Yankees Make First Trip to Progressive Field Since ALDS Upset
Bob Toth | On 12, Jul 2018
The New York Yankees storm into Cleveland for the first time since last October for a four-game series with the Indians to close out the first half of the 2018 regular season schedule.
The Battle of Ohio did not go in the favor of the Indians (50-41), but if nothing else, they ended the series with a very loud bang with a 19-hit, 19-run onslaught to avoid a sweep by the Cincinnati Reds. Such has been the case for the Indians during their homestand, as they have had two big bursts of offense wrapped around four disappointing losses to the A’s and Reds. The Yankees picked up a three-game sweep of the two clubs’ earlier series in May, winning the bookend games in walk-off fashion while outscoring the Indians, 19-12. They will need to slow down the top scoring home club in baseball, as the Indians have scored 282 runs in 46 home dates this year.
The Yankees (60-31) come into the series sitting in second place in the American League East, three and a half games in back of the Boston Red Sox. First year manager Aaron Boone will lead the Yankees against his former Indians club. The Bronx Bombers have lived up to the name so far, blasting an MLB-leading 154 home runs this season through 91 games. At their current pace, they will break the all-time record set by the Seattle Mariners, with 264 in 1997.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Severino is having a Cy Young-caliber season after finishing third in the voting a season ago. The 24-year-old has done well to control the opposition this season, holding other teams to three runs or less in 17 of his 19 outings this season. He was hit for two home runs in his last start against Toronto on July 7, but he allowed just three runs in total over five innings to earn his fifth straight win. He has won seven of his last eight starts. He has made four career starts against the Indians with a 2-1 record, a 2.49 ERA, and a 0.99 WHIP. He split a pair of decisions against them last season.
Kluber left in line for a win in his last start on Saturday in the series with the Oakland Athletics before the bullpen took that away from him. He worked seven scoreless innings and allowed five hits and a pair of walks while striking out three in just his third no-decision of the campaign. The game marked just the fourth time this season that he has walked two batters or more in a game and it was the first such occurrence since April 27. During regular season action, Kluber has been impressive against the Yankees in his career, boasting a 5-1 record with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP in seven career starts, including a pair of wins in each of the last two seasons.
German, a 25-year-old second-year right-hander, made his first MLB start against the Indians earlier this season when he jumped into the Yankees rotation from the bullpen. In his May 6 outing against Cleveland, he fired six hitless innings, allowing two walks while striking out nine in a no-decision. He has had some rough starts since, but had a good one his last time out against Toronto, when he allowed just one run (on a solo homer) in six innings of work with two walks and five strikeouts.
Bieber, 23, took his first big league loss his last time out. Making his sixth start with the Indians, he lasted six innings but allowed four runs on eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts to end a four-game winning streak. He has allowed four runs in each of his last two starts and in three of his career starts to date. Friday will mark his first career outing against an AL East opponent.
Sabathia, 37, is in his 18th Major League season and still putting up good numbers from the Yankees rotation after re-signing with the club in the offseason. After missing some time with a right hip strain in April, he has been a steady and reliable member of the Yankees staff, working 94 1/3 innings over 17 starts with a 1.28 WHIP. His last time out, he was dinged for his second-worst start of the season, allowing five runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings against Baltimore. He faced the Indians earlier this season in the Bronx and had one of his best outings of the year, when he worked six scoreless innings while allowing just three hits and striking out seven in a no-decision.
Clevinger was impressive in his first career start and second overall appearance against the Yankees earlier this season. He lasted seven and one-third innings and was charged with two runs on just one hit with four walks and ten strikeouts while throwing a career-high 116 pitches. He is coming off of one of his tougher starts of the season despite matching a career-high with 11 strikeouts against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. He was charged with five runs on seven hits with three walks over six innings.
Tanaka was activated from the 10-day disabled list last week after missing a month with mild strains of both hamstrings after an interleague matchup against the New York Mets on June 8. In his first game back on Tuesday, he was lifted after four and one-third innings after allowing three runs on six hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts against the Baltimore Orioles. It will be his first start against the Indians since 2016; he is 1-2 in his career against Cleveland with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in four starts.
Bauer was fantastic in his first start after being named to the American League All-Star team for the first time in his career. He worked eight shutout innings of three-hit baseball, striking out a dozen and walking four in a game that would be blown in embarrassing fashion in the ninth inning on Tuesday night against the Reds. He has faced the Yankees nine times in his career, going 3-5 with a 4.06 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. He won both decisions against them last season, but was hurt by his defense in his May start against them this year. He worked six innings in a quality start, allowing four runs (two earned) on two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in a loss.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (7/12, 7/13); YES (7/12, 7/13); MLB Network (7/12, 7/13); FOX (7/14); TBS (7/15)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (Cleveland); WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280 (New York)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF) – 10-day disabled list (7/3) – strained left calf
Nick Goody (RP) – transferred to 60-day disabled list (5/31) – right elbow inflammation (since 5/3)
Evan Marshall (RP) – 10-day disabled list (6/19) – right elbow inflammation
Ryan Merritt (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – left knee sprain
Andrew Miller (RP) – 10-day disabled list (5/26) – right knee inflammation
Tyler Olson (RP) – activated from 10-day disabled list (7/11)
Marc Rzepczynski (RP) – designated for assignment (7/11)
Danny Salazar (P) – out for season (3/26) – recovery from right shoulder exploratory surgery
Josh Tomlin (P) – 10-day disabled list (7/10) – right hamstring strain
New York (AL):
Jacoby Ellsbury (OF) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – right oblique; right plantar fasciitis; left hip soreness; back soreness
Ben Heller (RP) – 60-day disabled list (3/27) – recovery from April 2018 TommyJohn surgery
Jordan Montgomery (SP) – 60-day disabled list (5/2) – recovery from June 2018 TommyJohn surgery
Gary Sanchez (C) – 10-day disabled list (6/25) – Grade 1 right groin strain
Gleyber Torres (2B) – 10-day disabled list (7/5) – right hip strain
YANKEES NEWS AND NOTES
Four of the Yankees’ 154 home runs this season came off of Indians pitching back in May. The injured Torres hit a pair, Sanchez hit a solo shot, and Aaron Judge launched a home run of his own.
Judge was big hit or miss against the Indians in that earlier set. In his three starts, he went 3-for-11 (.273) at the plate with two walks, two doubles, a homer, and four RBI. He also struck out five times, the most on the club. On the year, he has hit 18 doubles and 25 homers and driven in 60 runs, with the latter two marks both the top numbers on the club in his 89 games of action. He is also the Yankees’ qualified leader in all three triple slash categories, posting a .281/.399/.558 mark for the season.
Fellow long ball threat Giancarlo Stanton had a tough series against the Indians earlier this season, going 1-for-8 (.125) with a double, two walks, and four strikeouts in ten plate appearances. Like Judge, he has been big in the extra base hit category as would be expected, hitting 18 doubles and 22 homers while driving in 54 runs. He and Judge have both struck out 125 times on the season.
Didi Gregorius, who killed the Tribe in the ALDS a year ago, struggled against Cleveland in his first games against them this season. He played in just two of the games and went 0-for-8 at the plate with one intentional walk. Gregorius was one of the most productive players in the game to open the season after hitting .330 in April with ten homers and 30 RBI, but he cooled off with a disastrous May, when he slashed .149/.184/.213 in 22 games. After his power-packed April, he has just five homers and 18 RBI over 58 games.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
The three-time All-Star Michael Brantley leads the Indians with a .307 average on the year. He reached the 100-hit mark with his last tally and is among the team leaders in doubles with 24 and RBI with 52. He has struck out just 31 times this season in 80 games. His damage at the plate did not come against the Yankees this season – he went 0-for-7 with a walk and four strikeouts in his two May games against them.
Lindor performed well against New York, going 4-for-12 in the series with two doubles, a homer, and a pair of RBI. Like Brantley, he is now a three-time All-Star after earning his third consecutive nomination at shortstop for the AL. He is second on the Indians among qualified hitters with a .295 average this year and is second in on-base percentage (.370) and slugging (.571). He is second on the club in homers (25) and RBI (62) and leads the team in doubles with 28 and all of baseball in runs scored with 82.
When Lindor knocked in his 25th homer of the year in Wednesday’s rout of the Reds, it marked the eleventh time this season that he had hit a homer in the same game as All-Star teammate Jose Ramirez, who was voted the starting third baseman for the AL squad for the second straight season. Ramirez has a .293/.392/.609 slash, leading the team in the latter two numbers, and is second in the Majors in homers with 27 on the year. He is the team leader with 65 RBI, 54 walks, and 19 stolen bases, and his 26 doubles are second on the Tribe. He was 4-for-11 (.364) against the Yankees with two doubles, a homer, and two RBI in his three May games against them.
TAKING A BREAK
With the unofficial first half of the season over, the Indians will take a break, with the exception of five players who will travel to Washington, DC, for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
The Indians will open the second half of the season on the road for just three games in Texas against the Rangers before a short three-game homestand with the Pittsburgh Pirates. They will close out July on the road in Detroit and Minnesota. The Yankees will start the back half of the schedule with three home games against the Mets before a brief three-game road trip to Tampa to face the Rays, then will return home for a longer homestand to close out the month.
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images