Game #57: Cleveland Indians (30-26) at St. Louis Cardinals (30-28)

By Mike Brandyberry

Yesterday, the Indians fell behind early, and despite a late-inning effort, the Tribe suffered a 7-5 defeat to the Detroit Tigers. The Indians closed the gap to two runs in the seventh and left runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings, but could not plate any more.

This evening, the Indians will face a familiar friend in Jake Westbrook (4-5, 4.23 ERA). The Indians are the only team Westbrook has not faced in his major league career, because he played for the Tribe for eight and a half seasons. Westbrook was traded at the trade deadline in July 2010 to the Cardinals to help strengthen a contender and build a future for the Indians. He is 0-3, with an 8.28 ERA in his last five starts.

Meanwhile, the Tribe will counter with the closest replacement they have to Westbrook, in Josh Tomlin. Tomlin, like Westbrook, is not overpowering, throws strikes and competes to give his team a chance to win in each start. In his last start, a tough first inning was too much for the Tribe and he suffered a 7-4 defeat. Tomlin allowed four runs in the top of the first inning before the Indians could have a chance to hit.

Cleveland has no transactions heading in to interleague play. It was announced yesterday that Grady Sizemore has been slowed in his rehabilitation and should not be expected in the next couple weeks. Travis Hafner’s injury for the next four to six weeks gives the Indians a little more flexibility in interleague play. Every position player on the roster will be able to play the field and an extra platoon player will be available off the bench for late inning situations.

The Tribe took two of three to start their nine game road trip. The Indians will need to play National League-style baseball in the final six games against St. Louis and Cincinnati of the road trip to continue to stay in the Central Division race. The Indians are currently one and one-half games behind the Chicago White Sox. Game action can be found starting at 8:05 from St. Louis on the Indians Radio Network and SportsTime Ohio.

Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Johnny Damon, LF
7. Casey Kotchman, 1B
8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
9. Josh Tomlin, P

St. Louis Cardinals Starting Lineup
1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Carlos Beltran, RF
3. Matt Holliday, LF
4. Allen Craig, 1B
5. David Freese, 3B
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Daniel Descalso, 2B
8. Shane Robinson, CF
9. Jake Westbrook, P

Photo: Getty Images

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