Tribe Looking to Turn Around Homestand Versus Texas

The Indians will look to get back on the right track with a different American League West opponent this week as the Texas Rangers come to Cleveland for their only appearance at Progressive Field this season (weather permitting, of course).

Things did not go well for the Indians (14-12) during their weekend set against the Seattle Mariners as they dropped three of four games to move to just 8-6 at home on the year and 2-4 on their current 11-game homestand. Seeing the struggling Rangers may be well timed for the Tribe, especially with warmer weather parking itself over Cleveland just in time for the series. Last season, the Indians went 6-1 against the Rangers, losing just one tough 2-1 outing on a ninth inning run off of Cody Allen at Progressive Field.

The Rangers (11-18) are coming off of just their second series win of the season after taking two of three from the Blue Jays in Toronto over the weekend to begin their six-game roadtrip to close out April and open May. They have sunk to the bottom of the competitive AL West, already trailing the front-running Houston Astros by eight games. The Rangers’ disabled list is jam packed with names, creating a strong likelihood that you will look at Texas’ lineup during the series and be very unfamiliar with some of the players in the starting nine.

Bauer – Jason Miller/Getty Images

PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES

Monday, April 30, at 6:10 PM ET – LHP Cole Hamels (1-4, 4.41 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (2-2, 2.41)

Hamels has been good so far, even if the record indicates otherwise. He has allowed three runs or fewer in four of his six starts, with a bad seven-run outing against Toronto on April 8 and a four-run effort against Tampa Bay two starts ago. His last time out was a quality start, as he worked six and one-third innings while allowing two runs on five hits with two walks, three hit batters, and five strikeouts. The long ball has been a little bit of an issue for him in the early going, as he has allowed eight on the year in 34 2/3 innings and at least one in five of his six starts. He is 0-1 in three career starts in Cleveland and allowed seven runs in four and one-third innings last year against the Indians in a no-decision.

Bauer was sharp again his last time out in a win over the Chicago Cubs, his second of the year. He worked six and two-thirds innings, allowing a run on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts (a season-high). He is averaging more than a strikeout an inning, with 35 in 33 2/3 innings pitched. He has thrown no fewer than 100 pitches in a start and just one time in five outings has he failed to pitch into the seventh inning. He earned his first career win against Texas last season in his fourth attempt, allowing just one run (on a solo homer) in six and one-third innings.

Tuesday, May 1, at 6:10 PM ET – RHP Doug Fister (1-2, 3.93) vs. RHP Mike Clevinger (2-0, 2.56)

Fister is a long familiar face to Indians fans after his time with the Detroit Tigers. The 6’8” 34-year-old right-hander made his return from the disabled list on April 25, but was unable to finish the fifth inning despite throwing 105 pitches on the day. He gave up two runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts in his first action since April 9. He made three starts against the Indians last season and was a pest, going 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP with one complete game to improve to 7-5 in his career with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in 19 total starts.

The big inning has been Clevinger’s undoing this season. It was another such occurrence in his last start on Thursday. He allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings of work, striking out five and walking one along the way. He has been nearly even on his balance of ground ball outs to fly ball outs on the season while not accumulating as many strikeouts as years past. What he has done well is keep the ball in the yard – he has allowed just one home run in 31 2/3 innings of work. He has faced the Rangers three times in his career and made his first start against them last season, throwing six innings of one-run, two-hit baseball with nine strikeouts.

Wednesday, May 2, at 1:10 PM ET – TBD vs. RHP Corey Kluber (4-1, 2.18)

The Rangers had yet to announce a starter for the series finale on Wednesday afternoon, as starter Matt Moore was moved into the bullpen.

Kluber flirted with a complete game in his last start against Seattle on Friday night in the Indians’ lone win in the series. He worked eight and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs on four hits with three walks and ten strikeouts, the 41st time in his career that he has reached double digits in Ks in an outing. It was his longest start of the season to date. He has now won four straight decisions on the mound. Kluber made a pair of starts against the Rangers last season, earning his third win against them in his career. He was hurt by four homers allowed in 14 innings of work.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); Fox Sports Southwest (all); MLB Network (out-of-market)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (CLE); 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270 (Dallas)

TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES

Cleveland:
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – 10-day disabled list (4/8) – right calf strain
Ryan Merritt (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – left knee sprain
Andrew Miller (RP) – placed on 10-day disabled list (4/26) – left hamstring strain
Danny Salazar (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – right shoulder rotator cuff tendonitis
Giovanny Urshela (UTL) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – right hamstring strain (on rehab assignment)

Texas:
Elvis Andrus (SS) – 10-day disabled list (4/12) – fractured right elbow
Adrian Beltre (3B) – 10-day disabled list (4/25) – grade 1 left hamstring strain
Clayton Blackburn (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/19) – recovery from April 2018 UCL surgery
Ronald Herrera (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/21) – right shoulder inflammation
Jose Leclerc (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Round Rock (4/30)
Tim Lincecum (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – blister on right middle finger
Rougned Odor (2B) – 10-day disabled list (4/10) – left hamstring strain
Joe Palumbo (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/23) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery
Martin Perez (SP) – 10-day disabled list (4/30) – right elbow discomfort
Ricardo Rodriguez (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – right elbow inflammation
Carlos Tocci (OF) – 10-day disabled list (4/22) – left hip contusion

Gallo – Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

TEXAS STATS

The Indians catch the Rangers at a tough time, as their lineup is lacking some of the biggest boppers in it. The absences of Andrus, Beltre, and Odor leave holes at three of the four infield positions and deprive the batting order of some of the key weapons available to it. Andrus was leading the team in hitting with a .327 average through 14 games and Beltre was right behind him with a .310 mark in 24 games before he was shelved last week.

Across the outfield and at designated hitter, the team still fields some qualified hitters. Joey Gallo has provided just the kind of pop that he was expected to give with a high strikeout rate and a low batting average. He leads the Rangers with eight homers and 19 RBI on the year, but is also second on the team in strikeouts with 35 in 107 at bats while hitting .224.

Delino DeShields, the son of the former Major Leaguer of the same name, is back from his own stint on the disabled list after opening the season on the 10-day DL with a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. He has appeared in nine games since his return, totaling six singles, three walks, and two doubles with three stolen bases in four attempts. He has picked it up at the plate of late, hitting .292 in his last six games. He is 0-for-3 against Clevinger with two strikeouts in his career.

Nomar Mazara has opened the year as a singles machine, totaling 24 singles on the year while adding three doubles and three home runs. He has just six walks to his credit to combine for a .286/.330/.400 slash across his hitting line. He has faced Clevinger three times, walking twice and striking out once. He has been able to find success at the plate against Kluber, going 5-for-12 (.417) with a double and a solo homer.

Long time Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo is tied for second on the club with five homers and is second with 14 RBI. He has appeared in 28 of the Rangers’ 29 games this season, slashing .241/.317/.438 in that span. He is 0-for-3 in his career against Clevinger with two strikeouts and is 0-for-6 against Kluber with two strikeouts.

Catcher Robinson Chirinos has hit five home runs himself, with three of them coming over his last four games. He has faced Bauer and Clevinger twice in his career, taking each of them deep once with a solo shot. He has struck out in two of his three career at bats against Kluber.

TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS

Michael Brantley has continued his contributions to the Indians lineup over the last week. Appearing in six of the seven games played, he has hit .348 (8-for-23) with five singles, a double, a triple, one home run, and two RBI. Brantley is a .333 hitter in his career in 35 plate appearances against Fister with three doubles, two homers, and five runs batted in.

Alonso – Jason Miller/Getty Images

Jose Ramirez finally busted out of his season-long slump against the Mariners with hits in each of the last two games of the series after starting the year 0-for-23 against Seattle. He is hitting .321 over his last seven games with four doubles and a pair of RBI. He will look to keep those numbers on the up and up against Hamels, who he has hit well against (.455 with a double and two RBI in 12 plate appearances). He has been nearly as effective against Fister, hitting .400 with three singles, two walks, and a double in eleven plate appearances.

First baseman Yonder Alonso is plenty familiar with the Rangers after spending last season with the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners. He brings an active home run hitting streak of three games to the plate with him against Hamels and the Rangers on Monday night. He has slugged four in the last week to surpass Ramirez for the team lead with eight now on the year. Alonso also leads the club with 19 RBI.

Tyler Naquin has remained effective at the plate in limited opportunities with the stick, batting .400 over the last week with three singles, a double, and one run batted in. He has struck out in three of his eleven plate appearances.

Jason Kipnis has continued to scuffle at the plate. He has three hits (two doubles) in 25 at bats (.120) during those seven games. Doubles have been his specialty against Hamels in his career – all three of his hits against him have been two-base hits. He has been much better against Fister, however – he is a .387 hitter against him lifetime in 33 plate appearances with ten singles, two doubles, and two RBI.

TRIBE TRIVIA

With this series’ Tribe Trivia questions, one will have to maintain a Lone Star State of mind in a no-hitter special edition. Answers will follow in the game recap on Monday night.

The Indians acquired this future no-hit pitcher from the Rangers in 1973. The cousin of Cleveland second baseman Duane Kuiper, the duo would team up on the Indians during parts of the 1974 and 1975 seasons. It was in 1974 that this right-hander faced one batter over the minimum in a no-hitter against the Oakland A’s, with his own throwing error the only thing separating him from a perfect game. Who am I?

The Rangers have thrown five no-hitters in their history (and three since the last one thrown by the Tribe). Less than two years after firing a no-hitter against the Oakland A’s in 1973, he was traded to the Indians as part of the package for future Hall of Famer and the first Cy Young winner in Cleveland history, Gaylord Perry. Who am I?

The second no-no, thrown by this future Hall of Fame right-hander, would come in 1977 in one of his final starts for Texas before being traded to Pittsburgh. He joined the Indians in a trade in December of 1980 and spent some up and down years with the club before being traded back to Minnesota in 1985. Who am I?

NEXT UP

The Indians will wrap up their eleven-game homestand on Thursday, when they play a doubleheader against the Blue Jays before hitting the road for New York to take on the Yankees. The Rangers will return home, hosting the Boston Red Sox for four straight beginning Thursday night before welcoming in the Detroit Tigers for three early next week.

Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Related Posts

Deals Left at the Table Leave Tribe Fans Wondering What Might Have Been

The Indians’ quick playoff exit has led to a lot of 20-20 hindsight, deals that in retrospect could have been made and should have been made. And…

Tribe Bullpen Has a Good Hand, With Questions on Other Arms

After several years of boasting one of the game’s best bullpens, including the 2016 version that nearly carried the club to a World Series championship, the Cleveland…

Seventy Years Later, Tribe Still Stands Without a Championship

Last Friday marked the anniversary of the last time a championship parade rolled through the streets of Cleveland in honor of the city’s Indians. A week and…

Indians Outfield Has Many Questions, Few Answers

During the six-year tenure of manager Terry Francona, the Cleveland Indians outfield has been a work in progress, piecemealed together and full of platoons for much of…

Indians Starting Slow in Arizona Fall League Play

The postseason hangover in Cleveland has extended all the way to Arizona for the Indians organization, as the team’s participants on the shared roster of the Glendale…

So Where Do We Go From Here?

So this is how it ends, like T.S. Eliot, not with a bang, but with a whimper. When the Cubs beat the Indians in the wee small…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.