Tribe Makes Only Trip to the Bronx to Battle the Yankees
Bob Toth | On 04, May 2018
It will be no easy task for the Cleveland Indians this weekend as they head to New York to face one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Yankees, in a three-game weekend series.
The Indians (17-14) wrapped up their eleven-game homestand with a disappointing 5-6 mark. They opened with a series split against the Chicago Cubs and closed it with a split with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. In between, they dropped three of four to the Seattle Mariners, but took two of three from the Texas Rangers. The bats have woken up with the warmer weather of the last week, as the offense has erupted for 49 runs over the last five games. They start the series with a three and a half game lead over Detroit in the American League Central Division.
The Yankees (21-10) have been on an absolute tear in the win column since the middle of April. Beginning with their series against Toronto starting April 19, they have not lost or tied a series. They took three of four from the Jays to continue that homestand before sweeping three games from the Minnesota Twins. They flew across the country for a tough road trip, but swept three straight from the Los Angeles Angels and won three of four this week from the Houston Astros. They won nine straight games during that stretch and have won 12 of 13 and 13 of their last 15. They come into the series just one game in back of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
The Yankees make a horrifying matchup for Tomlin, who has been prone to the long ball in his career and this season has been no different. The pressure is on Tomlin to find himself on the mound, as he has had a rough go of things to begin his ninth big league season. He leads all of baseball with ten homers allowed, matching the number of strikeouts that he has on the year. He has allowed 32 hits in just 18 2/3 innings of work, leading to a 1.93 WHIP. The Yankees were the first team that Tomlin faced in his career on July 27, 2010. Incidentally, in earning the win with seven innings of one-run baseball against them, his opponent that day was former Indians hurler and his Friday counterpart, Sabathia. In Tomlin’s last start, he lasted a season-high six innings, but allowed six runs on ten hits.
The hefty lefty is off to a good start in the Bronx this season, earning a pair of wins in five starts with a sub-one WHIP of 0.95. The Indians’ first round pick in the 1998 draft is now 37 years old and in his 18th big league season. He has faced the Indians eleven times in his career in the regular season, posting a 4-3 record with a 3.65 ERA with one complete game. He has not, however, earned a win against them since 2013. He is coming off of his second quality start of the season, allowing a run on five hits in seven innings against the Los Angeles Angels in earning his second win of the season. He allowed just one unearned run the start before in six innings for his first win against Minnesota.
Bauer was big against the Yankees during the regular season a year ago, reversing what had been some poor career numbers against the Bombers. He made two starts, earning a pair of wins while allowing two runs on eleven hits with six walks and eleven strikeouts in 13 innings of work. He entered last season with a 1-4 record against them with a 5.34 ERA. He will look to make it six straight quality starts pitching into at least the seventh inning as he continues his hot start to the year. He has allowed no more than three runs in a game this season and struck out a season-high eleven batters in a no-decision against the Texas Rangers his last time out.
Gray, 28, faced the Indians three different times a season ago and had a tough time with them, going 1-2 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in those 16 2/3 innings. For his career, however, he is 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA in eight starts. The right-hander is coming off of his best start of the season, despite taking a loss to Houston on Monday. He allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts in six innings of work. He has struggled this season to pitch deep into games, as in four of his first six outings, he has failed to complete the fifth inning.
Clevinger pitched deep into a start for the fourth straight outing, working six and two-thirds against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday in a no-decision. He allowed three runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts, a season-high. It was the third quality start of the year for the 27-year-old right-hander. It will be just his second career appearance against the Yankees and the first time he has pitched in New York in the Majors. He allowed three runs on two hits and a walk with one strikeout in an inning in relief last season against the Yankees.
The 25-year-old German will make his first Major League start, jumping into the rotation to fill in for injury. He has made 12 career appearances in his big league career, posting an 0-2 record with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. The 6’2” right-hander has never faced the Indians in his brief big league career.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); YES (all); MLB Network (out-of-market, 5/5 & 5/6)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (Cleveland); WFAN 660, 101.9 FM (New York)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery
Matt Belisle (RP) – designated for assignment (5/2)
Jeff Beliveau (RP) – designated for assignment (5/4)
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – 10-day disabled list (4/8) – right calf strain
Evan Marshall (RP) – contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus (5/3)
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
Alexi Ogando (RP) – contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus (5/4)
Danny Salazar (P) – transferred to 60-day disabled list (5/3) – right shoulder rotator cuff tendonitis
Gio Urshela (UTL) – activated from 10-day disabled list and designated for assignment (5/4)
New York (AL):
Greg Bird (1B) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – recovery from March 2018 right ankle surgery
Luis Cessa (P) – 10-day disabled list (4/18) – left oblique strain
Brandon Drury (3B) – 10-day disabled list (4/7) – severe migraines; on rehab assignment
Jacoby Ellsbury (OF) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – right oblique/left hip/ plantar fasciitis
Clint Frazier (OF) – optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (5/2)
Ben Heller (RP) – 60-day disabled list (3/27) – recovery from April 2018 UCL surgery
Tommy Kahnle (RP) – 10-day disabled list (4/16) – right shoulder tendinitis
Billy McKinney (OF) – 10-day disabled list (4/1) – left shoulder sprain
Jordan Montgomery (SP) – 10-day disabled list (5/2) – left elbow strain
Adam Warren (RP) – 10-day disabled list (4/21) – right back strain
Didi Gregorius has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball through the first five weeks of the season. He leads the Yankees with ten homers and 30 RBI and has a .333/.418/.712 slash at the plate. He is second on the club with ten doubles, trailing only the total of rookie Miguel Andujar.
Second baseman and fellow rookie Gleyber Torres has heated up at the plate in the last week, leading the club with a .350 average in that span while ranking second in on-base percentage with a .391 mark. He has seven hits, including a pair of doubles, and four RBI in that stretch.
Gary Sanchez has been an all-or-nothing threat at the plate for the Yankees in the last week. He has struck out eleven times his 21 at bats over the last seven games, but has a single, two doubles, two homers, six walks, and six RBI in the same span.
Giancarlo Stanton has two doubles and two homers in the last week while driving in four runs. Strikeouts have been the usual issue for him, like Sanchez, as he has gone down swinging eleven times in the last seven games (24 at bats) while hitting .208.
Aaron Judge is in a dry spell at the plate. He has hit .200 in the last week with three doubles and two RBI. The 26-year-old has not homered since April 24. He is still carrying a .298/.426/.544 slash for the year in 31 games.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
The offense has perked up for the Indians over the course of the last week. Six different players have hit over .350 in that span. One of those strong performers, Jose Ramirez, has been a doubles machine at the plate. He has totaled six in his last seven games and is hitting .379 in the last week with seven runs batted in.
Francisco Lindor has hit a pair of 440+ foot home runs in the last few days and has three in the last week with eight runs batted in. He has 14 hits in the last week (eight games) and is hitting .378 in that span. For the year, he is hitting .278 with eight doubles, seven homers, and 18 RBI, all near the top of the Indians leaderboard. He comes into the series with the Yankees riding an active six-game hitting streak.
Michael Brantley has been about as consistent as they come and has continued that performance at the plate, hitting .357 in the last week with four doubles, his first career grand slam, and six RBI. He is hitting .348 on the season, but does not yet qualify for the American League’s batting race.
Edwin Encarnacion has hit .286 over the last week with three homers and nine RBI, with all three long balls coming in an impressive performance on Wednesday against Texas. He leads the Tribe with nine home runs this season, but surprisingly has just one double to his credit. He has pushed his batting average over the .200 mark, coming into the series with the Yankees with a .209 mark.
This Hall of Famer and former MVP was a nine-time All-Star, including six times with the New York Yankees and three times with the Cleveland Indians. He was the MVP of the 1942 season and appeared in his fifth and final World Series with the Indians in 1948. The second baseman took over a decade later as the Indians’ manager and was infamously traded to Detroit by Frank “Trader” Lane.
Who am I?
The Indians traded this left-handed hitting outfielder to the Yankees in 2000 for a three-player haul. Cleveland received outfielder Ricky Ledee and pitchers Zach Day and Jake Westbrook. This slugger previously spent time in Atlanta and later in Oakland after his days in the Bronx ended.
Who am I?
This former Indians and Yankees soft-tosser is the last player to lose 20 games in the National League (with Atlanta in 1979). Incidentally, he accomplished the same feat two seasons earlier for the Braves as well. Despite two significant losing seasons, he would still become a Hall of Famer. He was an All-Star for the last time at the age of 45 with the Yankees in 1984.
Who am I?
The Indians will have a couple of off days coming up, which could help out the thin relief staff. They will take both Monday and Thursday off, with a brief two-game set in Milwaukee with the Brewers in between. The Yankees will continue their homestand after a day off on Monday with three against Boston and three more next weekend with Oakland.
Photo: Bob Levey/Getty Images