Game #125: New York Yankees (72-52) at Cleveland Indians (54-70)
By Mike Brandyberry
Yesterday the Indians did not lose, as they celebrated an off day with a return home from a nine-game, three-city road trip that left the team stuck in a eight game losing streak. While the Indians are 30-29 at home, their ten game homestand beginning this evening is no easy one. All three teams heading to Progressive Field over the next ten games have postseason hopes. The Yankees and Rangers are currently leading their division while Oakland is in the thick of the wild card race.
While the Indians rested yesterday, most of the organization participated in Manager Manny Acta’s bowling tournament at the Corner Alley. Indians owner Paul Dolan addressed media members Thursday and said Team President Mark Shapiro, General Manager Chris Antonetti and Acta should not be concerned about job safety. He also said he had no answers for the team’s collapse.
Today, Antonetti addressed the media about the team and its collapse. “There’s nothing anyone can do about what’s happened already, the only thing we can focus on is the balance of the season,” Antonetti said. Cleveland is 4-21 over the last 25 games, dropping from 3.5 games in back of first place to 14.5 back today.
“It’s an important six weeks, we need to be in a better spot at the end of the year than where we are right now,” Antonetti said.
The Indians will try to improve upon their spot with a movement toward their youth, giving several players from the minor league system a chance to prove themselves on the Major League level. One of those players is tonight’s starting pitcher, Corey Kluber (0-2, 6.27 ERA). Kluber has battled to pitch deep in ballgames, having only pitched past the fifth inning in one of his four starts. In his last start on August 18, Kluber pitched five innings, allowing four unearned runs against the Oakland Athletics.
The Yankees will counter with an old friend, C.C. Sabathia (12-3, 3.56 ERA). Sabathia is tied with Charlies Nagy as the winningest pitcher in Progressive Field history. Each have won 50 games. The big left-hander has not pitched since August 8 with elbow soreness but is expected to throw between 90-100 pitches this evening. Sabathia is 2-1, with a 3.03 ERA in five starts against his former club. The Indians lefty-heavy lineup has struggled all season against southpaws.
The Tribe made another move toward giving minor league players opportunity when Matt LaPorta was recalled from Columbus today. LaPorta is hitting .264, with 19 home runs and 62 runs batted in at Triple-A Columbus, but has only seen action in three games at the big league level to date. He’s in the lineup and batting sixth, keeping left-handed hitting Casey Kotchman on the bench against the lefty Sabathia. To make room for LaPorta, relief pitcher Frank Herrmann was optioned to Columbus.
Game time is slated for 7:05 pm ET at Progressive Field with the game on television on SportsTime Ohio and on the radio on WTAM-1100 AM and the rest of the Indians Radio Network.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Matt LaPorta, 1B
7. Brent Lillibridge, 3B
8. Shelley Duncan, DH
9. Jason Donald, LF
New York Yankees Starting Lineup
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Mark Teixeira, 1B
5. Curtis Granderson, CF
6. Eric Chavez, 3B
7. Russell Martin, C
8. Raul Ibanez, DH
9. Ichiro Suzuki, LF
Photo: Getty Images