Indians Look to Take Bite Out of Big Apple Against Yankees
Bob Toth | On 28, Aug 2017
After an impressive homestand, one that saw Cleveland go 5-2 at Progressive Field while firing three straight shutouts to wrap up the seven-game set, the Indians hit the road to begin an eleven-game road trip over the next eleven days. The first stop of their three-city tour is in the Big Apple, where the New York Yankees will host the Tribe for the next three days.
The Indians (73-56) rocked the Kansas City Royals over the weekend to increase their MLB-leading total to 15 shutouts on the year. They used a good balance of strong starting pitching, solid relief work, and a healthy display of power by the offense to generate the three wins while knocking the Royals back three more games in the division in the process. They head into their weekday series with the Yankees with a six and a half game lead over the Minnesota Twins, who are still hanging around on the outskirts of the AL Central race. Cleveland has caught and moved past the Boston Red Sox for the second-best record in the American League and would host the ALDS, if the postseason began today.
The Yankees (70-59) have split the season series thus far with the Indians, winning the final two games of the series in Cleveland after losing the first two. The matchup was even overall, with the Indians scoring 14 runs in the four games while the Yankees scored 13. New York has won each of its last two series, taking two of three from Seattle over the weekend. They won two of three in Detroit previously in a series marred by several benches-clearing fights in a 10-6 loss by the Yankees. A four-game losing skid by the first place Red Sox has allowed the Yankees to pull back within two and a half games of the division lead. They are the top Wild Card club coming into the series.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
The highlight of the series will be the opener on Monday night as a pair of AL All-Stars take the mound in Kluber and Severino. Kluber took a tough loss his last time out against Boston, allowing two runs on four hits over seven and two-thirds innings of work while striking out 12 Sox hitters. The loss ended a five-game winning streak for Kluber. He has still been impressive since the beginning of June, posting a 9-2 record with a 1.87 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP in 115 1/3 innings while striking out 167. He has worked at least eight innings in each of his last three starts against the Yankees, including nine in a complete game three-hitter his last time out against them, when he allowed a solo home run for the only damage on the night while striking out eleven.
Severino has been on fire in the second half of the season, going 6-1 with a 2.16 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He held the Tigers to a run on six hits with eight strikeouts over six and two-thirds inning his last time out. He has earned wins in six of his last seven starts. He has faced the Indians three times in his career, posting a 2-0 record in the process. He has a 1.93 ERA in those three starts (18 2/3 innings) and has allowed just four runs in total on 12 hits with six walks and 17 strikeouts. He has held current members of the Indians roster to a .160 career average.
Bauer is on a roll for the Tribe, a winner of six straight games. He defeated Boston on Thursday, but he allowed four runs on seven hits in five and one-third innings to end a streak of five straight quality starts on the mound. He has been a workhorse for the Tribe in the second half, going 6-1 in eight starts while also making one relief appearance. In six of his starts, he was able to pitch into the sixth inning. He defeated the Yankees earlier in the month, giving up just one run in seven innings of work to win his tenth game of the season. It improved his career record to 2-4 against the Yankees in seven starts with a 4.62 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP.
The southpaw Garcia was hit hard in his Yankees debut by the Indians in early August after he was acquired by New York from the Minnesota Twins. He allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits with four walks in four and two-thirds innings. He has not earned a win since joining the Bronx Bombers, posting three straight no-decisions while failing to complete the sixth inning in any of his four starts for the club. Before moving to the Yankees, he won his only start with the Twins and each of his previous two with the Atlanta Braves.
Tomlin will make his return from the disabled list on Wednesday after missing a month with a left hamstring strain. When he last pitched, he left his start on July 30 after throwing four no-hit innings against the Chicago White Sox with five strikeouts. He won his last three decisions during a perfect 3-0 July. He owns a 3-3 record against the Yankees in eight appearances in his career with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
Sabathia has not faced the Indians in over a year, taking a loss against them at the beginning of last August. He has not defeated his former club since June of 2013, when he threw a complete game victory against them despite allowing four runs in the game. He is coming off of back-to-back quality starts for the Yankees, taking a no-decision his last time out against Seattle despite allowing just one run on five hits in seven innings of work. He won his previous outing, going six innings against Boston while giving up a pair of runs on four hits in his first start after missing eleven days on the disabled list with right knee inflammation.
TV (all unless noted) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; YES; ESPN (8/28 – out of market); MLB Network (8/29 – out of market)
Radio (all) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280 (New York)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NEWS
Abraham Almonte – 10-day disabled list (8/18) – left hamstring strain
Cody Anderson (SP) – out for season – right elbow surgery
Michael Brantley (LF) – 10-day disabled list (8/9) – right ankle sprain
Craig Breslow (RP) – contract selected from Triple-A Columbus (8/26)
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – 10-day disabled list (7/9) – right calf strain; on rehab assignment
Jason Kipnis (2B) – 10-day disabled list (8/23) – right hamstring strain
Boone Logan (RP) – 60-day disabled list (7/20) – left lat muscle
Ryan Merritt (SP) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (8/26)
Andrew Miller (RP) – 10-day disabled list (8/22) – patellofemoral syndrome
Diego Moreno (RP) – designated for assignment (8/26)
Danny Salazar (SP) – 10-day disabled list (8/21) – right elbow inflammation
Josh Tomlin (SP) – 10-day disabled list (7/31) – left hamstring; to be activated 8/30
New York (AL):
Tyler Austin (1B) – optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (8/26)
Greg Bird (1B) – activated from 60-day disabled list (8/26)
Luis Cessa (SP) – 10-day disabled list (8/15) – ribcage
Garrett Cooper (1B) – 10-day disabled list (8/17) – left hamstring tendinitis
Clint Frazier (OF) – 10-day disabled list (8/9) – left oblique strain
Matt Holliday (DH) – 10-day disabled list (8/5) – left lumbar strain; on rehab assignment
Michael Pineda (SP) – out for season – recovery from July 2017 Tommy John surgery
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
NEW YORK BY THE NUMBERS
Gary Sanchez has been all or nothing against Kluber. He has stepped to the plate six times against the All-Star right-hander and hit a double and a homer while driving in a pair, but three of the other four plate appearances have ended in strikeouts. Since participating in his first career All-Star Game in July, Sanchez has continued to flex the muscle at the dish, hitting eight doubles and a team-high 14 homers while driving in 35 runs. He also flexed some other muscles while heavily involved in the melee in Detroit last week.
Todd Frazier has hit .316 against Bauer in his career in a span of 20 plate appearances. He has a double, a homer, and three RBI, but has also struck out seven times. He has had far worse numbers against Kluber, hitting .087 with a .160 on-base percentage in his career with two singles, two walks, and nine strikeouts in 25 trips to the plate. He is hitting just .211 in the second half.
Chase Headley is 5-for-17 (.294) against Bauer with two doubles and six RBI. He is 0-for-11 against Kluber with four strikeouts. He has hit .314 over 42 games in the second half and leads the Yankees with eleven doubles since the break.
Starlin Castro has two singles in nine trips against Kluber with three strikeouts. He has hit a grand slam and walked in three plate appearances against Tomlin.
Aaron Judge has singled and walked twice in three trips to the plate against Bauer. He will sit out the opener against Kluber, which could be for the best as Judge leads all of baseball in second half strikeouts with 65 while Kluber leads MLB with 85 of his own since the break.
Didi Gregorius is 4-for-13 (.308) against Bauer with a solo homer to his credit. He has struck out in three of his four trips to the plate against Tomlin in his career. He is hitting .325 since the All-Star break with ten doubles, nine homers, and 22 RBI.
Bird is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Tomlin.
INDIANS IN DEPTH
Garcia has a limited body of work against current Indians in his career. Fifty-seven of the 84 plate appearances by members of the club have been made by Jay Bruce, who is a .222 hitter lifetime against him with two doubles and a homer. Bruce has hit .311 in 17 games since joining the Indians with five doubles, four homers, and 13 RBI. Combined with his time with the New York Mets before the trade, Bruce has a .263 average for the season with 33 homers and 88 RBI.
Francisco Lindor has hit .375 (3-for-8) against Severino with a solo homer. He has five hits and a walk in eleven plate appearances against Sabathia (.556 average, .600 OBP). He has slashed .306/.362/.532 since making his second All-Star trip with nine doubles, ten homers, and 22 RBI in that span.
Carlos Santana is a .526 hitter lifetime against Sabathia over 21 plate appearances with a double, a homer, and four runs batted in. His bat has been far more productive in the second half of the season as he has slashed .281/.394/.563 in 38 games with six doubles, a triple, ten homers, and 21 RBI while drawing 24 walks.
Edwin Encarnacion leads the club with 12 homers and 28 RBI since the break. His most recent one gave him 30 on the season for the sixth straight season.
Jose Ramirez is 4-for-8 against Sabathia and has driven in two runs.
Austin Jackson owns a .294 average against Sabathia with five walks, five singles, three doubles, a triple, a homer, and three RBI. He leads the Indians regulars with a .326 average in 26 games since the All-Star break.
Yandy Diaz is hitting .400 since rejoining the Indians from Triple-A Columbus. He has three doubles, a triple, and has driven in a pair of runs in five games.
Yan Gomes is just 1-for-7 against Sabathia, but the one hit was a home run.
While Brandon Guyer usually performs well in his platoon splits, it has not applied to his matchups with Sabathia. He is just 2-fo-24 (.083) against the big southpaw with seven strikeouts in 27 total trips to the plate.
THE FINAL MONTH
After Thursday’s off day, the Indians will begin the final month of the regular season with a four-game series in three days in Detroit with the Tigers. The Yankees will continue their homestand on Thursday, when the Boston Red Sox come to town for four games.
Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images