Series Preview #39: Cleveland Indians (55-64) at New York Yankees (67-52)

The Cleveland Indians move down the Atlantic seaboard for their first and only trip to the Bronx this season as they take on the New York Yankees in a four-game series to wrap up their quick head-to-head matchup with the American League East’s top club this season.

The Indians (55-64) have had a reversal of fortunes over the last few series, winning the opening game in all three. That has failed to change the final outcome of each series, however, as the Indians have lost each of the last two sets. Their only series win out of those three matchups was against the same Yankees they take on to wrap up this week.

After putting up just eight runs in a series loss to the Minnesota Twins last weekend, the Indians went into Fenway Park and made some noise, scoring eight runs in an 8-2 win on Monday. The rest of the series was hardly as favorable, as they dropped a 9-1 loss on Tuesday as Trevor Bauer was tagged for five runs on six hits and could not make it out of the second. Corey Kluber suffered a similar fate on Wednesday, allowing six runs in six innings, including four home runs, in a 6-4 loss to end the second leg of the Tribe’s lengthy road trip.

New York (67-52) has played like a new team after they last played against Cleveland. The top team in the East has won three straight and six of their last seven, beginning with the final game of their series against the Indians a little over a week ago. They have done so against teams contending in the Wild Card picture in the least, taking two of three against the hard-charging Toronto Blue Jays, then by sweeping the Twins, who have fallen below the .500 mark.


Thursday, 8/20, 7:05 PM ET – RHP Josh Tomlin (0-1, 2.84 ERA) vs. RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.57)

Tomlin will make his second start of the season after allowing two runs on five hits over six and one-third innings in a loss to the Twins. He has not made a start at Yankee Stadium since 2012 and is 0-2 in three games there in his career. Nova will make his first start of the season against the Indians and just the second of his career. He earned a win in seven innings of work back in 2011. He is coming off of a win in Toronto where he allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings.

Friday, 8/20, 7:05 PM ET – RHP Carlos Carrasco (11-9, 3.63) vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (9-5, 3.56)

Carrasco, one of the best on the Tribe staff on the road this season with a 7-3 record and 2.49 ERA in a dozen games, is 2-0 in two starts at Yankee Stadium in his career and has yet to yield a run in 12 innings of work there. He is 3-2 overall against the Yankees in his career. Tanaka is 2-1 in the month of August and has allowed just six earned runs over his first 21 innings this month. He earned a complete game win his last time out against the Blue Jays, limiting them to one run on five hits while striking out eight.

Saturday, 8/20, 1:05 PM ET – RHP Danny Salazar (11-6, 3.16) vs. RHP Luis Severino (0-2, 3.18)

This game will mark the first career start for Salazar at Yankee Stadium. He has faced New York once in his career, allowing one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in seven and one-third innings earlier this month. He is 6-4 on the road this season with a 3.17 ERA in 13 starts. The rookie Severino will make his fourth start and already his second against the Indians. He worked six innings in a no-decision on August 11th, allowing two runs on seven hits. He struck out a career-high nine batters in six innings in his last start.

Sunday, 8/20, 1:05 PM ET – RHP Trevor Bauer (9-10, 4.62) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (4-9, 5.24)

Bauer was hit hard in his last outing against the Yankees, giving up six runs on seven hits in three and one-third innings to drop his career record against New York to 1-3. He took the loss in his lone career start at Yankee Stadium, allowing five runs (three earned) on five hits in three and one-third innings. A loss earlier this month for Sabathia against the Indians dropped his record against them to 4-2 in his career. He has a 2.95 ERA lifetime in eight starts against his former club.


Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and YES will air all four games in the series. Saturday’s game will also air on the MLB Network. The affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network and WFAN 660/191.9 FM in New York will provide radio calls of all games in the set.


TEAM                    W-L        PCT.       GB          WCGB   STREAK
Kansas City         73-46     .613        –              –             W5
Minnesota          59-61     .492        14.5        4.0          L3
Detroit                 58-61     .487        15.0        4.5          W2
Chicago               55-63     .466        17.5        7.0          L3
Cleveland           55-64     .462        18.0        7.5          L2


The Indians came close to a sweep against the Yankees when they visited Progressive Field earlier this month, falling two runs short in a comeback attempt in the final game of the series. Since then, the Yankees have rebounded and played much better baseball, winning five of six.

Despite taking two of three earlier, the Indians still trail the Yankees by plenty in the all-time series between the two clubs. The Yankees hold a 1,090-857 advantage, including a 591-382 mark when playing in New York.

The Indians ended a seven-game losing streak in New York last season by winning the final two games of the road series with the Yankees during the second week of August.


Cody Anderson (SP) – 15-day disabled list (August 8) – left oblique strain
Gavin Floyd (SP) – 60-day disabled list (April 5) – recovery from March 2015 right elbow surgery
Nick Hagadone (RP) – 60-day disabled list (July 8) – recovery from July 2015 left elbow surgery
Chris Johnson (UTL) – 15-day disabled list (August 15) – left hand infection
Jason Kipnis (2B) – activated from 15-day disabled list (August 18)

New York (AL):
Dustin Ackley (OF) – 15-day disabled list (August 3) – right lumbar strain
Bryan Mitchell (P) – 7-day disabled list (August 18) – concussion and nasal fracture from line drive
Diego Moreno (RP) – 15-day disabled list (August 2) – right elbow inflammation
Michael Pineda (SP) – 15-day disabled list (July 25) – right flexor forearm muscle strain
Sergio Santos (RP) – 60-day disabled list (June 22) – recovery from June 2015 Tommy John surgery
Mark Teixeira (1B) – day-to-day – right leg contusion, missed last two games
Chase Whitley (SP) – 60-day disabled list (May 20) – recovery from May 2015 Tommy John surgery
Mason Williams (OF) – 60-day disabled list (July 11) – right shoulder surgery


Michael Brantley is the Major League leader in doubles this season with 37. He has hit 13 since the All-Star break. He is hitting .317 on the season, fifth-best in the league, including a .390 mark since the break.

Jason Kipnis (.321) remains at the top of the AL batting title race despite missing two weeks of action. He enters play on Thursday three points behind Texas’s Prince Fielder for the top spot in the league amongst qualified hitters.

All-Star teammate of Kipnis, New York first baseman Teixeira, has maintained his comeback season at the plate for the Yankees. He is the team leader in homers (31) and RBI (79) and is tied for third in doubles (22).

Yankees reliever Dellin Betances is in rare company for relievers, as he has topped the 100 strikeout mark for the second straight season, becoming the first Yankees reliever to do so. He reached the plateau this season in just 64 innings pitched and is the first bullpen arm to do so this season. Aroldis Chapman (Cincinnati) is second on the relief strikeout list with 89; third on the list is Cleveland’s Cody Allen with 72.


The Yankees may always hold a special place in Tomlin’s heart, something that a lot of people associated with the Cleveland Indians and their fan base probably cannot typically say.

Tomlin broke into the Bigs on July 27th, 2010, and had the unenviable task of matching up against longtime Indians ace Sabathia. He went toe-to-toe, pitch-for-pitch, against the former Tribe lefty and got the better of him on the day, lasting into the eighth inning in a 4-1 victory.

Juan Miranda, who started at first base for New York that day, was Tomlin’s first strikeout victim to lead off the third inning. He got his second when he sat down Brett Gardner for the final out of the inning two batters later. His first hit allowed came to lead off the fourth, when Derek Jeter singled through the left side of the infield, but the future Hall of Fame shortstop was erased on a stolen base attempt to end the inning. The Indians scored two in the fourth and another two in the sixth, as Matt LaPorta, one of the key pieces Cleveland got in return for Sabathia in their trade with Milwaukee, knocked in two of the runs.

Tomlin would allow just three hits on the day, including a double by Nick Swisher with one out in the seventh and a double by Robinson Cano to lead off the eighth and end his night. He would be charged with an earned run as Joe Smith allowed Cano to score on a groundout by former Indians outfielder Chad Curtis. Chris Perez earned an edge-of-your-seat save, letting the first two runners on with base hits to bring the tying run to the plate in the forms of Swisher, Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez, but he worked out of it for his tenth save of the season.


The Indians will depart for Chicago following Sunday’s game for a makeup date with the Cubs at Wrigley Field before returning home to Cleveland. The Yankees will host the playoff-bound Houston Astros for three straight, starting Monday night.

Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

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