- Felix Hernandez (3-2, 2.29 ERA/3.07 SIERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 5.18/5.95)
- Hector Noesi (2-4, 6.32/4.84) vs. Zach McAllister (1-1, 4.15/3.13)
Game one of this quick two-game set should have been viewed as a true heavyweight match-up. Felix Hernandez vs. Ubaldo Jimenez would be must-see TV for any baseball fanatic if not for Jimenez’ inconsistency so far this season. Of course, given how good Hernandez is, it still might be. The King has been everything we’ve come to expect from him. His sickening arsenal of pitches makes him seemingly unhittable. He has close to a strikeout an inning, and he’s always dominant. Your best bet against Hernandez? Hope you get to the bullpen.
As for Jimenez, it seems like he provides a glimmer of hope in one start and then regresses back to being near unwatchable in the next. If that pattern continues then there’s a good chance he matches Hernandez pitch-for-pitch. In all seriousness though, it’s a total crapshoot which Jimenez shows up. In that situation, it’s always best to set expectations low and be pleasantly surprised when those expectations are exceeded. So with that, if Jimenez can get through six innings and keep the Indians close heading into the seventh, eighth, and ninth, it will have been a successful start.
Game two will give the Indians a look at the forgotten man in the Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero trade: Hector Noesi. Noesi came over from the Yankees with Montero and so far the results have been meager at best. He’s a young, raw pitcher with only seven career starts, so there’s room for growth here. He sports your basic arsenal of pitches (fastball, curveball, slider, change) and maxes out on the radar gun at around 91 MPH. He’s not a dominating pitcher (5.4 K/9), and instead relies on inducing weak contact, particularly fly balls. His 48 percent fly ball rate explains his 2.0 HR/9 rate.
The Indians will send out Zach McAllister for his third start of the season. He’s a young pitcher, so there’s no telling what to expect from him. The best the Indians can hope for is that his keeps damage to a minimum and finds a way to get through at least five innings—he’s done better than that in both of his previous outings. If he can keep things close and hand it over to the bullpen, then he provides the Indians with an excellent chance of winning. The worst-case scenario is McCallister struggling and Manny Acta having to go to the bullpen earlier than he would like.