Game Preview: Cleveland (72-74) vs. Texas (85-64)
By Matt Van Wormer
So far this year, the Indians have played the Texas Rangers nine times and they have only been able to win one of those contests. Cleveland gets their last chance to take down the Rangers tonight as Fausto Carmona (6-14, 5.18, 1.39 WHIP) takes on Alexi Ogando (12-8, 3.71, 1.17 WHIP).
Last night, Shelley Duncan did all that he could to keep the Tribe in the game as he had three amazing catches in the early innings. But the rules of baseball don’t allow the outfielder to actually go into the stands to catch balls. Josh Hamilton hit a grand-slam into those stands in the fourth inning which saw the Rangers score eight runs to put the ballgame away.
David Huff had been in control in the first few innings, allowing just a couple base-runners and the Rangers got a man to third but there were already two outs. Lonnie Chisenhall handled all the scoring for the Indians as he led off the fifth inning with a solo Home Run, his seventh of the season.
Carmona has thrown 12.2 innings in two starts against the Rangers this season and took the loss in one of them and a no-decision in the other. He has given up 13 hits and eight runs (six earned). Hamilton loves seeing Carmona on the mound as he is 7 for 20 with four doubles, a triple, a Home Run and five RBI against the Indians right-hander. Carmona is probably ready to bid adieu to 2011 and turn the calendar over to next season.
Ogando threw eight innings of four hit, one run baseball against the Tribe. In that game, back in June, Ogando struck out six and walked just one to pick up the win in a game that ended with an 11-2 score. This is Ogando’s first season in the starting rotation for the Rangers as he came out of the bullpen 44 times in 2010. Asdrubal Cabrera is 2 for 3 against the 27 year old righty and Jim Thome is 1 for 2 with a home run.
Tonight’s game will also feature the return of Shin-Soo Choo from the disabled list. Choo was placed on the DL in August with a strained left oblique muscle. It will be interesting to see how Acta uses all of his available outfielders for the rest of the season.
Texas can’t seem to shake the Angels so they are still playing hard in an attempt to create some breathing room so they can clinch their division and set their rotation for the playoffs. The Indians are just treading water, seemingly content with their destiny of third place in the Central Division. Manny Acta needs to find a way to light a fire under his team so they can finish strong and move towards next season. Avoiding another embarrassment in Arlington would go a long way to help that cause.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup:
1. Jason Donald, SS
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, 1B
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Grady Sizemore, CF
7. Shelley Duncan, LF
8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
9. Lou Marson, C
Texas Rangers Starting Lineup:
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Elvis Andrus, SS
3. Josh Hamilton, LF
4. Michael Young, DH
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. David Murphy, RF
7. Mike Napoli, C
8. Mitch Moreland, 1B
9. Endy Chavez, CF
Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images