For the first time since 2004, a reigning National League championship club will make an appearance at Progressive Field as the New York Mets come to Cleveland to take on the Indians in a three-game weekend set.
The last time the Indians faced the reigning NL champs in the regular season was in a three-year stretch from 2010 to 2012 when they went on the road to face Philadelphia, San Francisco, and St. Louis, respectively. They last hosted the senior circuit kings in 2004, when the Tribe dropped two of three to the 2003 World Series winners, the Florida Marlins, from June 8 to June 10.
The Mets (3-5) are off to a tough start in their pennant defense. After splitting a pair in a World Series rematch in Kansas City with the Royals, they dropped two of three to division rivals Philadelphia and Miami. In the latter series, they were outscored 13-6 by the Marlins. This will be their second Interleague series of the year.
The Indians (4-3) have FINALLY played three consecutive games after weather woes obliterated their early season schedule. After splitting an abbreviated three-game series in Chicago with the White Sox, they wrapped up their road trip in the domed conditions in St. Petersburg, taking two of three from the Rays behind some impressive pitching performances. Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar each earned wins as they combined with the bullpen to allow just one run and ten hits over the final two games.
PITCHING PROBABLES and GAME NOTES
Friday, 4/15, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Bartolo Colon (0-1, 1.23 ERA) vs. RHP Cody Anderson (0-0, 3.00)
Saturday, 4/16, 4:10 PM ET – RHP Matt Harvey (0-2, 4.63) vs. RHP Josh Tomlin (7-2, 3.02 ERA in 2015)
Sunday, 4/17, 1:10 PM ET – LHP Steven Matz (0-1, 37.80) vs. Corey Kluber (0-2, 4.85)
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all games); SNY (Friday, Sunday); WPIX (Saturday)
Radio – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 710 WOR
In one of those strange glitches in the Interleague scheduling, the Mets and Indians have played the bulk of their games in Cleveland dating back to the start of their head-to-head series in 2002. This weekend will be the fourth three-game set in Cleveland, while the Indians have visited the Mets’ home for just one series in 2004 and have yet to play at Citi Field.
The Mets have dominated the all-time series between the two clubs, winning three of four series while posting an 8-4 record. The Indians did get the better of the Mets the last time the two teams met in 2013, when they took two of three (including wins from Scott Kazmir and Kluber).
Michael Brantley (LF) – 15-day disabled list (retroactive to March 25) – recovery from right shoulder surgery; on rehab assignment in Akron
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – 15-day disabled list (retroactive to March 28) – left wrist impingement; on rehab assignment in Akron
Tommy Hunter (RP) – 15-day disabled list (April 4) – recovery from offseason core muscle surgery; on rehab assignment in Akron
New York (NL):
Eric Campbell (3B) – optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas (April 13)
Josh Edgin (RP) – 15-day disabled list (March 25) – recovery from March 2015 Tommy John surgery
Rafael Montero (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas (April 13)
Zack Wheeler (SP) – 15-day disabled list (March 25) – recovery from March 2015 Tommy John surgery
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
The 42-year-old Colon will make his first appearance in Cleveland since 2013, when he allowed six runs on eight hits in four innings in a loss. Before that, he had not pitched in the city since 2005.
New Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will make his second trip back to Cleveland since being dealt by the Indians to the Washington Nationals at the 2014 trade deadline. The 30-year-old Venezuelan infielder returned to Progressive Field for three games with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, going 3-for-11 (.273) with a solo homer in the series. He leads the Mets with a .286 average through their first eight games.
The Mets come to Cleveland hitting a Major League-worst .194 on the season. They have just two homers on the season, lowest in the MLB, and their 19 RBI are the fewest in the National League.
In addition to offseason signee Cabrera, the Mets returned Yoenis Cespedes, signed free agent and Indians-killing outfielder Alejandro “Pain in” De Aza, and acquired Neil Walker from the Pittsburgh Pirates through a winter trade. Cespedes and Walker are responsible for both of the home runs hit this season by the Mets.
PLAYING TIME FOR THE ROOK
Tyler Naquin may have earned himself some more playing time with a three-hit effort and an RBI in the Indians’ 6-0 win over the Rays in the series finale on Thursday afternoon. After sitting regularly in the first week and a half of the season as Cleveland faced five left-handers in their first six contests, he got the start against right-hander Chris Archer. The Mets are scheduled to throw a pair of righties to start the weekend series.
TWICE THE FUN FOR LINDOR
Tribe shortstop Francisco Lindor has hit safely in five of the team’s first seven games. Four of those five games with hits have been two-hit efforts, including a pair of singles in Thursday’s win.
When Tomlin toes the rubber in Saturday afternoon’s game, he will become the final member of the Indians Opening Day roster to appear in a game this season. Backup catcher Roberto Perez made his season debut in Thursday’s win.
The Indians will get another day off on Monday as they have yet to play a game on the first day of the work week this season after the Home Opener was erased from the schedule. They will host a pair of 6:10 PM ET first pitches against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday and Wednesday before a 12:10 PM ET getaway day start on Thursday. The Mets will continue their road trip with a three-game stop in Philly against the Phillies.
Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig