Indians Hope to Make Home a Sweet Home as Rangers Make Yearly Visit
Bob Toth | On 26, Jun 2017
When the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers last met, the two clubs opened the 2017 season. Hopes were high for both teams, as each was coming off of a trip to the 2016 postseason after strong campaigns and both were expected to be contenders once again. While both clubs remain contenders in their own right, their respective seasons may not be going as many had expected.
The Indians (39-35) have yet to find the magic recipe to sustained success. The starting rotation has had some struggles with injuries and varying results. The bullpen has been steady, statistically one of the best in the game, but has had its edge-of-the-seat moments. The offense has been a head scratcher at times, producing runs in bulk in stretches before series like this past weekend, when the club mustered just two runs in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins on the heels of an offensive eruption during a 7-1 road trip. Even worse, home has not been a sweet home for the Indians, as they are one of just two American League clubs (see: Twins) to post a losing record at home (15-20). In the Tribe’s favor this week in their matchup with Texas is an impressive 13-3- start against the AL West this season.
The Rangers (38-37) are hanging around the playoff picture as the third month of the season begins to close, but their focus may be on the Wild Card. Winners of its last two to push back over the .500 mark, Texas just so happens to be playing in the same division as the best team in baseball, the 52-25 Houston Astros. Already 13 games behind the front running in-state rivals, the Rangers’ lone real hope may be the play-in route, as they are just a game and a half back in the Wild Card hunt.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
The Indians have faced more left-handers than anyone this season (and by a decent margin) so it should be little surprise that Hamels would line up for a go against the Tribe. The veteran left-hander, fresh off of the disabled list after dealing with a strained right oblique, will make his return to the mound after missing two months of action. He has made five starts this season, including four of the quality variety and one such outing against the Indians to open his season. He worked six innings in that start, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits with a walk, a hit batter, and four strikeouts.
Carrasco will be tasked with stopping the Indians’ three-game losing skid, but he could be just the man to do it. He has won three straight starts in June and is coming off one of his better outings of the season, when he held Baltimore scoreless in six innings, giving up seven hits while striking out a season-high ten. He is 2-3 in eight career games against Texas with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP, but he won his only appearance against them this season after allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts over five and two-thirds innings of work.
Ross will make just his third start of the season after missing two and a half months on the disabled list. He was tough to hit in his first outing for the Rangers, allowing two runs on two hits in five and two-thirds innings in a win over Seattle, but was roughed up to the tune of seven runs on seven hits in just three innings by Toronto on Wednesday. The righty has faced the Indians four times, including three times in a starting role, posting a 1-1 record with a 1.77 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 20 1/3 innings. He last faced Cleveland in 2014.
The 26-year-old right-hander Clevinger will make his tenth appearance of the season and his ninth start. It will be his first start in his career against Texas after making a pair of scoreless relief appearances against them last season. He earned his third win of the season in his last start on Thursday when he allowed a pair of runs on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts. He also hit a pair of batters.
Darvish will make his fourth career start at Progressive Field on Wednesday. He is 1-2 in five career starts against the Indians and took a no-decision in his Opening Day start for Texas against Cleveland, allowing four runs on four hits with a season-high five walks. He is coming off of his best start of the season, when he allowed just two hits and struck out ten in seven scoreless innings against New York in a no-decision.
Bauer pitched deep into the seventh his last time out, but took the loss in a 5-0 blanking by the Minnesota Twins on Friday. He allowed all five runs (just four earned) on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts while losing for the sixth time this season. He has started three times against the Rangers in his career and has yet to post a decision. He has a 4.35 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP over those 20 2/3 innings.
Thursday, 6/29, 12:10 PM ET – TBA vs. RHP Corey Kluber (6-2, 3.24)
The Rangers had not formally announced a starter for Thursday’s game at the time of this story.
It will be the second time that Kluber has faced the Rangers this season and the third time in his career that he will have faced Texas twice in one season (also in 2013 and 2016). He was roughed up for five runs on six hits in his first start of the season against Darvish, working six innings and striking out six but taking the no-decision. He is 2-1 in his career against Texas with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He is a perfect 3-0 in June with a pair of no-decisions. His defense failed him in his last start, costing him a pair of first inning unearned runs against Minnesota. He went seven innings without allowing an earned one while striking out a season-high 13.
TV (all games) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports SouthWest; MLB Network (out-of-market only – 6/26, 6/27, & 6/28)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270 (Alrington)
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
Shawn Armstrong (RP) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (6/26)
Michael Brantley (LF) – activated from 10-day disabled list (6/26)
Brandon Guyer (OF) – activated from 10-day disabled list (6/26)
Michael Martinez (UTL) – signed to minor league contract, assigned to Triple-A Columbus (6/25)
Daniel Robertson (UTL) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (6/26)
Danny Salazar (P) – 10-day disabled list (6/4) – right shoulder soreness
Hanser Alberto (3B) – 60-day disabled list (3/30) – June rotator cuff surgery
Tony Barnette (RP) – 10-day disabled list (6/15) – sprained right ring finger
Andrew Cashner (SP) – 10-day disabled list (6/15) – left oblique strain
Jake Diekman (RP) – 60-day disabled list – January and June 2071 colon surgery
Joey Gallo (3B) – day-to-day – sore right hamstring
Chi Chi Gonzalez (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – partial UCL tear in right elbow
A.J. Griffin (SP) – 60-day disabled list (5/27) – left intercostal strain
Cole Hamels (SP) – activated from 10-day disabled list (6/26)
Jeremy Jeffress (RP) – 10-day disabled list (6/22) – lower back strain
Nomar Mazara (OF) – day-to-day – bruised right forearm
Martin Perez (SP) – 10-day disabled list (6/23) – fracture and laceration of right thumb
Drew Robinson (3B) – optioned to Triple-A Round Rock (6/26)
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
RANGERS LOOKING FOR REVENGE
Elvis Andrus has always punished the Indians and he has put up strong numbers against Carrasco in his career. He is 5-for-15 with a pair of doubles and a team-high five RBI against him. He is the team’s leading hitter at the plate with a .293 average in 73 games. His 18 doubles on the season are also most on the club.
Former teammate Mike Napoli makes his return to Cleveland on Monday and will receive his AL championship ring in a pregame ceremony. He is 3-for-6 in his career against Carrasco with a pair of doubles.
Five Rangers have seen Clevinger during their careers with little to show for it. Mazara has drawn a walk, while Adrian Beltre, Carlos Gomez, Rougned Odor, and Andrus have been held hitless in five total at bats.
Bauer has held current Rangers to a combined .171 average over 41 plate appearances. Andrus and Beltre each have a pair of hits. Andrus has a double to his credit, and Odor has a homer and three RBI in five total plate appearances against the Indians right-hander.
Beltre, Mazara, and Odor have all fared well against Kluber. Beltre is 4-for-10 with a solo homer. Mazara has four hits, including a double, in nine trips. Odor has taken Kluber deep twice and driven in four runs in his six plate appearances.
Gallo leads the Rangers with 19 homers on the season. With the good comes the bad, however, as he has hit just .194 on the year and has struck out a team-high 101 times (tied for the most in all of baseball).
Delino DeShields is hitting .340 in 17 June games with 13 runs scored and 17 hits. He is a perfect 10-for-10 stealing bases in the month.
INDIANS IN DETAIL
Indians hitters have little track record against Hamels, who is in his third season in the American League after a long run in Philadelphia. Edwin Encarnacion has been one of the most productive bats against him, hitting .318 (7-for-22) with a pair of solo homers and five walks. He is hitting .329 with a .451 on-base percentage in 21 games in June with three doubles, seven homers, 16 walks, and 18 runs batted in.
Jose Ramirez is hitting .376 in 23 June games. Of his 35 hits, 12 have fallen for doubles, two for triples, and five have left the yard.
Lonnie Chisenhall is 20-for-54 (.370) in June with four doubles, four homers, and 15 RBI.
The Rangers will continue their ten-game road trip with a three-game set over the weekend in Chicago with the White Sox before returning home for six games to close out the unofficial first half.
The Indians will take a quick road trip after the series is over, heading to Detroit for four games in three days (including a doubleheader on Saturday). The Indians will return home with back-to-back series before the All-Star break, hosting San Diego for three after an off day Monday and Detroit again for three in the final weekend before the Midsummer Classic begins from Miami.
Photo: Adam Hunger/Getty Images