Lemon Goes for 20, Doby Goes for 19

September 8, 1948

Tonight, the Cleveland Indians return home after a 14-day, 16-game road trip in which they went a disappointing 8-8 and dropped to third place, four and a half games out of first. It was a trip that started out so promising, as the Tribe took seven of the first eleven contests, and then ended with a thud when the team dropped three of the final four to the woeful St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox. The Indians will now play 21 of their final 24 contests at Cleveland Stadium and, needless to say…it’s good to be home.

The Tribe will kick off their long homestand by squaring off against the Detroit Tigers, the fifth place team in the American League. The Tigers currently sit 18 games out and will face baseball’s hottest pitcher and one of its hottest hitters on Wednesday.

The Indians will throw right-hander Bob Lemon (19-11, 2.59), who will be looking for his 20th victory of the season. Lemon has burst onto the scene this year, his first full campaign as a starting pitcher. He won his 19th game in game one of Friday’s doubleheader in St. Louis, as he shut out the Browns in a complete game effort. Lemon had only 15 career wins heading into this season.

Lemon’s shutout was his tenth of the season and his third in as many starts. On August 31, he also worked a scoreless ninth inning and earned his second save of the season in the process. In all, Lemon has been red hot, firing 28 consecutive scoreless frames. Lemon is approaching the American League record for most shutouts in a season, as three more would tie the mark of 13 set by Philadelphia’s Jack Coombs in 1910. The Major League record is 16, held by the great Grover Cleveland Alexander.

On the offensive side of things, Larry Doby has also been impressive lately. Doby has hit safely in 18 straight ball games, starting on August 22 against the White Sox. In that time, the outfielder has rapped 23 hits including four doubles, three triples and two home runs en route to a .324 batting average. Overall, Doby is batting .282 for the year.

Opposing Lemon tonight will be veteran Detroit starter Fred Hutchinson (11-8, 4.07). Hutchinson has won his last four decisions including a complete game victory over the White Sox on Friday. On Thursday, the series will continue in a matchup for the ages as Bob Feller (15-14, 4.06) will face off against Detroit’s Hal Newhouser (16-11, 3.40). The three-game set will then wrap up on Friday when Gene Bearden (13-7, 2.81) will get the ball for the Indians against Dizzy Trout (10-12, 3.10) for the Tigers. Upon completion of the series, the Indians will welcome the St. Louis Browns to the Stadium on Saturday.

Photo: Sporting News archives

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