First Half Concludes as Inspired Indians Host a Different Yankees Club
Bob Toth | On 07, Jul 2016
The same old New York Yankees club you grew up rooting against is not the same as the one that is coming to Progressive Field for a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians this weekend. The shoes seem to be on the other feet when comparing the two clubs and their respective results this season.
The Indians (51-33) have been one of the top clubs in baseball since the beginning of June. With a .607 winning percentage, they trail only the Texas Rangers (53-33; .616) for the top record in the American League and the San Francisco Giants (54-33; .621) and the Chicago Cubs (52-32; .619) for the best record in baseball. Their 13-game home winning streak ended on Wednesday in a loss to the Detroit Tigers, but not before the team won its first eleven matchups against its American League Central rival this season. The Tribe also ended a franchise-best 14-game winning streak last Saturday in Toronto and the club is 25-9 overall since June 1, outscoring the opposition 171-118 (+53) in that span.
The Yankees (41-43) are not where they had hoped to be in the AL East standings. While they still have a lineup filled with recognizable names, their roster is older and could lead to a grim couple of years for the club if they do not look to turn some assets into pieces for the future by the trade deadline or in the offseason. They are in fourth place, eight games out in the division and five games out of the AL Wild Card picture. They dropped two series in the last week, losing two of three in San Diego to the Padres last weekend before falling twice more in a three-game set in Chicago against the White Sox this week. They were outscored 13-11 against the White Sox, but nine runs came in a shutout on Tuesday night.
Thursday, 7/7, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Ivan Nova (5-5, 5.06 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (7-2, 3.02)
Friday, 7/8, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Chad Green (1-1, 4.09) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (8-8, 3.79)
Saturday, 7/9, 4:10 PM ET – LHP CC Sabathia (5-6, 3.48) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (10-3, 2.36)
Sunday, 7/10, 1:10 PM ET – RHP Masahiro Tanaka (6-2, 3.12) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (5-2, 2.47)
Bauer is 1-3 in his career against New York with a 4.78 ERA in five starts. Control has been a culprit; he has walked 16 in 26 1/3 career innings. Kluber has not faced the Yankees since 2014, when he threw six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out ten in a win. Salazar was 1-1 against the Yankees in his first career games against them last season, striking out 14 in 12 innings, but allowing three home runs. Carrasco has won three straight decisions against the Yankees and excelled against them in the last two seasons. In three outings (one start) in 2014, he threw nine scoreless innings with five hits allowed and eight strikeouts. Last year, he was 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 0.68 WHIP, striking out 19 in 14 2/3 innings.
The seven-year vet Nova will be making his first career start at Progressive Field. He is 1-1 against the Indians in two starts with a 3.75 ERA. Green, a 25-year-old right-hander, will be making his fourth MLB appearance and his third career start. He allowed just one run on three hits in six innings of work while striking out a career-high eight against San Diego on July 3. Sabathia, the Indians’ first round pick in 1998, took the loss at Progressive Field last season despite allowing just two runs over six innings. He is 4-2 in nine career starts against Cleveland in his career. Tanaka has been dealt a loss in each of the last two seasons against the Indians, posting a 5.68 career ERA against Cleveland in two starts.
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all but Saturday); YES (all but Saturday); FS1 (Saturday)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WFAN 660/101.9 FM (New York)
Austin Adams (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (July 7)
Michael Brantley (LF) – 60-day disabled list (May 10) – right shoulder inflammation, right biceps tendinitis
Mike Clevinger (P) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (July 7)
Joseph Colon (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (July 7)
Zach McAllister (RP) – 15-day disabled list (July 7) – right hip discomfort
Roberto Perez (C) – 60-day disabled list (May 1) – fractured right thumb
New York (AL):
Dustin Ackley (LF) – 60-day disabled list (May 30) – recovery from June 2016 right shoulder surgery
Greg Bird (1B) – 60-day disabled list (March 25) – recovery from February 2016 right shoulder surgery
Bryan Mitchell (RP) – 60-day disabled list (March 31) – recovery from April 2016 left toe surgery
Conor Mullee (P) – 15-day disabled list (July 2) – carpal tunnel syndrome-like symptoms
Chris Parmelee (1B) – 15-day disabled list (June 10) – right hamstring strain
Branden Pinder (P) – 60-day disabled list (April 21) – recovery from April 2016 Tommy John surgery
Mason Williams (OF) – 60-day disabled list (March 25) – recovery from August 2015 right labrum surgery
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
A longtime rivalry gone to the wayside with the addition of interleague play and the unbalanced schedule, the Yankees hold a 1,091-860 record against the Indians in 1,963 games. New York has owned the Tribe in Cleveland (499-475) and in the Big Apple (592-385).
Even though the Yankees have the edge all-time, the Indians have had their number in the last couple of seasons. The Indians went 4-3 against the Yankees in 2014, outscoring them 34-27. Last season, Cleveland was 5-2 against New York, taking two of three at Progressive Field and three of four at Yankee Stadium. Despite the lopsided results, the Indians outscored the Yankees by just two runs over the course of the series, 29-27.
Starlin Castro came over via trade from the Chicago Cubs in the offseason to plug a second base hole in the Yankees lineup. He has hit .280 over the last week with a pair of doubles and a run batted in while scoring three runs. For the season, he is hitting .258 with a .295 on-base percentage and is third on the club with ten homers and fourth with 31 RBI.
Aaron Hicks was acquired in a trade from the Minnesota Twins for catcher John Ryan Murphy. He has hit just .190 over the last week with two doubles and two runs batted in. Offense in general has not been his strong suit this season, as he is just one notch above the Mendoza line at .201 with ten doubles, three home runs, and 17 RBI.
…AND OLD ONES
Carlos Beltran has been a steady and reliable force in the Yankees lineup this season. He leads the club with 19 homers, 17 doubles, 54 RBI, and a .297 average and was rewarded with another trip to the All-Star Game.
Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .364 over his last six games with eight hits and a pair of stolen bases. Despite being on base plenty, he has crossed home plate successfully just twice in the last week. For the season, he has been a bit more successful in that regard, ranking third on the club with 35 runs scored. He is the team leader in stolen bases with 16.
Didi Gregorius made a case for some All-Star consideration at the crowded AL shortstop position, but was left off the squad. He has hit .333 over the last week with eight hits of his own, including two doubles and two homers while driving in three. He is hitting .293 for the season and is second on the team with 14 doubles and second in RBI with 38.
Last Sunday, Mark Teixeira hit a pair of home runs, numbers 400 and 401 of his career, in New York’s game in San Diego.
It gave the Yankees three players on their roster in the 400 home run club, as Teixeira joined teammates Beltran and Alex Rodriguez in the exclusive club.
Francisco Lindor and Salazar will represent the Indians at next Tuesday’s All-Star Game from Petco Park in San Diego, California. Kluber was added on Thursday morning as an injury replacement for Toronto’s Marco Estrada.
RETURN OF RAJAI
Rajai Davis is the surprising team leader for the Indians in RBI for the last week with five. He has nine hits in his last six games, including three doubles, a triple, and two home runs, with a chunk of that work coming in his cycle hit over the weekend. He is hitting .346 in the last week and .275 for the season. He is tied for the AL lead in stolen bases with 22 in 25 attempts (matched by Houston’s Jose Altuve). His nine home runs this season are a career high.
RAMIREZ EXTENDS HITTING STREAK TO 11
Jose Ramirez now leads qualified Indians hitters with a .300 batting average. It comes courtesy of an eleven-game hitting streak. He is hitting .348 over the eleven games with four doubles, six runs scored, and seven runs batted in. His 21 doubles this season are tied for 14th most in the AL.
With three home runs over the course of the last week, including a go-ahead shot in the 19th inning last Friday against Toronto, Carlos Santana has matched his team-leading home run production from the entire 2015 season with 19.
Santana’s batting average and on-base percentage have also gotten a healthy boost of late as the switch-hitting slugger has gotten hotter as temperatures have risen for the summer. In his last seven games, he is hitting .370 with a .500 OBP and has pushed his season batting average to .248.
BIG CROWDS EXPECTED THIS WEEK
The three-game series between the Indians and Tigers drew 77,709 fans. Seating was already limited for both Friday and Saturday games between the Indians and Yankees, with standing room only tickets being made available for the two contests.
The non-All-Star members of the Yankees and Indians will take a few days of rest before the season resumes on Friday. The Indians will hit the road for another lengthy road trip through Minnesota, Kansas City, and Baltimore starting on Friday. The Yankees will start the second half with a long homestand, but it will not be easy as they host Boston, Baltimore for four, and San Francisco.
Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Haynes