The Cleveland Indians will look to continue the strong start to their homestand as they host the Miami Marlins for three games this weekend at Progressive Field.
The Indians (76-56) climbed back to 20 wins over the .500 mark by sweeping the Minnesota Twins earlier in the week. The Twins had been a thorn in the side of the Tribe all season long, so it may have been a loud statement by the Indians that they were done struggling against the worst team in the American League. Cleveland has been successful in interleague play this season, posting a 10-7 record (.588) while outscoring the opposition 96-67. In other battles against the National League East this season, the Indians swept the Atlanta Braves, were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies, dropped two of three to the New York Mets, and split with the Washington Nationals.
The Marlins (68-66) dropped three of four to the Mets during the week, but avoided the sweep on Thursday with a 6-4 win. Before the victory, the Marlins were marred in a five-game tailspin, but the win pulled Miami within a game of the Mets in the NL Wild Card picture, but the Marlins remain three games in back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second spot in the Wild Card picture. They trail the Nationals by ten and a half games in the NL East race.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Friday, 9/2, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Andrew Cashner (4-10, 4.73 ERA) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (9-7, 3.23)
Cashner is winless in six starts since his trade from the San Diego Padres to the Marlins at the end of July. He has not won a start since defeating San Francisco on July 15. Carrasco will make his first Major League start against the Marlins on Friday night, becoming the 23rd different team that he has faced in his career. In 13 career interleague games, Carrasco is 4-4 with a 3.34 ERA in nine starts with a 0.92 WHIP. He is 0-1 this season, allowing three runs on three hits in six innings of work.
Saturday, 9/3, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Jose Fernandez (13-7, 2.79) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (9-6, 3.73)
Saturday’s matchup will pair two of the top pitchers selected in the first round of the 2011 draft. The 24-year-old two-time NL All-Star Fernandez remains the ace of the Miami rotation and has looked strong most of the season in his first full campaign after May 2014 Tommy John surgery. His 219 strikeouts are second in the NL. Bauer will look to end a string of three straight winless starts, despite allowing just five earned runs in 20 2/3 innings in those outings. It will be Bauer’s first career start against the Marlins.
Sunday, 9/4, 4:10 PM ET – RHP Tom Koehler (9-10, 4.02) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (11-6, 3.88)
The 30-year-old Koehler is coming off of a rough outing against the Mets on Tuesday, when he allowed five runs on ten hits in five innings of work in the loss. In the final year of his contract, he will face the Indians for the first time in his career. He is 6-7 in 17 career interleague starts with a 4.78 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. Salazar looks to build off of a much better effort his last time out. Like the rest of his rotation mates for the series, he has never pitched against the Marlins. He is 2-5 in his career in interleague play, but both of those wins have come in four such starts this season with a 2.49 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP.
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Cody Anderson (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (September 1)
Michael Brantley (LF) – out for season (May 10) – recovery from right biceps surgery
Joseph Colon (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (September 1)
Collin Cowgill (OF) – designated for assignment from Columbus (September 1)
Coco Crisp (OF) – acquired via trade from the Oakland Athletics (August 31)
Yan Gomes (C) – 60-day disabled list (July 17) – separated right shoulder; on rehab assignment
Erik Gonzalez (UTL) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (September 1)
Adam Moore (C) – contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus (September 1)
Danny Salazar (SP) – activated from paternity list (September 1)
Justin Bour (1B) – 60-day disabled list (July 3) – right ankle sprain
Andrew Cashner (SP) – day-to-day – blister on right hand, expected to start 9/2
Wei-Yin Chen (SP) – 15-day disabled list (July 21) – left elbow strain
Adam Conley (P) – 15-day disabled list (August 14) – left middle finger tendinitis
Derek Dietrich (3B) – 15-day disabled list (August 19) – right knee contusion; on rehab assignment
Brian Ellington (RP) – recalled from Triple-A New Orleans (September 1)
Jake Esch (P) – recalled from Triple-A New Orleans (August 31)
Destin Hood (OF) – contract purchased from Triple-A New Orleans (September 1)
Raudel Lazo (RP) – designated for assignment (September 1)
Bryan Morris (P) – 60-day disabled list (May 25) – recovery from June 2016 back surgery; on rehab assigment
Nefi Ogando (RP) – recalled from Triple-A New Orleans (September 1)
Marcell Ozuna (CF) – day-to-day – left wrist soreness
David Phelps (P) – 15-day disabled list (August 27) – left oblique strain
Giancarlo Stanton (RF) – 15-day disabled list (August 14) – right groin strain
Tomas Telis (C) – recalled from Triple-A New Orleans (September 1)
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
The Marlins lead the all-time series between the two clubs, 9-6. They are 4-2 at home against the Indians and 5-4 at Progressive Field.
The two teams last played in 2013, when the Indians traveled to Miami for three against the Marlins and won each of the final two games of the series after Fernandez ousted Ubaldo Jimenez and the Tribe, 10-0, in the opener.
The Marlins acquired veteran outfielder Jeff Francoeur from the Atlanta Braves on August 24 with cash as part of a three-team trade with the Texas Rangers. The 32-year-old and one-time Indians spring training invitee in 2014 has hit well with Miami since jumping into a playoff race, slashing .368/.429/.526 in eight games with the Marlins with a double, triple, one RBI, and three runs scored.
YELICH’S BREAKOUT YEAR
Christian Yelich, in his fourth season in the Majors, has put up career numbers in most offensive categories for the Marlins.
In 128 games, he has hit .310 with a .386 on-base percentage. He leads the club with 33 doubles and 83 RBI and is third with his 18 homers.
THIRD IS PRADO’S BAG
Thirty-two-year-old veteran Martin Prado has put together a solid season for the Marlins while manning the third base spot all season long. After spending his career bouncing all around the field as a utility man, he has made 122 starts at the hot corner this season and given the lineup a punch with his bat. He is hitting .317 on the season with a .372 on-base percentage, hitting 30 doubles, three triples, seven homers, and 61 RBI.
OZUNA INJURED AND SLUMPING
All-Star outfielder Ozuna saved a run with his diving catch against the Mets on Wednesday, but hurt his left wrist in the process. He is day-to-day with the injury.
He was having a breakout type of a season for the first four months of the campaign, but his numbers have dipped drastically in the second half. Hitting .307 with a .360 OBP and .533 slugging percentage at the All-Star break with 12 doubles, five triples, 17 homers, and 47 RBI, he has slashed just .194/.247/.345 since the break in 44 games with ten doubles, five homers, and 20 RBI.
The second half mark includes a .162 average in 28 August games.
GOMES ON ASSIGNMENT
With the minor league season quickly winding down, the Indians have sent injured catcher Gomes to Double-A Akron for a pair of rehab appearances. Looking to return from a separated right shoulder, Gomes was transferred to the 60-day disabled list during the week and is not eligible to be activated until September 16.
SANTANA REACHES NEW HIGHS
Carlos Santana set a new career-best when he slugged his 28th homer of the season against the Twins during the week. The homer was also a record breaker, as he extended his record for most home runs in a season by a switch-hitter in Indians history.
POST ALL-STAR BREAK SUCCESS
Among all American Leaguers to register 150 at bats or more in the second half of the season, Jose Ramirez (.329) and Francisco Lindor (.328) rank sixth and seventh respectively in the league in hitting. Lindor has 58 hits in the second half, fifth in the league, and his total includes 48 singles. Ramirez has 55 hits, seventh-most in the league, in ten fewer at bats than Lindor.
The second half results are actually similar enough to their first half numbers, as Lindor ranks sixth in the AL with a .313 average for the season, while Ramirez is ninth with a .308 average.
The Indians are tied with the Kansas City Royals for the AL lead in stolen bases in the second half with 39. A pair of Indians (Ramirez and Rajai Davis) are tied with ten, the second-most bases picked off since the break.
Miami catchers have thrown out 30 of 90 attempted base stealers this season (33.3% caught stealing percentage), 12th in all of baseball and fifth in the NL. The Indians, by comparison, have thrown out 35.5% (22-for-62), sixth-best in baseball and fourth in the AL.
The Indians will welcome the Houston Astros to town on Monday for four straight from Progressive Field. The Marlins will return home to host the Philadelphia Phillies on Labor Day.
Photo: Rich Schultz/Getty Images