Game #33 – Cleveland Indians (18-14) vs. Boston Red Sox (13-19)
Ubaldo Jimenez just couldn’t hold on to the lightening he had on Sunday when he faced the Red Sox last night. He couldn’t find the strike zone early in the count, falling behind 16 of the 28 hitters he faced. That was all the Red Sox needed to touch Jimenez up for seven runs in 4.1 innings, a defecit the Tribe almost rallied from but couldn’t finish.
Tonight, the Indians will look to guarantee at least a split with the Red Sox in the four game set. If Indians hitters want to get things going, it has to start with Johnny Damon who is hitting just .171 since being called up to be the leadoff man in the order.
Some thought that playing in his old stomping grounds would light a fire under Damon and get his hitting on track. Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera could really benefit from Damon getting on base as they have stayed hot at the plate but with no one in front of them to drive in.
Tribe hitters will be up against another lefty in Felix Doubront (2-1, 5.01 ERA). Southpaws have been kryptonite for the Tribe so far in 2012, a trend they will look to reverse tonight. Damon and Casey Kotchman are the only players on the team who have seen Doubront pitch before and their experience is extremely limited. Indians hitters will have to stay patient and wait for good pitches.
Zach McAllister (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will make a spot start tonight for the Tribe as Josh Tomlin, the orignal scheduled starter, was scratched due to right wrist soreness, as reported by the Indians. McAllister impressed in his season debut against the White Sox during the day side of their doubleheader on Monday. He went six innings, allowing four runs (two earned), walking one and striking out five.
The inconsistencies that the Indians have had at the plate need to get worked out and tonight is as good a night as any to get heading in the right direction. Michael Brantley, who has been seeing the ball very well as of late, is making a case for putting him back in the leadoff spot. Will that happen tonight? Tune in at 7:10 which is, once again, the start time in Boston.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Carlos Santana, 1B
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
7. Shelley Duncan, LF
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Lou Marson, C
Boston Red Sox Starting Lineups
1. Ryan Sweeney, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
6. Daniel Nava, LF
7. Cody Ross, RF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
9. Mike Aviles, SS
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images