Series Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Pitching Matchups:

Zach McAllister (1-3, 3.52 ERA, 4.11 SIERA)  vs. Roy Halladay (2-2, 5.08 ERA, 3.68 SIERA)

It’s a weird, wild world we live in where I’m more confident in Zach McAllister than Roy Halladay, but there you go. As we all uneventfully agreed on the opening Wahoo’s on First Podcast, McAllister is pitching out of his mind right now, and though he’ll probably fade back to what we expect, the Tribe should ride this till the end. His 5.2 innings of three run ball against the White Sox his last time out were about what we should expect generally, and the Phils are no pushovers. Not all of them anyway. He’ll be a new sight for most of the Phillies, though Ben Revere is 2-for-3 off him and Michael Young is 3-for-6. With the struggles Halladay has had recently, this could be a close one.

Roy Halladay has apparently been kidnapped and replaced with an awful replication of himself. You’ll remember Halladay had

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shoulder trouble last year and threw less than 200 innings for the first time since 2005 when he was coming back from elbow surgery, and his 4.49 ERA was a horrifying aberration. At least we hoped. For all his mastery and consistency over the years, we forget Doc is 36 now, and his best years are behind him. His velocity is down and his location is off – he’s already walked 11 people this year, after years where more than 35 or so for the season was unheard of. All that being said, he’s got a 1.71 ERA his last three starts and went six innings of one-run, eight K ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates his last time out. I don’t think he’ll be a Cy Young candidate this year, but he’ll be tough. The Indians with their free-swinging ways will have their hands full.

Trevor Bauer (0-1, 5.40 ERA, 9.58 SIERA – wow!) vs. Cliff Lee (2-1, 3.03 ERA, 3.52 SIERA)

Every time we think this season can’t get any worse for the pitching staff, what with Ubaldo being who he is, and Brett Myers being terrible then injured, and Carlos Carrasco going crazy, we have to have a doubleheader and force another Bauer sighting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see the kid pitch again, he can only get better than five innings of seven walk, three run ball. Triple-A has been good to him this year, 18 innings with 24 K’s and only six walks and a 2.50 ERA. I don’t have the highest hopes for him, but if he can last six, walk four and strike out somewhere around six with three runs scored it could be a success. If he could show up Lee, it’d be like going back to your high school reunion with some hot young number and proving to your old girlfriend you’re better off. I have high hopes for Bauer, what can I say.

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This is the first time Cliff Lee will pitch against his former team. Seeing him pitch is a constant reminder of the debacle that trade became. Sure the Tribe got Lou Marson, but since 2010, Lee’s first full year gone, he’s had a 2.90 ERA, gone 37-27 and tossed a 1.047 WHIP over 95 starts. The Indians got Carlos Carrasco for that trade along with Marson, and some other spare parts. A little one-sided, if you ask me. This year has been kinder to Lee than last year, when he was 0 for his first 10 starts or so. He’s typically not walking anyone (1.3/9) and going deep into games, 35.2 innings in five starts already. Like Halladay, Lee has a kind of ageless game so I expect him to be just fine, for the next year or so at least. It’s going to be a tough game to watch, for the emotions and such.

 Final Thought

I have no respect for the Senior Circuit, and I expect the Indians to thump these to veteran pitchers soundly. Lee and Halladay have grown lazy and decadent in their no DH lives and won’t be able to handle the constant thunder the Tribe brings to the plate. Either that, or it will be a couple of good games by middle of the road teams who are trying to gain some traction and get their season going. At least one of these games is winnable, and it’s happening so quickly it’s going to be a rush. I’ll enjoy seeing Utley though, maybe some of his magic can rub off on Kipnis.

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