The Seattle Mariners continue their cross-country tour with their lone stop to the shores of Lake Erie this weekend as they take on the Cleveland Indians in a four-game set.
The Mariners (20-21) pulled into second place in the American League West after a series win over the New York Yankees. They have won or split each of their last six series (five wins, one split). They still trail the division-leading Texas Rangers by seven games.
The Indians (22-17) got a much needed day off on Thursday, their last of the month, but were still able to move back into a first place tie in the AL Central, courtesy of a Detroit loss to Texas. During a 14-games-in-13-days span, the Indians were 10-4. They now begin a stretch of 20 straight games before their next day off.
Sometimes good is not quite good enough.
That was the case for the Indians’ Scott Kazmir, who pitched into a couple mistakes he could not recover from. Meanwhile, the Tribe’s offense was stymied for the third straight game, resulting in an Indians 6-2 loss to the Philadelpha Phillies Tuesday night.
The Cleveland Indians make the rare trip to Citizens Bank Park as they conclude their short interleague season series with the Philadelphia Phillies this week. The Indians were swept in June of 2010 in the team’s only ever trip to Philadelphia to play the Phillies.
The Indians (21-16) remain one of the hottest teams in baseball. After beating up on one of the best in the West in the Oakland Athletics during the week, they took two of three from the Tigers in Detroit and split a doubleheader with the AL East-leading New York Yankees. They have won 13 of their last 16 games, including two against Philadelphia during this span. They are 6-0 in one-run games during this stretch and 10-3 on the season. They are a perfect 3-0 in extra inning games.
The Phillies (18-21) have played at both ends of the spectrum this season. They have won no more than three games in a row this season and have lost as many as four in a row once. In day games, they are batting a National League-best .281; in night games, they are hitting .232, third-worst in all of baseball. Despite the slower start than they may have expected, they have pulled within four games of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Plenty has changed for the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians since the two teams were rained out of half of their series in early April to open the home season at Progressive Field. They return to Cleveland Monday to squeeze in a traditional doubleheader as their respective division leaders.
The Yankees (23-13) have won five straight games and have sole possession of the AL East by one full game. They came to Cleveland the first time at 2-4 and scuffling. They left town after pummeling the Indians pitching staff for 25 runs in two games before Mother Nature called mercy on the home town crowd.
The Indians (20-15) return home for a one-day layover after taking two of three from the division-leading Detroit Tigers and pulling into a tie for the top spot in the AL Central. They have won four consecutive series after splitting four with the Royals and a pair with the White Sox. The offense has come to life since they scored seven runs against the Yankees in their two defeats to them over a month ago.
Eyes will be on the Motor City this weekend for a key American League Central matchup between the Tigers of Detroit and the Indians of Cleveland. The series will pair up the number one and two run differential teams in the AL.
The Indians (18-14) have quietly become baseball’s hottest team. After ending their six-game winning streak on Sunday, they immediately ripped off a four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, by no means an easy task. Respect is starting to slowly pour in nationally, as Cleveland jumped ten spots in Sports Illustrated’s MLB Power Rankings to third, the largest move of the week for any of the 30 teams in the league. Leading all of baseball in slugging percentage (.475) and home runs (49) certainly has not hurt their cause.
After winning five straight and nine of ten, the Tigers (19-13) lost a pair of close games to the Washington Nationals after weather claimed the opener of the series. They enter play against the Indians this weekend with the league’s best team batting average and on-base percentage and have two of the league’s top six hitters in Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter. They have the best team ERA amongst starting pitchers in the AL at 3.17.
In a game that early on looked to mirror last night with a pitching dual, both offenses came alive to quickly change the style of the game, with home runs for the Indians and a certain hit that was just short for the Athletics. The Indians were able to pull out a 4-3 victory in a very controversial game.
A.J. Griffin gave the Indians a chance to take the lead early in the bottom of the third inning when he gave up a one out single to Drew Stubbs. Michael Brantley was able to move him up to second on a fielders choice. During the next at bat he advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jason Kipnis was able to work the count full until he struck out swinging on a pitch drifting out of the zone for strike three to leave him stranded.
If the Indians scored any more runs two at a time, they would have needed an ark on Tuesday night.
The Indians touched up Roy Halladay for three home runs and eight runs on their way to hanging seven home runs on the Phillies in a decidingly 14-2 victory at Progressive Field. Zach McAllister controlled the Phillies bats for seven strong innings, carding the Tribe’s third straight quality start.
Cleveland struck in the first inning for the third straight game. With one out in the inning, Jason Kipnis singled to center field and promptly stole second base. Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out to first base, moving Kipnis to third before Carlos Santana hit a mammoth home run that just hooked around the right field foul pole. The two run blast was Santana’s fifth homer of the young season, making the score 2-0 Tribe.
Just when you think you know what to expect from Ubaldo Jimenez, he zigs when everyone expects a zag.
After nearly a month of early season struggles and inconsistencies Jimenez pitched one of his best games as a Cleveland Indian, flirting early with a perfect game before shutting out the Kansas City Royals for seven innings. Ryan Raburn and Michael Brantley helped provide all the necessary offense to give the Indians a dominating 9-0 victory to end their four game series.
Cleveland jumped on top early in the top of the first inning when Jason Kipnis hit a solo home run to center field to give the Tribe an early 1-0 lead. It was Kipnis’ first home run of the season.
Ervin Santana continued his hot start to the season, quieting the Indians offense and striking out five on the way to a 3-2 final at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Saturday night.
The Royals started the scoring on the evening in the bottom of the second. Outfielder Jeff Francoeur drew a leadoff walk after falling behind in the count early, 1-2, against Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir. Salvador Perez made Kazmir pay, driving a fastball down the right field line for a two-run home run.
It was the first of the year for Perez and the third homer allowed by the Indians starter.
The first place Kansas City Royals, fresh off of a split in Detroit to end an eight-game road trip, welcome the Cleveland Indians to Kauffman Stadium for a four-game wraparound series this weekend.
The Indians are on the final leg of a road trip that featured ten scheduled games in eleven days. Cleveland fell to 6-5 on the road on the season after losing their series finale against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday afternoon.
The Indians are the last of the AL Central foes to face off against the Royals this season. Kansas City returns home for their longest home stand of the season, playing ten straight games in their friendly confines. They will play another ten-game home series in August. They are 4-2 at home this year.
On Friday night the Cleveland Indians begin a three game road set against the Kansas City Royals. The Royals have come on strong to start the season, leading the American League Central Division through the first 18 games of the season. The Indians are coming off a two game split with the White Sox and could use a boost against division rival Royals to help the Tribe climb the ranks in the Central Division.
One matchup that could be particularly intriguing is the battle between Royals Friday night starter Ervin Santana and Indians outfielder Michael Brantley. Going back to the beginning of the 2011 season, Brantley has notched 15 plate appearances against Santana with a home run and a .357 batting average. Add to that Brantley’s .285 career batting average against right-handed pitching and this could be his chance to start a hot streak at the plate.
For 13 innings, White Sox starter Jose Quintana was an enigma the Indians batters could not figure out. When the two teams played on Apr. 12, Quintana shut the Tribe out for eight innings before his bullpen allowed a 1-0 defeat.
Quintana was again masterful through the first five frames of Wednesday afternoon’s game. Cleveland finally got to him for a pair of runs in the sixth. However, this time, the Indians could not figure out Chicago’s relievers. The Sox bullpen shout out the Tribe for four innings as Cleveland fell at U.S. Cellular Field, 3-2. The AL Central Division rivals split the rain-shortened, two-game series.
The Indians, who dropped to 8-11, fell behind early and never could quite catch up despite having several scoring opportunities.