By Matt Van Wormer
As the first half of the season came to a close, the Indians were on a little down swing, losing their final three games to the Toronto Blue Jays. The break couldn’t have come at a better time as some pitchers needed to get some rest and get healthy. The Indians are 5-5 so far in the month of July and they could have been doing a lot better for the month if it weren’t for the three straight losses. They took 2 out of 3 from the Yankees and Reds before the Blue Jays came to town.
Sitting at 47-42, Baltimore could be just what the Indians need to start the 2nd half of the season on the right foot. Justin Masterson (7-6, 2.64 ERA) takes the mound against former wig-wammer, Jeremy Guthrie (3-12, 4.18 ERA) to start the series. If Justin can continue his dominance and the hitters can get him the same run support they did his last two starts, the Tribe should pull out the victory.
In game two of the series, Josh Tomlin (10-4, 3.81 ERA) will try to continue his unbelievable streak of going at least five innings in every single one of his starts. Baltimore will counter with Jake Arrieta (9-6, 4.90 ERA). This is another game the Indians should win and this series will tell us a lot about what to expect from the Erie Warriors in the second half.
Saturday, Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 4.28 ERA) takes on spot starter Alfredo Simon (1-2, 4.85 ERA) who normally works out of the bullpen. He has only started a few games this year but it looks like the Orioles are going to give him a chance to earn a spot in the rotation. The Indians need to take an opportunity like this and pounce on it.
In the series finale, Baltimore has not named a starter but the Indians have announced that Jeanmar Gomez (0-1, 4.91) is coming up from Triple A as Mitch Talbot has headed to the DL (maybe a good thing?) with lower back tightness. Gomez could be up for the foreseeable future and get a few good starts in and possibly earn a spot in the rotation for the rest of the year. After a short first outing, his last two starts for the Tribe were wins for the team although Gomez didn’t figure into the decision.
This series could be just what the Tribe needs to start strong in the second half. A series win, and especially a sweep, would definitely give the Indians a confidence boost that could carry them through the rest of the year. They are just a half game back from the Tigers right now and with Detroit hosting the White Sox, those two could beat up on each other quite a bit. The Indians need to take this opportunity seriously and get some hits, runs and wins.