Series Preview #3: San Diego Padres (2-4) at Cleveland Indians (3-3)
Bob Toth | On 07, Apr 2014
Had it not been for a pair of games to wrap up the spring in southern California, the San Diego Padres would be an unfamiliar opponent for the Cleveland Indians.
San Diego last visited Progressive Field in 2008. The Indians won two of three in that series, with CC Sabathia defeating Greg Maddux on June 15, 2008 by a 7-3 final the last time the two clubs faced each other. This series will mark just the fourth series between the two clubs ever and the first time the teams have met outside of the month of June in the regular season.
The Padres salvaged a victory to conclude their three-game set in Miami over the weekend thanks to a pinch-hit, three-run home run by birthday boy Alexi Amarista in the seventh inning of a 4-2 win. They lost by an 8-2 final on Friday night. They dropped their fourth straight game on Saturday when they were blanked by reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez and the Marlins bullpen, who combined to limit the Friars to just five hits in a 5-0 win.
After winning their Home Opener 7-2 on Friday night, the Indians dropped the final two games in their series with the Minnesota Twins. Catcher Yan Gomes started a three-run sixth inning rally with a home run and Nick Swisher delivered a two-run shot three batters later in Friday’s win. An inconsistent start from Carlos Carrasco plagued the Indians early on the way to a 7-3 loss on Saturday. The Twins claimed the rubber match on Sunday in a slugfest, 10-7. Cleveland is a game and a half behind division-leading Detroit.
PITCHING PROBABLES (updated to reflect Monday’s rainout)
Corey Kluber (0-1, 13.50 ERA) has become the Human Rain Out. Back-to-back starts to open the season have been postponed by rain. He will look to bounce back after struggling in his first start of the season in Oakland. Tyson Ross (0-1, 5.40) will take the mound for the Padres. The Dodgers stole three bases off of him but struck out seven times in Ross’s first start of the year, a five-inning losing effort.Game time is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.
Zach McAllister (0-0, 6.75) will make Tuesday afternoon’s 12:05 PM ET first pitch in a start time adjusted after Monday’s rainout to accommodate a traditional doubleheader. He allowed three runs on six hits and four walks in four innings of a no-decision last Wednesday. Eric Stults (0-1, 11.25) will counter for San Diego. He allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings in his first start.
Danny Salazar had his original Wednesday start pushed back to Thursday. Trevor Bauer (0-0, 0.00) will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus for the afternoon start. He was 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA last season with eleven strikeouts and 16 walks in 17 innings pitched. Left-hander Robbie Erlin (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start of the season for the Padres after starting the season in their bullpen.
All three games of the series will air on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and Fox Sports San Diego. Wednesday’s early game will also be shown on the MLB Network. For those unable to watch along, radio broadcasts will be available on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network and XPRS 1090 in San Diego.
San Diego has a half-dozen players on the disabled list, including a pair of outfielders and four pitchers.
Outfielder Carlos Quentin is on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised left knee, with a yet-to-be determined time table for his return. Cameron Maybin played in a simulated game on Saturday while recovering from a ruptured left biceps tendon.
Pitcher Casey Kelly felt soreness in his elbow while attempting to return from an April 2013 Tommy John surgery. Free agent acquisition Josh Johnson is expected to be out until at least May with a right forearm strain. Joe Wieland could return from the 60-day disabled list around the All-Star break after right elbow surgery in March. Cory Luebke is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in February.
Cleveland completed its second trade in as many days Monday of recently designated relievers. On Sunday, lefty Colt Hynes was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league pitcher Duke Von Schamann. Monday saw right-hander Preston Guilmet sent to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league infielder Torsten Boss. Von Schamann was assigned to Akron while Boss was placed with Carolina.
Outfielder Michael Bourn and designated hitter Jason Giambi remain on the 15-day disabled list for Cleveland. Bourn has started a rehab assignment at Triple-A, but has been unable to get several games in under his belt due to inclement weather throughout the state of Ohio.
RANDOM STATS OF THE SERIES
The Padres enter the series with the Indians with baseball’s fewest runs scored with 12 in their first six games. San Diego’s heart of the order has just seven hits in 66 at bats this season (.106) with three RBI.
Chase Headley, just two seasons removed from a 31 homer, 115 RBI effort, has hit into three double plays in the early going. He has just three singles in 23 at bats (.130).
Outfielder Seth Smith is the only Friar to face Kluber and McAllister. He has struck out in all three at bats versus Kluber and is 2-for-6 against McAllister.
The Indians are batting just .191 with runners in scoring position. In 68 at bats, they have 13 hits and 20 runs batted in, but 15 strikeouts. With the pressure on in the same situation with two outs, they have the second-worst average in the American League (.103) with just three hits and six RBI in 29 at bats.
Michael Brantley has hits in each of his first six games this season, including three singles in Sunday’s loss.
Carlos Santana leads all of baseball with eight walks through his first six games.
Asdrubal Cabrera has reached base safely in all three plate appearances against Stults (two singles, one walk). The seven batters on the roster who have faced Ross have combined to hit .393 against him, including a home run by Swisher.
A total of 106 different players have suited up for both the Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres in their histories. Among the notables are Roberto Alomar, Sandy Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Milton Bradley, Russell Branyan, Joe Carter, Oscar Gamble, Brian Giles, Mike Hargrove, George Hendrick, Charles Nagy, Graig Nettles, Gaylord Perry, Dave Winfield, and Jaret Wright.
Current Padres manager Buddy Black, now in his eighth season in San Diego, spent parts of three years with the Indians from 1988 to 1990 until he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. He returned again in 1995, pitching his final eleven professional games and earning a 4-2 record with a 6.85 ERA until his release in July.
Tuesday’s starter Kluber is not on that list. He was drafted by the Padres in 2007 before being traded to Cleveland as part of the Jake Westbrook trade in 2010.
Cleveland and San Diego have only been acquainted in the Major Leagues since 2003. The Indians took two of three from the Padres in their first trip to Cleveland, with Westbrook and Sabathia earning wins in the first two games.
The Indians made their first and only regular season trip to San Diego two years later. Cleveland again came out the victors in the first two games before dropping the third.
The Padres will return home for a ten-game homestand at PetCoPark, beginning with three with the Detroit Tigers on Friday night. The Tribe will leave town for a seven-game road trip beginning with four games in Chicago with the White Sox starting Thursday night.
Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak