The hopes of the Indians making the playoffs have faded. Detroit is one game away from clinching the division and have fallen three games below .500 for the first time all season. There’s still work to be done. The .500 mark is still within the Tribe’s grasp.
September 16-18, 2011
- Cleveland - The injury bug has wreaked havoc on the Indians lineup this year. It was just announced on Thursday that Shin-Soo Choo will be shelved for the remainder of the season after experiencing pain in his left rib cage. Grady Sizemore’s return has been amiss, as he is just 3-for-23 since September 5. Carlos Carrasco will be shelved for the year and likely next also, once he undergoes Tommy John surgery. Josh Tomlin could return to the rotation before season’s end, but it’s unclear whether or not he will continue to have the success he had earlier this year. Travis Hafner has been hobbled (quite literally) by injuries, and hasn’t hit a home run since August 16. The one cog in the lineup all season, Asdrubal Cabrera, is showing what a 162 game schedule can do to a player. Cabrera’s average has decreased steadily since May, but he is having an awful September. Michael Brantley is also done for the year, who was another key contributor in the Indians lineup. STILL the Indians have a chance to finish over .500 this season, which would be more than what was expected of them at the beginning of the year.
- Minnesota - The Twins, and manager Ron Gardenhire, have fallen on hard times this year. The American League’s worst team welcome the scuffling Indians to Target Field for a three game set in a battle that will showcase the youth on both clubs. It’s a series that, for all other purposes, will see the Twins attempt to thwart any type of moral victory for the Indians in attaining .500 this year. Twins fans haven’t experienced this type of baseball since 2000, when the club finished last in the American League Central. Ron Gardenhire hasn’t had much experience with losing either, as his teams have lost fewer than 83 games just once in the previous nine years. Justin Morneau will be out of the lineup for Minnesota this weekend, and could be finished for the season. Morneau is still dealing with post-concussion symptoms. He last played against the Tigers on August 28. In 69 games, he hit .227 with an on-base percentage of .285 and a slugging percentage of .333, driving in 30 runs.
Game 1 – Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Kevin Slowey
- Ubaldo Jimenez 3-2, 4.98 ERA
In four starts since he was pounded in a loss at Detroit, Jimenez is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA. He touched 98 mph in his last outing, in which he allowed two runs in six innings of a 7-3 victory against the White Sox.
- Kevin Slowey 0-5, 6.07 ERA
Slowey couldn’t build on his back-to-back quality starts, as he struggled against the Tigers on Friday. The right-hander gave up six runs on seven hits, including two homers, over just four innings to fall to 0-5 in his five starts this year.
Game 2 – Jeanmar Gomez vs. Anthony Swarzak
- Jeanmar Gomez 3-2, 3.95 ERA
Gomez has earned a victory in each of his last three starts, posting a 1.56 ERA over that span. In his last outing, the right-hander yielded just two runs in six innings in an 8-4 win against the White Sox.
- Anthony Swarzak 3-6, 3.89 ERA
Swarzak was solid against the Tigers on Saturday, allowing just two runs on five hits over six innings, but he was saddled with the no-decision. He also tied a career high with six strikeouts and walked two.
Game 3 – Justin Masterson vs. Scott Diamond
- Justin Masterson 11-10, 3.20 ERA
Masterson lasted just five innings in Tuesday’s 10-4 loss to the Rangers, allowing six runs on eight hits. He has an ERA of 7.00 over his last three starts.
- Scott Diamond 1-4, 3.94 ERA
Diamond turned in perhaps his best start of his young career against the Tigers on Sunday, but was saddled with a tough-luck loss. He gave up just two runs (one earned) on seven hits and four walks over six innings while striking out four.
- RF Kosuke Fukudome
- 2B Jason Kipnis
- SS Asdrubal Cabrera
- DH Jim Thome
- 1B Carlos Santana
- CF Grady Sizemore
- LF Shelly Duncan
- 3B Lonnie Chisenhall
- C Lou Marson
- CF Ben Revere
- SS Trevor Plouffe
- DH Jason Kubel
- RF Michael Cuddyer
- 1B Chris Parmelee
- 3B Luke Hughes
- 2B Brian Dinklelman
- LF Joe Benson
- C Drew Butera