Series Preview #30: Cleveland Indians (44-47) at Milwaukee Brewers (41-52)
Bob Toth | On 21, Jul 2015
There are occasionally some bizarre games scheduled into the regular season, as this week’s series between the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers is one of them. The Tribe will swing through “Cream City” for an evening game Tuesday night followed by a Wednesday getaway day afternoon start, leaving little time for the players to soak in the perks of being in the largest city in the state of Wisconsin.
As the trade deadline inches closer and closer, the Indians (44-47) have a decision to make on several players on the roster who may be valuable to other teams around the league while opening up playing time opportunities for some of the young players sitting in Triple-A Columbus waiting for their time to shine on the big stage. In the mean time, they continued to tread some water, keeping pace with the Royals at the top of the division and the leaders in the Wild Card race, remaining eleven games back in the division and five and a half out in the Wild Card chase.
Before heading west, the Indians headed south to Cincinnati to wrap up their season series with the in-state “rival” Reds. The Indians dropped their third straight and yet another series opener on Friday night in a 6-1 loss. They rebounded on Saturday, backing Corey Kluber with oodles of run support and three home run balls in a 9-4 win. They walked their way to victory on Sunday afternoon in extras, as the club drew an almost unheard of four bases loaded walks, including the go-ahead walk and a sacrifice fly in the eleventh of a 5-3 win.
The Brewers (41-52) have had, without question, a disappointing season. Their manager to start the season was fired and replaced by Indians nemesis Craig Counsell. They currently reside in the bottom of the fairly competitive National League Central and are fighting to avoid having the worst record in baseball. A surprising three-game sweep over the Pittsburgh Pirates in their first series after the break has helped with that cause, as they are nine games above Philadelphia, three above Miami, and a thousandth of a point in front of Colorado in the NL cellar.
PITCHING PROBABLES and GAME NOTES
Salazar came within one out of a complete game win on July 10th against Oakland. He will make his third interleague start of the year. He has a 4-1 record in five career July starts with a 2.87 ERA, but is 0-3 in six interleague starts with a 5.08 ERA. It will be his first appearance against the Brewers. Garza has not pitched against the Indians since 2010, when he allowed just one hit and one walk in six innings of work for the win. He is 2-4 with a 4.81 ERA in eight career starts against Cleveland and is 11-9 in 28 interleague starts in his career.
Anderson will make his fifth start of the year and already his second interleague appearance on the road after taking the loss in a tough 1-0 decision against Pittsburgh earlier in July. He has worked into the seventh inning of all four starts and has allowed one earned run in each of the last three games and has given up just 17 hits in 30 1/3 innings this season. Lohse, like Garza, is familiar with the Tribe after spending time with the Minnesota Twins early in his pitching career. The Indians and interleague have been unfavorable to him throughout his 15-year career, as he is 8-9 lifetime against Cleveland with a 5.45 ERA in 24 games and 10-20 with a 5.17 ERA in 48 interleague games.
Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network will provide the calls of the quick two-game set. Fox Sports Wisconsin will air Tuesday night’s game, while the Brewers Radio Network will provide description of both games in the series.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL STANDINGS
TEAM W-L PCT. GB WCGB STREAK
Kansas City 55-36 .604 – – L1
Minnesota 50-42 .543 5.5 – L2
Detroit 46-46 .500 9.5 4.0 W1
Cleveland 44-47 .484 11.0 5.5 W2
Chicago 42-48 .467 12.5 7.0 L2
The Brewers were a divisional rival of the Indians for a long time after moving from the AL West to the AL East three seasons after joining the MLB as the Seattle Pilots. In 1994, they moved into the newly formed AL Central, spending four years in the division before being relocated to the NL for the 1998 season. They have won their division three separate times, twice in the AL and once in the NL, and made the playoffs as a Wild Card team in 2008.
They hold a slight 205-201 advantage in the series between the two clubs dating back to 1969. The Indians are 104-102 as the home team, but 97-103 playing the Brewers organization on the road.
The two teams last met in 2009 and have played just five series since the Brewers moved to the NL. They have had the better of the Tribe for a while, winning each of the last seven games and eight of their last nine. They last played on June 17th, 2009, when Mark DiFelice earned the win and Mitch Stetter the save in a 9-8 win in Cleveland. Greg Aquino was the losing pitcher for the Indians.
ON THE MOVE and ON THE MEND
Gavin Floyd (SP) – 60-day disabled list (March 16) – right elbow surgery
Nick Hagadone (RP) – 15-day disabled list (July 8) – lower back strain, unspecified left elbow in jury
Nick Swisher (DH) – 15-day disabled list (June 14) – left knee inflammation; has begun rehab assignment
Josh Tomlin (P) – 60-day disabled list (April 5) – right shoulder surgery; has begun rehab assignment
Tyler Cravy (P) – optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs July 20
Matt Garza (SP) – 15-day disabled list (July 3) – right shoulder tendinitis; expected to be activated July 21
Brandon Kintzler (RP) – 15-day disabled list (May 28) – left patella tendinitis
Wily Peralta (SP) – 15-day disabled list (May 23) – left oblique strain; has begun rehab assignment
CRUNCHING THE CLEVELAND NUMBERS
Quite some time had passed since the last time the Indians had drawn four bases loaded walks in one game. The last occurred on June 25th, 1969, in a win over the Boston Red Sox. The last time it occurred in a Major League game was May 7th, 1992, when the Red Sox did it in a 7-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Salazar and Anderson are each looking for their first Major League hits. Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco earned his in Sunday’s extra inning win. Salazar is 0-for-7 in his career with seven strikeouts. Anderson has fared no better, striking out in each of his two trips into the box.
Jason Kipnis, as has been the case for most of the season, had another good series over the weekend. He had five singles in 12 at bats, hitting .417 with a .500 on-base percentage. He stole a base and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Francisco Lindor had six hits in 15 at bats against the Reds, batting .400 with a .438 on-base percentage. He scored three runs and drove in another.
Michael Brantley went 4-for-11 (.364) with four walks to give him a .533 OBP in the series. He had a single, two doubles, and a home run and drove in a team-high five runs in the series.
BREWERS BY THE NUMBERS
The Brewers were represented by a pair of players at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati last week.
Veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) got the initial selection as the team’s representative. He is a perfect 21-for-21 in save opportunities this season and has an 0-2 record with a 1.32 ERA in 34 games pitched. He recently moved past Jeff Reardon for eighth place on the all-time saves list.
Ryan Braun made the game as an injury replacement after appearing on the Final Vote for the game. He is hitting .272 after 88 games with 16 homers and 57 RBI, both tops on the team. He also has swiped 14 of 15 base thefts attempted this season.
Gerardo Parra has very quietly had a successful season and could be a player on the move for the club after hitting .313 in his first 90 games this season. He has nine homers, a team-high 23 doubles, and has driven in 30 runs while playing all three outfield spots.
The Brewers are honoring the 60th year in professional baseball for their longtime announcer Bob Uecker on Tuesday night with “Major League Night” at Miller Park.
It may seem odd to the common fan that the Milwaukee Brewers would pay homage to a movie about a fictional Cleveland Indians squad. There are strong ties to the city of Milwaukee in the film, as scenes of the movie were filmed at the former home of the Brewers, County Stadium.
Uecker, a former Major League catcher, was a surprise star of the movie as the memorable and quotable Indians broadcaster Harry Doyle. He spent six years in the Majors as a catcher, beginning with a two-year stint with his hometown Milwaukee Braves. After a pair of seasons in St. Louis with the Cardinals, he joined the Philadelphia Phillies before returning to the Braves franchise, now in Atlanta. Following his career, he worked for the Braves before returning home as a Brewers broadcaster. He also worked in film, most notably as George Owens on the television series Mr. Belvedere.
“Mr. Baseball” will throw out the ceremonial first pitch of Tuesday’s game and a donation will be made in his name to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Fans in attendance who purchased a special Major League ticket package can receive one of the 4,000 limited edition talking Harry Doyle bobbleheads, complete with quotes including “This guy threw at his own kid in a father-son game,” “Personally, I think we got hosed on that call,” and “Juuust a bit outside.”
The stadium scoreboard at Miller Park will show clips of the film throughout the game. Additionally, some fans in attendance will have the chance to receive copies of the book, The Making of Major League, by Jonathan Knight, whose weekly contributions appear here at Did The Tribe Win Last Night.
For more on the special event on Tuesday, read here.
Cleveland will return home after their brief five game road trip through the NL Central to take on the Chicago White Sox in a three-game weekend series at Progressive Field. Milwaukee will hit the road for a seven-game trip through the NL West, taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants.
Photo: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images