The Cleveland Indians remembered this week how to win a series at home. They will look to make it two straight series this weekend as the Seattle Mariners make their way to Progressive Field for a three-game set.
The Indians (12-9) sit atop the AL Central once again heading into action this weekend. After winning the final two games of their series against the Houston Astros during the week, they held off the second place Chicago White Sox, who have pulled within a half-game of the Tribe with their current four-game winning streak. Their offense, which has at times seemed to not be producing, enters the weekend with the fourth-best average, third best slugging, and second best on-base percentage in the league.
The Mariners (10-13) will look to climb out of the cellar in the AL West. They are coming in riding a two-game winning streak after taking their final two in Detroit against the Tigers during the week to pull back within four and a half games of the first place Astros. Despite their sub-.500 record, the Mariners are the top scoring team in the league with 109 runs scored on the season. The losses come from the pitching staff, which has allowed a 4.58 ERA on the season through 23 games (second worst in the AL) and has given up 30 home runs, second to the Angels’ 35.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Friday, 4/28, 7:10 PM ET – LHP Ariel Miranda (1-2, 4.35 ERA) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-1, 1.65)
Miranda will make his fifth start of the season and the first of his career against the Indians. He lasted just three innings his last time out against Oakland, allowing four runs. The long ball has been a problem for him, as he has allowed five in 20 2/3 innings on the year, including two in that last start. Carrasco is coming off of his best start of the season to date after throwing eight shutout three-hit innings against the Chicago White Sox last weekend. He is 2-1 in his career against Seattle with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.
Saturday, 4/29, 4:10 PM ET – RHP Yovani Gallardo (1-2, 4.84) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (1-2, 4.37)
Gallardo allowed just one run in a win his last time out over Oakland, his first with the Mariners. Despite appearing in 274 career games, the 31-year-old right-hander has faced the Indians just once in his time in the Majors. That one start, coming back in 2009, had a little bit of everything as he worked five innings at Progressive Field, allowing two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts, but six walks, in the win. Salazar has racked up strikeouts at an impressive pace already this season. Through four starts, he leads the Majors with an average of 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He took the loss his last time out against the White Sox, giving up four runs on seven hits despite nine strikeouts in the defeat. Saturday will mark the third career start for Salazar against the Mariners (0-1, 3.65 ERA, 1.14 WHIP).
Sunday, 4/30, 1:10 PM ET – RHP Chase De Jong (0-1, 5.79) vs. RHP Josh Tomlin (1-3, 9.33)
The rookie De Jong will make his third Major League appearance and first career start. The 23-year-old right-hander was a second round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2012 draft out of high school and is already with his third organization after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 and to Seattle on March 1 of this season. Tomlin survived the big early inning again to give the Indians six innings his last time out, but he still took the loss against the Astros. He has had plenty of success against the Mariners in his career, posting a 4-1 record in six starts with a 3.32 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP.
TV (all games) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; ROOTNW; MLB Network (4/30)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; ESPN 710 (Seattle)
Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – right elbow surgery
Steve Cishek (RP) – 10-day disabled list (3/31) – recovery from October 2016 left hip surgery
Mitch Haniger (OF) – 10-day disabled list (4/26) – strained right oblique
Felix Hernandez (SP) – 10-day disabled list (4/26) – right shoulder inflammation
Leonys Martin (OF) – outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma (4/27)
Shawn O’Malley (SS) – 10-day disabled list (3/31) – right shoulder tendinitis; appendectomy
Shae Simmons (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/31) – right flexor strain
Drew Smyly (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/4) – left flexor strain
Robert Whalen (P) – optioned to Triple-A Tacoma (4/27)
The Indians and Mariners met for the first time in 1977 and 394 games have transpired between the two clubs since. Cleveland has been victorious in 219 of those meetings, while Seattle has claimed 175. The Tribe holds winning records when playing both in Cleveland (112-84) and in Seattle (107-91) throughout their respective histories.
Last season, the Mariners won their road series in Cleveland and split at home at Safeco Field. The Indians won the first game of both series before dropping the next two. In the four-game set in Seattle in June, they won the finale to earn a split with the M’s.
It was a busy offseason for the Mariners, who saw Franklin Gutierrez, Chris Iannetta, Dae-ho Lee, Adam Lind, and Drew Storen depart via free agency, while Nori Aoki was claimed off of waivers by Houston and has become a contributor in their outfield. Pitcher Zach Lee was claimed by the San Diego Padres. Former closer Tom Wilhelmsen was released and later signed with Arizona.
They were busy on the trade market, sending reliever Vidal Nuno to Los Angeles for catcher Carlos Ruiz in early November. Later in the month, they acquired third baseman/outfielder Danny Valencia from Oakland, reliever James Pazos from the New York Yankees, and Taylor Motter and Richie Shaffer from Tampa Bay. They also made a swap of minor leaguers with the Atlanta Braves for Whalen. In December, they picked up former no-hit pitcher Chris Heston from San Francisco.
The most noteworthy trade of their offseason sent Ketel Marte and Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks. They received Zac Curtis, Jean Segura, and Haniger in exchange.
They did not stop there, sending pitcher Nate Karns to Kansas City for outfielder Jarrod Dyson and moving outfielder Seth Smith to Baltimore for Gallardo. They received Simmons and Mallex Smith in a trade for minor leaguers with Atlanta and flipped Smith and two others to Tampa for Smyly.
If there are two bats to use caution with in the Mariners lineup, it would be the dynamic duo of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz (not to take anything away from Kyle Seager).
Cruz is tied for the club lead in homers to start the season with five and is leading the team with 19 runs batted in and 14 walks. He is also second on the M’s with six doubles. For the season, he has a .305/.400/.561 slash.
Cano, like Cruz, has appeared in 23 games for Seattle this season. His average is only .253, but he has five doubles, three homers, 15 RBI, and is third on the team in hits on the year.
DARE TO RUN ON YAN AND BOB?
The Mariners lead the American League with 21 stolen bases and have been caught in just 16% of their attempts on the year.
The Indians catching tandem of Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez have thrown out nine of 17 would-be base stealers this season (52.9%). The only other team in baseball to throw out more base stealers is the Los Angeles Angels, who have thrown out 10 of 18 (55.6%).
The Indians will benefit from the injury to Hernandez, who will miss his scheduled start Sunday. They will also avoid the hot start of Haniger, who had appeared in 21 games for the Mariners to start the season and was hitting .338 with a .442 on-base percentage and .600 slugging at the time of his injury. He was tied for fourth in the league in hits with 27, including seven doubles, a triple, and four home runs.
COOKING AT HOME
Jose Ramirez continues to just hit, hit, hit.
The utility man, back over at third base after the return of Jason Kipnis from the disabled list last weekend, is hitting .342 over 21 games this season with a .400 on-base percentage and a .595 slugging mark. His production includes 17 singles, five doubles, five homers, and a team-leading 18 runs driven in.
While the Indians have struggled at times at home this season, Ramirez has not. He leads all regulars in the American League with a .531 average at home with 17 hits in 32 at bats this season, including four of his doubles and two of his homers. Half of his RBI has come at Progressive Field.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
Segura’s season was slowed by a trip to the disabled list, but it has not slowed down his production. He is hitting .354 in eleven games this season (all on the road) with a double, two homers, and eight RBI. He is 1-for-2 in his career against Salazar with a homer and two RBI.
Cano has fared well against several of the Tribe starters in the series. In 15 plate appearances against Carrasco, he is 6-for-14 (.429) with two doubles, a homer, and four RBI. He is 4-for-8 in his career against Tomlin with two homers and four runs batted in.
Seager has two hits (one homer) in six at bats against Carrasco and three hits in nine at bats against Tomlin.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Indians will return to the road again as the calendar flips to May. They will open the first ten games of the month away from Cleveland, beginning with four in Detroit starting Monday night. The Mariners will take Monday off as they make their cross-country flight to the Pacific Northwest before starting a three-game series with the Angels on Tuesday.
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