Game Preview #78: Cleveland Indians (39-38) at Baltimore Orioles (42-35)
By Mike Brandyberry
Saturday the Cleveland Indians scored early and often, taking control of the game in the fifth inning and winning en route to an 11-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The win gave the Indians their second win in the series, and today they will look for a series win. The Tribe pounded out 19 hits against the Orioles, including career days by Shin-Soo Choo, Jose Lopez, Asdrubal Cabrera and Lou Marson.
The Tribe will look to take three of four games in the series with staff ace Justin Masterson (4-7, 4.09) on the mound. Masterson suffered the loss last Tuesday, being beaten by the New York Yankees, 6-4. He allowed four runs, all earned, in six innings pitched against the Bronx Bombers. He gave up three runs in the second inning to snap a 21-inning streak without allowing an earned run. Masterson has suffered from poor run support, receiving only two runs or less in 10 of his last 12 starts. The Tribe has hit .350 and scored 26 runs in the first three games of the series, however.
Baltimore will try to even the series with left-hander Brian Matusz (5-9, 5.24 ERA). The Indians are the worst team in Major League Baseball against southpaws, yet have defeated both lefties they’ve seen in this series. Matusz has lost his last four decisions and has an 8.31 ERA in the same span. He struggled on Tuesday, allowing five runs and a career high 13 hits in five innings pitched against the Los Angeles Angels in a 7-3 home loss.
Cleveland placed third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall on the disabled list prior to the game on Saturday and recalled utility player Jason Donald from Triple-A Columbus. Donald provides the Indians with a true backup middle infielder, something the team has lacked for nearly a month.
It was announced prior to today’s game that Chisenhall had surgery on his right arm to repair his ulna yesterday and will have to miss 10-12 weeks before fully resuming baseball activities. Soloff said the injury is similar to the break Cabrera suffered in 2010 when he collided with Jhonny Peralta. “Dr. Graham fixated it with a plate and screws. It is very similar to Cabrera (in 2010),” Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said. “We’ll see how it goes, but the calendar is the calendar. Hopefully he’ll make it back to play again this year.”
Carlos Santana misses his fourth straight game since suffering mid-back tightness during Wednesday’s game. The Indians are hopeful that Santana will be able to hit prior to tomorrow’s home game and play Monday evening.
“He hasn’t hit on the field. He’s done some soft toss work,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “There’s no need to rush him. We can give him the day off today and if he hits on the field tomorrow, he plays tomorrow.” Marson will catch his fourth straight game in the Baltimore heat.
Meanwhile the Orioles will look to ride the wave of their new acquisition, Jim Thome. Thome was acquired by Baltimore from the Philadelphia Phillies during Saturday’s game for two minor league players. Thome is expected to be in uniform and the lineup on Sunday for the O’s.
American League All-Stars will be named on the TBS All-Star Selection Show, beginning at 1 pm. The Indians are hopeful they will receive more than the necessary one representative. Chris Perez, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis are all deserving candidates.
All the game action begins at 1:35 pm from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The game can be heard on the flagship radio station AM-1100 WTAM and the Indians Radio Network and can be seen on SportsTime Ohio.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, DH
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Jose Lopez, 3B
5. Shelley Duncan, LF
6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
7. Jason Donald, SS
8. Lou Marson, C
9. Aaron Cunningham, CF
Baltimore Orioles Starting Lineup
1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. J.J. Hardy, SS
3. Chris Davis, RF
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Wilson Betemit, 1B
7. Ryan Flaherty, LF
8. Ronny Paulino, C
9. Robert Andino, 3B
Photo: Gail Burton/AP Photos