Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners

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Pitching Matchups:

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Game one of this three-game series will be another entry into what has become a disappointing season for Ubaldo Jimenez. With his ERA nearing 6.00 and continuous shellackings at the hands of the opposition, there haven’t been many shining moments for the Tribe’s top acquisition from a season ago. Now, with the Indians reeling on the brink of another long losing streak, it’s up to Jimenez to perform like the pitcher he was expected to be and stop the bleeding. During the Tribe’s last losing stretch he wasn’t able to do it, so can it be different this time around? Let’s hope. At least Safeco is a pitcher friendly park that might help Jimenez turn in a dominating performance.

Meanwhile, Kevin Millwood has had an interesting season in Seattle.  His record sits at 4-10, but it hasn’t been nearly that bad. Has he turned in a few clunker outings? Sure, every pitcher does, but Millwood has repeatedly fallen victim to a lack of run support from the anemic Seattle offense. He’s done an excellent job of keeping the ball in the park (0.6 HR/9), while striking out six and walking only three per nine innings. He’s not the same dominant pitcher that he was a decade ago, but given his veteran experience he knows what to do to get the job done and is capable of giving the Mariners five to six quality innings.

Game two isn’t even fair. Roberto Hernandez takes the mound for the second time this season and he couldn’t have pulled a worse matchup. In his first start he fell victim to rust and sloppy defense while allowing eight runs (five earned) over the course of six unspectacular innings. Now he has to go toe-to-toe with Felix Hernandez. The thing in the artist formerly known as Fausto’s favor is that the Mariners offense is far less dynamic than the one he saw in Anaheim. Could he turn in a magical performance and give us a hint of what might still be there? Possible, but unlikely.

As for Hernandez, he’s coming off of a perfect game, which means it’s highly unlikely the Indians will be no-hit on Tuesday night. Other than that, expect a dominant performance from one of the best pitchers in the game today. The Indians have struggled at times against mediocre pitching, so imagine what King Felix could do on a good night. One thing the Indians can hang their hats on is the fact that they roughed him up for eight runs the last time they faced him back in May. So there’s still hope.

Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

In the final game of the series the Indians will send Zach McAllister to the mound. Since his call-up back in June, McAllister has easily been the Indians’ most consistent starting pitcher. He’s regularly goes six innings and has kept them in most of the games he has started. With the track record he has established, there’s no reason to expect he won’t take the mound against Seattle, allow only two or three runs and give way to the bullpen in the seventh.

As for the Mariners, they’ll throw Hisashi Iwakuma at the Tribe. Iwakuma is in his first big league season and so far the results have been mixed. He’s a four-pitch pitcher sporting a fastball, slider, curve ball, and split finger. In 22 games for the Mariners, 8 of which were starts, and he has posted a respectable 7.4 K/9. However, he is susceptible to giving up walks, (3.8 BB/9). The Tribe will need to be patient if they want to have success against Iwakuma.

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