Tribe Heads to Gotham to Continue Pennant Battle
Mike B. | On 31, Jan 2014
Losers of two of three in Boston, the Indians left Beantown last night and headed for New York to start their next, “biggest series of the season.”
The Tribe’s three game series at Fenway Park was the last series the two teams will play this season. They have one game remaining against one another on Sept. 22 in Cleveland. After winning just one game of the series the Indians have slipped a half game behind Boston for first place and now only lead the New York Yankees by a half game for second place.
With 36 games remaining, being just a half game out of first place is not a major worry, but falling behind two teams in the standings and having to chase them both down to earn the pennant can be a much tougher road. Cleveland opens a three game series in New York today with a doubleheader then a single game tomorrow. Bob Feller (12-14, 4.49) will try again to right his season. Feller was beaten last Sunday by the Chicago White Sox, 8-1, and is only 1-4 on the season against the Yankees. The Yankees will counter with Vic Raschi (17-5, 3.37), who is having a breakout season and has won seven straight decisions. He is 4-0 in five starts against the Tribe this season.
In the second game the Indians will send Steve Gromek (7-2, 2.88) to the mound against former Indian, Allie Reynolds (13-6, 3.81). Cleveland will face the Yankees’ two best pitchers today while the Tribe is sending a pair of lesser starters. Indians manager Lou Boudreau sent his three best available starters to the mound against Boston in Satchel Paige, Bob Lemon and Gene Bearden. Sam Zoldak is expected to start the final game of the series in New York, tomorrow.
It’s unknown if Bob Muncrief will be available for today’s games. Muncrief passed out in the extreme heat of yesterday’s afternoon game in Boston. He had to be removed from the bullpen and given an ice treatment. He was able to travel with the team to New York, but his availability is unknown.
Cleveland is also monitoring Joe Gordon’s ankle injury. The Tribe’s second baseman injured it during the second game of a doubleheader in Chicago on Aug. 15 and missed a week before returning last Sunday. He played all three games in Boston, but appeared slow in the field and missed a few ground balls that would normally be routine. If he is unable to play, likely Johnny Berardino would take over as Boudreau’s up-the-middle partner.
On the field, the Indians have concerns about bullpen righty, Russ Christopher. In two appearances in Boston the side-winder was blasted for a three-run home run and a two-run triple. Each were on the first hitter he faced. Christopher, who has a weak heart, could be struggling in the summer heat with his strength and endurance.
While Cleveland is doing battle with New York in the Bronx, Boston will be taking on the last place Chicago White Sox. While the Pale Hose have been spoilers of late to the Indians in the pennant race, they shouldn’t expect the same scrappy play against Boston. If the Indians expect to not lose ground on first place and keep their second place stranglehold, Cleveland will need to take two of three in the House that Ruth Built.