Dodgers Make Second Regular Season Trip to Cleveland to Face Indians
Bob Toth | On 13, Jun 2017
A better weekend from the Cleveland Indians against the Chicago White Sox kept them above the .500 mark and still within striking distance of the first place Minnesota Twins. Their next opponent, however, is one of the best in the National League and unfamiliar opposition if ever there was such a thing.
The Indians (31-29) will host the Los Angeles Dodgers (39-25) this week for just the second time in the regular season. The series will be the fourth between the two clubs; the Indians have won four of the previous matchups while the Dodgers have claimed five. The two teams last met in 2014 in Los Angeles, where the Indians won two of the three matchups. They previously played in LA in 2008, and the first regular season series between the two clubs occurred in 2003, when the Indians were swept on their home field by the visiting club.
These games, of course, do not include the Indians’ win in the 1920 World Series against the then-Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games in the best-of-nine championship bout.
Cleveland has had no luck in interleague play this season, presenting the first of several obstacles when hosting Los Angeles beginning Tuesday night. The Indians are just 1-7 so far this season in matchups with Arizona, Cincinnati, and Colorado. It will be the first interleague action of the season for the Dodgers, who will play the Los Angeles Angels at the end of the month and the Kansas City Royals in their final series of the first half in their only interleague games before the break. Los Angeles has won four straight, is 6-4 in June, and 25-13 since a 14-12 April. They reside in second place in the NL West, trailing the Colorado Rockies by one full game in the standings.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Kershaw, the three-time Cy Young winner, one-time MVP, and six-time All-Star, will make the first appearance of his career at Progressive Field and just his second start against the Indians overall. The tenth-year man allowed four runs on four hits in five innings when he faced them in 2008. He has lost just twice this season and ended a three-game no-decision skid with a win his last time out against Washington, when he fired seven innings of one-run, three-hit baseball with nine strikeouts. In June, he has worked 14 innings and allowed just two runs on five hits with four walks and 23 strikeouts. Both runs scored via home run.
Bauer will look to get back on track after a rough start his last time out in Colorado. He allowed four runs on five hits, but five walks proved to be an issue as he started just several days after his start in Kansas City ended abruptly by rain in the second inning. He is 1-0 in two starts in his career against the Dodgers with a 2.31 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.
McCarthy looks to end a two-game losing streak after a tough loss against the Nationals his last time out. He worked seven innings and allowed just two runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in a quality outing, but the Dodgers fell, 2-1. He has allowed more than two runs in just two of his ten starts this season. He will make his 20th overall appearance of his career against the Indians and his first since 2014. He has not defeated the Tribe since 2009, when he won a pair of starts despite a 6.35 ERA in the two outings.
Kluber will make his ninth start of the season and his third since returning from a lower back injury that cost him nearly a month on the mound. He won his last time out against Chicago, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings of a quality start. His start Wednesday will be his third consecutive home outing. He took a tough loss in his only career outing against the Dodgers in 2014, allowing a run on six hits over six and two-thirds innings.
Hill has spent some time on the DL this season, limiting him to just seven starts this year. He is 2-1 since his most recent return and 3-2 overall on the year. He worked five innings of two-hit baseball his last time out in a win against Cincinnati, allowing just a run while striking out five. He has been unable to pitch into the sixth inning this season. It will be the eighth time that he has faced the Indians in his career, but it will be his first start against them. He has not allowed a run and has only surrendered one hit over four and two-thirds innings of relief work.
Tomlin has lost five of his last six starts to tie for the MLB lead in losses this season, although there were a few good games sprinkled in along the way. He was hit hard the last time out for a second straight time against the White Sox this season, coughing up four runs (three earned) on nine hits in just two and two-thirds innings of work. His start against the Dodgers will mark the 23rd different team that he has faced in his career and his third from the NL West. He is 1-1 in five starts against the rest of the division.
TV (all games) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; SportsNet LA; MLB Network (6/14)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 570 LA Sports, KTNQ 1020 (LA)
Abraham Almonte (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/16) – right biceps strain; on rehab assignment
Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – right elbow surgery
Brandon Guyer (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/14) – left wrist sprain
Danny Salazar (P) – 10-day disabled list (6/4) – right shoulder soreness
Los Angeles (NL):
Andre Ethier (RF) – 60-day disabled list (3/30) – lumbar disk herniation
Yimi Garcia (RP) – 60-day disabled list (2/15) – recovery from October 2016 Tommy John surgery
Adrian Gonzalez (1B) – 10-day disabled list (6/13) – degenerative herniated disc
Scott Kazmir (SP) – 60-day disabled list (3/30) – left hip strain
Adam Liberatore (RP) – 10-day disabled list (5/31) – left forearm tightness
Joc Pederson (OF) – activated from 7-day disabled list (6/13)
Sergio Romo (RP) – 10-day disabled list (6/9) – left ankle sprain
Rob Segedin (1B) – 60-day disabled list (4/19) – right big toe strain
Brock Stewart (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/30) – right shoulder tendinitis; on rehab assignment
Andrew Toles (OF) – 60-day disabled list (5/10) – torn right ACL; out for season
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
While the Dodgers may be an unfamiliar foe for the Tribe, several familiar faces will make their returns to Cleveland and Progressive Field with the club in town.
Manager Dave Roberts, last season’s National League Manager of the Year, is in his second season at the helm of the Los Angeles team. A hero of Boston’s postseason in 2004, he played for the Indians from 1999 to 2001 before joining the Dodgers for three seasons.
Turner Ward operates as the club’s hitting coach. He played with the Indians in 1990 and 1991 before he was dealt to Toronto with Tom Candiotti on June 27 of the latter season. Josh Bard is in his second season on Roberts’ staff in LA. He serves as the bullpen coach after a ten-year MLB career. That career began in Cleveland in 2002 and carried into the 2005 season. He spent three seasons in the Dodgers’ front office as a special assistant and pro scout before returning to the field.
In addition to the former Indians reliever Hill, who has rediscovered himself and turned into a quality starter, former Tribe lefty Kazmir is part of the Dodgers rotation when healthy. He has yet to appear this season while dealing with left hip issues. Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez is also a former member of the Tribe, but has not put up the numbers that he had in recent years. He is hitting just .244 with three doubles, a homer, and seven RBI in extremely limited opportunities as a platoon outfielder for the club.
With the number of injuries the Dodgers have sustained to their starting rotation, it may not be out of the realm of possibilities that another former Indian, Justin Masterson, gets a look at some point this season. The 32-year-old has made 12 appearances (11 starts) for their Triple-A Oklahoma City affiliate and has posted a 5-3 record with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He has struck out 64 batters in 65 2/3 innings of work.
One of his teammates on the farm for the Dodgers was Tyler Holt, a 2010 tenth round draft pick by the Indians. The outfielder started the season in Triple-A, but was demoted at the end of April to Double-A Tulsa, where he is hitting .171 through 12 games.
DODGERS IN DETAIL
Justin Turner would be the leading hitter in the National League with a .383 average and a .456 on-base percentage this season if he had enough at bats to qualify. He has appeared in just 42 games for the club after missing three weeks on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain.
All-Star shortstop Corey Seager is hitting .279 in his second full season in the Majors after claiming the Dodgers’ 17th Rookie of the Year Award last year. Through 62 games, he is has a .388 on-base percentage, 63 hits, a club-leading 17 doubles, nine homers, and 31 RBI. He is fifth in the NL with 45 runs scored this season.
Clay Bellinger is making an early case to claim the Dodgers’ another Rookie of the Year Award. He has appeared in 44 games for the club and is hitting .248, but leads the team with 15 homers and 35 RBI. He joined the club on April 25 after hitting .343 with four doubles, five homers, and 15 RBI in 18 games at Oklahoma City.
Yasmani Grandal has put up strong numbers behind the plate for LA, hitting .270 with 15 doubles, six homers, and 25 RBI on the season. He is 1-for-3 in his career against Bauer with a single. He has a single and a double against Kluber in three trips.
INDIANS IN DEPTH
Austin Jackson and Edwin Encarnacion are the only two Indians players to face Kershaw. They are a combined 0-for-7 and both have a strikeout to their credit. Jackson is 1-for-7 against McCarthy with four strikeouts.
Encarnacion has three hits in ten at bats against McCarthy. All hits have been for extra bases, including a double, two homers, and four RBI, and he has not struck out against him. He has the only hit among Indians players to have faced Hill, with a single and two strikeouts in four trips. Encarnacion has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games, including a current three-game hitting streak. He was 6-for-11 in the series with the White Sox over the weekend, hitting two doubles and two homers while driving in four.
Jose Ramirez has three hits in three trips against McCarthy, including a homer and two runs batted in.
Francisco Lindor has slumped in June, going 6-for-36 (.167) at the plate for the month with three doubles and two RBI. He has had some difficulties from the left side of the plate, where he has hit just .236 against right-handers as opposed to .295 from the right side. More time at home may help, as he has hit .282 at Progressive Field this season.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Indians will head back to Minnesota to play four games in three days against the Twins in a significant early season battle for divisional positioning. The Dodgers will continue their road trip with a three-game stop in Cincinnati against the Reds before returning home for a nine-game homestand.
Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images