Indians and Mariners Conclude Season Series in Cleveland
Bob Toth | On 03, May 2019
Early season pressures are beginning to mount for the Indians as they come home to Cleveland to host the Seattle Mariners in the final three meetings between the two clubs this season.
Things are only getting harder for the Indians (16-13), which will need to figure out how to function without two talented starting pitchers missing from the rotation. The Indians return to Progressive Field for a seven-game homestand after splitting their last road trip with three wins and three losses. Cleveland has split its last three series and has not won a series outright since sweeping their three-game set in Seattle in the middle of April. The offensive woes of the club have not improved as the month of April progressed, and after a game in May, the club still ranks last in the league in hits, batting average, slugging, OPS, doubles, and triples, and is the second-worst team in runs scored, on-base percentage, and homers.
After getting off to a hot start to the season, the Mariners (18-15) have gone just 5-13 in their last 18 games, with four sweeps in that time frame. They have lost four straight and went 2-4 on their homestand against the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs, losing the final two of their four-game set against the Rangers before being swept in a two-gamer with the Cubs. The Mariners’ early schedule was on the soft side, as just ten of their first 33 games have come against teams with a winning record. Their problem is clear in the standings – they are 0-10 against teams with records above .500. They enter the series a half game in back of Houston atop the AL West.
PITCHING PROBABLES AND NOTES:
[EDITOR’S NOTE: After the publication of this story, the Cleveland Indians announced a change to their pitching probables for the series, reflected above and below. – BT]
The three Mariners starters will pitch in the same order as that last matchup between the two clubs, while both Bieber and Carrasco will take their second stabs at the Mariners. Trevor Bauer, who was originally scheduled to start Sunday’s game, will be bumped back to Monday’s opener with Chicago to put a regular in between the two Columbus Clippers pitchers who will fill in for the injured Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); ROOTNW (all); MLB.tv (all)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 710 ESPN (Seattle)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES:
Gerson Bautista (P) – 10-day injured list (3/17) – Grade 1 right pectoral strain
Wade LeBlanc (P) – 10-day injured list (4/13) – Grade 2 right oblique strain
Kyle Seager (3B) – 60-day injured list (3/17) – recovery from March 2019 left hand surgery
Hunter Strickland (RP) – 60-day injured list (3/30) – right lat strain
Sam Tuivailala (P) – 10-day injured list (3/19) – recovery from August 2018 right Achilles tendon surgery; on rehab assignment
Mike Clevinger (SP) – 60-day injured list (4/9) – right upper back/Teres major muscle strain
Jon Edwards (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (5/3)
Corey Kluber (SP) – 10-day injured list (5/3) – non-displaced right ulna fracture
Danny Salazar (P) – 60-day injured list (3/24); right shoulder rehab
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – 10-day injured list (3/28); right shoulder rehab
The Mariners remain the top home run threat in all of baseball, coming into the series with 60 homers hit in 33 games on the year. They have not been a one-dimension club, however, as they are third in baseball with 61 doubles and second with 25 stolen bases in 30 attempts. They are prone to strike out, doing so an MLB-high 329 times in 1,309 plate appearances, but they will draw their share of walks as well, earning 137 free passes to lead the AL.
Seattle has had a balanced attack at the plate, with eight different players hitting five homers or more. RBI production has been balanced as well with nine different players already reaching double figures.
Jay Bruce, a possible trade candidate this year, has been all or nothing for the club. He has a .187/.272/.527 slash with 33 strikeouts in 103 plate appearances, but he leads the team with nine home runs.
Daniel Vogelbach and Edwin Encarnacion (another July trade piece) both have eight long balls to their credit, with Vogelbach doing so in 33 fewer plate appearances than his veteran counterpart. Both has drawn a team-high 20 walks on the season, with Vogelbach hitting .297 with a .448 on-base percentage and Encarnacion providing a .231 average and .372 OBP. It will be the first time that Encarnacion and his parrot return to his former Cleveland home since his offseason trade to the Mariners.
Domingo Santana has been a welcomed addition to the Mariners outfield. He is hitting .284 on the year with seven doubles, six homers, and a team-leading 30 runs batted in. He is also 4-for-4 stealing bases.
Dee Gordon leads the club with eight stolen bases in nine attempts and has gotten on base at a healthy pace this season, hitting .297 with a .325 OBP.
TRIBE BATS NEED TO WAKE UP
The Indians’ offseason decision to thin out money from the position player side of the roster has lead to a notable and stark decline in production at the plate.
Carlos Santana, the one player of significance added in the winter, has been the Tribe’s shining star on offense. The first baseman is hitting .323 on the year with a .432 on-base percentage. He leads the team in at bats, runs scored, hits, walks, and RBI. He is tied for the team lead in doubles and is second on the club in homers. Three of his four home runs on the season have come in the last three games.
Francisco Lindor missed the first series of the year between the two teams while on the 10-day injured list. While still kicking off some offseason rust, he is hitting .231 with a .262 OBP and a .462 slugging with three homers and six RBI.
When Jose Ramirez has been able to reach base, which remains an ongoing issue for the former MVP candidate, he has been able to make an impact on the game. He is third on the club with 13 runs scored and is a perfect 9-for-9 stealing bases.
Tyler Naquin and Roberto Perez have very quietly put together five-game hitting streaks. Naquin is hitting .500 in that stretch with six hits in 12 at bats and a pair of RBI. Perez is hitting .385 with five hits in 13 at bats, including a solo home run.
Leonys Martin leads the Indians with five home runs on the year. He has slumped a bit over the last week, hitting just .045 with one hit in 22 at bats and nine strikeouts.
SEND IN THE SOX
Cleveland will host the Chicago White Sox for their second series in town this year as the two teams begin a four-game series from Progressive Field on Monday night. Seattle will continue a difficult road trip in New York on Monday when it plays four with the Yankees before heading to Boston for three over the weekend with the Red Sox.
Photo: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images