Game #93: Baltimore Orioles (48-44) at Cleveland Indians (47-45)
By Mike Brandyberry
Yesterday the Indians finished their seven game road trip with a lackluster defeat, being shut out by the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-0. Rays’ starter David Price threw seven innings, allowing only two hits, while Ubaldo Jimenez struggled to find his accuracy. Tampa finally got the best of Jimenez when they exploded for a four-run sixth inning, highlighted by a bases clearing B.J. Upton double down the left field line.
The Indians enter a key seven game homestand trailing the Chicago White Sox by three games in the American League Central Division. The streaking Detroit Tigers will embark in a three game series this weekend with the White Sox. The Tigers currently are in the lead for the final wild card spot in the American League. The Tribe trails Detroit by a game and a half in the standings. Meanwhile, Baltimore and Oakland are each a half game behind the Tigers and Boston and Tampa Bay are only a game behind. With the standings so tight, the Indians can ill-afford to fall further behind. Chasing so many teams becomes a very daunting task.
Tonight, Derek Lowe (8-7, 4.43 ERA) will take the mound for the Indians and look to start the series right. Lowe suffered a 3-0 loss last Sunday in Toronto, but pitched a solid six innings, allowing only three runs on three hits. The anemic Indian offense was unable to come through in the clutch and get a base hit with runners in scoring position. Lowe has thrived at Progressive Field, going 5-1, with a 2.86 ERA in eight starts this season.
The Orioles will counter with Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 2.59 ERA). Gonzalez is new to the Orioles rotation, making only his third start. The Orioles have had injuries to the starting rotation of late and Gonzalez has stepped in to help stabilize a spot. On July 1, Gonzalez came on in relief to stymie the Indians for four and one-third innings, allowing only a run. The Tribe will need a better offensive effort than they had previously against Gonzalez.
The Indians have purchased the contract of relief pitcher, Cody Allen from Triple-A Columbus. Allen was drafted in the 23rd round just last June in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. A year ago he pitched mostly at Mahoning Valley before receiving short opportunities at Lake County and Kinston. Allen began this season at High-A Carolina, before being quickly promoted to Akron and then Columbus. He is a hard-throwing, right-hander who has struck out 53 hitters in 43 innings and compiled a 1.87 ERA this season at his three minor league stops. Allen is the second player from the 2011 draft to reach the big leagues, the first being Arizona’s Trevor Bauer.
To make room for Allen on the 25-man roster, Scott Barnes was optioned back to Columbus. Allen was not on the 40-man roster, but no additional move is necessary. An open spot on the 40-man roster was created when Nick Hagadone was placed on the minor league disqualified list.
This weekend is Transportation Weekend along with Rock ‘N Blast at the ballpark. Any fan purchasing a ticket and reserve a spot in the Gateway East garage for free. They can also ride the red, blue and gree lines on RTA for free this weekend with a valid game ticket. Game action begins at 7:05 pm at Progressive Field this evening. All the action can be heard on the Indians Radio Network, including 1100-AM WTAM and 100.7-FM WMMS and can be seen on SportsTime Ohio.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Michael Brantley, CF
5. Carlos Santana, C
6. Travis Hafner, DH
7. Johnny Damon, LF
8. Casey Kotchman, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B
Baltimore Orioles Starting Lineup
1. Nick Markakis, RF
2. J.J. Hardy, SS
3. Jim Thome, DH
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Matt Wieters, C
6. Wilson Betemit, 3B
7. Chris Davis, LF
8. Mark Reynolds, 1B
9. Ryan Flaherty, 2B
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images