Tribe Looks to Keep Rolling and Extend O’s Woes This Weekend
Bob Toth | On 17, Aug 2018
The Indians will get a quick sample of home cooking this weekend during a brief three-game homestand with the visiting Baltimore Orioles.
The Indians (69-51) won another road series with a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds earlier in the week to capture sole possession of the Ohio Cup. It improved the team’s record to 11-3 in the month. The Indians have nearly doubled the amount of runs scored by the opposition this month, plating 69 while allowing 35. They have the second-best record in the American League in August, trailing only the 11-2 mark of Boston, and are third-best in the Majors (also trailing St. Louis’ 12-3 mark). The team’s hot stretch has extended well into the second half, when they rank third among the 30 MLB teams with a 17-8 record, worse only than Boston’s 18-6 record and Oakland’s 17-7 mark. Cleveland took three of four from Baltimore earlier this year while outscoring the Orioles, 14-7.
Baltimore (36-85) is putting together a historically bad season, just off of the pace of the worst season in franchise history and the worst since the club moved from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954. With a .298 winning percentage, they are just two-thousandths of a point away from equaling the 45-107 record of the Browns in 1911 and just nineteen-thousandths off of the franchise-worst mark of 43-111 in 1939. Baltimore is just 4-10 in August and sits 49.5 games in back of Boston halfway through the month. They last won a series from July 27-29 in a home set against Tampa. They have not won a road series since June 22-24 in Atlanta, one of three road series wins this year, and are 15-45 on the season away from Camden Yards.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Friday, August 17, 7:10 PM ET – RHP David Hess (2-6, 6.25 ERA) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (14-6, 3.50)
Hess, a 25-year-old first-year right-hander, will make his 12th start of the season and his 14th overall appearance since being added to the 40-man roster in the offseason by Baltimore. He started the season at Triple-A Norfolk, but has been recalled four separate times through the campaign to fill voids on the Orioles’ pitching staff. He relies on a four-seam, slider, change, and an occasional curveball. He has not won an appearance since May 25 and is coming off of a five-and-two-thirds innings appearance on August 9 at Tampa Bay, allowing three runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Carrasco has been on cruise control since his return from the disabled list at the beginning of July. In eight games (seven starts), he has posted a 6-1 record with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in a 45-inning span with 59 strikeouts and just five walks. His last time out, he worked seven innings of one-run baseball, giving up an unearned run on three hits with no walks and nine strikeouts to drop his ERA to its lowest mark since April 28. He is 3-2 in his career in six games against Baltimore with a 2.51 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, including a victory this season when he allowed just a run on six hits in seven and one-third innings.
The 30-year-old right-hander Cobb is in his first season outside of Tampa Bay after spending his first six years with the Rays. He has had a tough go of things on the bad Baltimore team, suffering a career-high 15 losses on the year with his worst ERA (5.31) and WHIP (1.49) in a full and healthy season. He has yet to win a home contest (0-7 in eight starts), but has spent the bulk of his time on the road (3-8 in 14 games). He has put together his best numbers of the year this month, posting a 1-1 mark with a 1.35 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in three starts. He took a tough loss his last time out, making his fourth straight quality start while allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits in seven innings against Boston.
Plutko will need to be recalled from Triple-A Columbus prior to Saturday’s contest with the Orioles. It will be his ten appearance of the season and his seventh start. He has been on a pitching tear in Columbus, allowing just two runs in 19 2/3 innings over his last four starts while making three scoreless appearances. He worked five and one-third scoreless innings with four hits allowed against Norfolk on August 12 and had a similar six scoreless four-hit innings on August 7 against Durham. He last pitched for Cleveland on July 29 in Detroit, when he worked a perfect inning in relief.
Sunday, August 19, 1:10 PM ET – TBA vs. RHP Mike Clevinger (8-7, 3.38)
The Orioles had not formally announced a starter for the series finale on Sunday afternoon.
Clevinger, 27, ended his long winless drought dating back to July 1 his last time out, when he worked five innings in Cincinnati while allowing two runs on five hits with a season-high six walks. His best start of the season came against the Orioles in Baltimore, when he threw his first complete game shutout of his career, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out three in his third career win against the Orioles in four tries. He owns a 2.25 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP against the O’s over 24 career innings.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); MASN (all); FS1 (8/18)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (CLE); 105.7 The Fan (BAL)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery
Trevor Bauer (SP) – 10-day disabled list (8/12) – stress fracture of right fibula
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF) – 60-day disabled list (7/3) – strained left calf
Edwin Encarnacion (1B/DH) – 10-day disabled list (8/13) – right hand contusion, left biceps discomfort
Nick Goody (RP) – 60-day disabled list (5/3) – right elbow inflammation
Leonys Martin (OF) – 10-day disabled list (8/9) – bacterial infection
Tyler Naquin (OF) – 10-day disabled list (7/26) – right hip surgery
Tyler Olson (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (8/14)
Danny Salazar (P) – out for season (3/26) – recovery from right shoulder exploratory surgery
Josh Tomlin (P) – 10-day disabled list (7/10) – right hamstring strain; on rehab assignment
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – out for season (7/21) – right shoulder labrum surgery
Pedro Araujo (P) – 10-day disabled list (6/11) – right elbow strain
Richard Bleier (RP) – 60-day disabled list (6/14) – recovery from June 2018 left lat surgery
Craig Gentry (OF) – activated from 10-day disabled list (8/17)
Adam Jones (CF) – bereavement list (8/17)
Jhan Marinez (P) – 10-day disasbled list (8/3) – right hamstring strain
Ryan Meisinger (P) – recalled from Triple-A Norfolk
Steve Wilkerson (3B) – 10-day disabled list (7/3) – left oblique strain; on rehab assignment
Gabriel Ynoa (RP) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – right shoulder inflammation, shin splints
O’S NEWS AND NOTES
Things have changed for the Orioles drastically since the Tribe last faced off with the Maryland club. The Orioles traded away All-Star free-agent-to-be Manny Machado, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, and relievers Brad Brach, Zach Britton, and Darren O’Day.
Jones, who shut down trade rumors at the end of July by stating that he would block trades by not waving his 10-and-5 rights to a deal, is expected to miss the series in Cleveland this weekend after being placed on the bereavement list on Friday morning following the death of a family member. He was putting up some of his best numbers of the season over the last month, hitting .333/.393/.506 since the break (22 games) with five doubles, three homers, and 13 RBI.
Chris Davis and Tim Beckham are the team’s second half leaders in long balls with a half dozen blasts each. Beckham is hitting .264 with a .346 on-base percentage and is second on the club in RBI since the break. Davis has struggled, hitting just .184 with a .292 OBP with 34 strikeouts in his 21 second half appearances.
Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini are tied with five second-half homers. Mancini has been one of the team’s top hitters, putting up a .309/.347/.511 slash. Trumbo has slashed .298/.337/.488 since the break and leads the club with 16 RBI.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
Yandy Diaz has continued to make a case for inclusion on the roster going forward. While manager Terry Francona has indicated that Diaz will see plenty of time in the future with the club in the middle of the lineup, he has made it tough to keep him off of the field now. In seven games in the second half, he is hitting .524 with a 1.190 OPS. He has a double and a triple to his credit, along with nine singles and five runs batted in. He should continue to see time at DH with Encarnacion on the disabled list.
Melky Cabrera has put up steady numbers against some internet hate, slashing .311/.363/.459 in 23 games with two doubles, three homers, and nine RBI.
Jose Ramirez is still at the top of the MVP consideration in the American League and is doing so behind solid second half performances on a nightly basis. In 24 games since starting at third base for the AL All-Star team, he has contributed a .304/.452/.658 line (1.110 OPS) with five doubles, a triple, seven homers, and 19 RBI. He has also walked 22 times while striking out just nine and has picked off seven of nine base thefts attempted. He is the Indians’ leader in second half homers, RBI, walks, and steals.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
It will be off to Boston for the Tribe after the series as they face off with the Red Sox in a playoff preview with the best team in baseball. They will play four straight at Fenway Park before heading to Kansas City for the weekend.
Baltimore will head north to Toronto for a three-game series against the Blue Jays.
Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images