Indians Head to Seattle to Play Mariners Without Their King
Bob Toth | On 06, Jun 2016
A scorching hot Indians club will make the long journey west this week as they start a ten-game road trip in the Pacific Northwest, taking on the second place Seattle Mariners of the American League West for four games at Safeco Field.
Cleveland (31-24) comes in as the hottest team in all of baseball, victors of five straight games to end their homestand with a 6-4 record. They exerted their will over the Kansas City Royals, knocking out a team that came to Progressive Field over the weekend as one of baseball’s best. A four-game sweep later, the Indians have taken over the top spot in the American League Central, owning a game and a half lead over the Royals in the division.
The Mariners (31-25) were swept this weekend by the Texas Rangers, costing them the top spot in the AL West. They now trail the Rangers by three full games and have lost four of five and seven of their last ten, with their only wins in that stretch coming against the San Diego Padres. They scored 47 runs in four games against the Padres, but also allowed 34 runs in the series. They followed with just nine runs scored in three games against Texas.
Monday, 6/6, 10:10 PM ET – RHP Trevor Bauer (3-2, 4.27 ERA) vs. LHP James Paxton (0-1, 7.36)
Tuesday, 6/7, 10:10 PM ET – RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-0, 3.00) vs. LHP Wade Miley (5-2, 5.85)
Wednesday, 6/8, 10:15 PM ET – RHP Danny Salazar (6-3, 2.24) vs. RHP Taijuan Walker (2-6, 3.94)
Thursday, 6/9, 10:10 PM ET – RHP Josh Tomlin (8-1, 3.54) vs. RHP Nate Karns (5-2, 4.23)
TV (all games) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; ROOT Sports
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 710 ESPN (Seattle)
Michael Brantley (LF) – 15-day disabled list (May 10) – right shoulder inflammation
Joba Chamberlain (RP) – expected to be activated June 6 from 15-day disabled list – left intercostal strain
Roberto Perez (C) – 60-day disabled list (May 1) – fractured right thumb
Ryan Cook (RP) – 60-day disabled list (March 16) – strained lat muscle
Edwin Diaz (P) – recalled from Double-A Jackson (June 4)
Charlie Furbush (RP) – 15-day disabled list (March 25) – left shoulder tightness
Felix Hernandez (SP) – 15-day disabled list (May 28) – right calf strain
Ketel Marte (IF) – expected to be activated June 6 from 15-day disabled list (May 22) – left thumb strain
Cody Martin (RP) – optioned to Triple-A Tacoma (June 4)
Leonys Martin (OF) – 15-day disabled list (May 26) – left hamstring strain
Joel Peralta (RP) – released (June 5)
Evan Scribner (RP) – 60-day disabled list (March 25) – strained lat muscle
Jesus Sucre (C) – 60-day disabled list (March 1) – right leg surgery (January 2016)
Tony Zych (RP) – 15-day disabled list (May 2) – right rotator cuff tendinitis
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
The Indians own a 217-173 record in 390 games against the Mariners all-time. They have winning records against them both in Cleveland (105-89) and in Seattle (112-84).
The Mariners took two of three when the clubs met in Cleveland in the middle of April. Carrasco earned a 3-2 win in the opener over Miley, with a save to Cody Allen. The Mariners won 2-1 and 10-7 finals, with Walker and Zych getting credit for the wins and saves in each to Steve Cishek. Allen gave up a three-run homer to Robinson Cano in the tenth inning of the finale.
Hernandez will once again miss an opportunity to pitch against Cleveland, which is something the Indians are not likely shedding any tears over. The 30-year-old right-hander and 2010 Cy Young Award winner is only 7-6 lifetime against the Indians in 16 career starts, but owns a 2.95 ERA. He landed on the disabled list after straining his right calf at the end of May.
This will be the second consecutive season that he will not pitch against the Indians; he was 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA and 0.67 WHIP in two starts against them in 2014.
PAXTON LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK
Paxton, who will make the start on Monday in Hernandez’s absence, had a rocky first go on Wednesday when he was recalled for the start against San Diego. He allowed six first inning runs and eight total (just three earned) on ten hits in three and two-thirds innings.
He previously faced the Indians on May 28, 2015, when he allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits in four and two-thirds innings in a loss at Safeco.
Kyle Seager has put together a nice week at the plate, hitting .481 in the last seven games with a .533 on-base percentage. He leads the club with 13 hits in that span and has driven in 12 runs, the most knocked in by any player in baseball in the last seven days.
Seager is hitting .289 with a .360 OBP on the year with 14 doubles, ten homers, and 39 RBI.
BE CAREFUL WITH CANO AND CRUZ
While Cano has cooled off over the last week (.231 average, .355 OBP), he still leads the Mariners with a .289 batting average, just ahead of Cruz and Seager. His 16 homers are tops on the club this season, as are his 48 RBI. His 14 doubles are tied with Seager for the club lead.
Cruz has homered three times in the last seven games while driving in eight runs and hitting .321. He is second on the team for the season with 13 home runs and 40 RBI, trailing only Cano, while his .289 average is sandwiched between that of Cano and Seager by mere percentage points.
BAUER HAS HAD ISSUES AGAINST MARINERS
Bauer, who gets the start for Cleveland on Monday night, is 0-4 in five games (four starts) against Seattle in his career with a 6.94 ERA. Cruz (5-for-7) and Seager (5-for-12) have both done major damage, with each having a double and a homer against him in their careers.
Bauer has taken a pair of no-decisions in his last two starts and two losses in the outings prior. He last earned a win on May 10 against Houston, when he threw seven innings of three-hit shutout baseball.
RAMIREZ AN ALL-STAR?
Jose Ramirez’s hot play continued this week, as the Indians utility guy and primary left fielder appeared in all seven games, adding three more doubles to his club-leading tally while hitting .391 with a .440 on-base percentage. He now leads qualified Indians with a .317 batting average, .387 OBP, and 14 doubles and is in rare air in baseball, one of only a handful of regulars around the game with more walks (17) than strikeouts (16) for the season.
Tyler Naquin has appeared in four games since he was recalled from Triple-A Columbus when Marlon Byrd was suspended for a year. He went 6-for-11 (.545) in those games with a double, three home runs, five RBI, and four runs batted in. He also drew three walks for a .643 OBP in that stretch of play.
The outfielder, not known at all for power, has homered in three consecutive games. For the season, Naquin is hitting .351 in 31 games with a .392 OBP.
Indians first baseman Mike Napoli enjoyed the extended homestand in Cleveland over the last ten days. He had hits in all five June games, in nine of the ten games in the homestand, and has now hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games played. He was 10-for-36 (.278) during the Indians’ 6-4 stretch at home, supplying one double, six home runs, eleven runs scored, and 12 RBI.
The Indians will continue their west coast swing when their four-game series in Seattle comes to a close Thursday night. They will start a three-game set in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday before a stop in the midwest to revisit the Royals at Kaufman Stadium on Monday. The Mariners will continue their homestand by hosting the Rangers on Friday night.
Photo: Rick Yeatts/Getty Images