Game #126: New York Yankees (73-51) at Cleveland Indians (54-71)
By Mike Brandyberry
Last night the Indians had the formula working for a win when Corey Kluber gave the Indians five strong innings before turning the game over to the bullpen, but a throwing error and home run by Nick Swisher off Cody Allen was all the Yankees would need to win, 3-1. Asdrubal Cabrera made a low throw on an infield single by Derek Jeter that first baseman Matt LaPorta could not pick from the dirt. The miscue helped set up the home run for Swisher.
The Tribe’s loss becomes their ninth straight loss, and worse yet, their 22nd loss in 26 games. In that time the Indians have fallen from 3.5 games out of first place to the second worst record in the American League and fifth worst in baseball. The Tribe has continued to move toward giving their minor league talent opportunities. Yesterday they recalled LaPorta for a spark. To date, Allen, and maybe Ezequiel Carrera are the only players proving they are Major League caliber.
Today, Cleveland sends the only starting pitcher near consistency over the last month to the mound, in Justin Masterson (9-11, 4.73 ERA). Masterson pitched the Tribe out of an 11-game losing streak on August 8 against the Minnesota Twins. He’s also the last Indian pitcher to win a game for the Wahoos, beating the Los Angeles Angels on August 13. The right-hander was banged around in his last start, however, allowing seven runs in five and two-third innings to the Oakland Athletics in a 7-0 loss. Masterson will try to keep the Indians from their second 10-game losing streak in the second half of the season.
New York will counter with veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (12-8, 2.96 ERA). The right-hander has emerged as a quality 1-2 punch with Sabathia while the big lefty was on the disabled list. Kuroda stepped in pitching several quality games, including defeating the Boston Red Sox last Sunday, throwing eight innings and allowing only a run.
Lonnie Chisenhall, who has been sidelined since June 29 with a broken arm from a hit by pitch in Baltimore, is back with the team as he prepares to get ready to return to game action. “We’re happy with the progress he’s making,” Indians Manager Manny Acta said. “He’s recuperating very fast. He’s hitting in the cage and taking ground balls on the field and incrementing his throws to first base. He’s going to progress to be on the field and take batting practice on the field on Monday.”
Acta said Chisenhall would either go on a rehab assignment or participate in simulated games depending upon how he feels and the remaining minor league schedule. Most minor league team’s seasons are complete on Labor Day, except for playoffs. He also speculated that he thought Chisenhall could play winter ball to try to make up for his lost at bats and continue to futher his development.
Finally, Acta speculated that depending on how the next couple days go and this time through the rotation, the Indians would consider brining up another starting pitcher and going to a six-man rotation. He felt it was a possibility to alleviate some of the grind and tear of the season on some of the young arms now being asked to contribute.
Game action begins at 7:05 pm ET from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario with all the action able to be seen on WKYC-3 and heard 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, DH
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
7. Ezequiel Carrera, LF
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Lou Marson, C
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: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images