Lou Marson
- LF Alex Gordon
- CF Miguel Cabrera
- DH Billy Butler
- 1B Eric Hosmer
- RF Jeff Francoeur
- 3B Mike Moustakas
- 2B Johnny Giavotella
- C Salvador Perez
- SS Alcides Escobar