Tribe Takes Show on the Road with a Four-Day Trip to Toronto
Bob Toth | On 06, Sep 2018
The Indians are back on the road this weekend after a nine-game homestand as they head north of the border to Toronto to play four times with the Blue Jays.
The Indians (79-60) dropped their magic number to eight on Thursday when they completed a series win over the Kansas City Royals in a tight 3-1 victory from Progressive Field while the second place Minnesota Twins dropped their fifth straight in a 9-1 defeat against Houston. The pair of wins over the Royals brought the Tribe’s record during their nine-game homestand to 5-4, salvaging things some after dropping three in a row over the weekend.
The Blue Jays (63-76) enter the day sitting in fourth place in the American League East. The road has been the bigger struggle for Toronto this season, as the team is just 28-41 away from Rogers Centre and 35-35 at it. They have played closer to .500 ball of late, but little has made up for a 9-19 month of May that quickly turned a 16-12 start to the season into a big hole to climb out of in the tough East. The Jays took two of three from Cleveland in the first series between the two clubs back in May, although they were outscored 28-25 in the set.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Thursday, September 6, 7:07 PM ET – RHP Shane Bieber (8-3, 4.66 ERA) vs. RHP Sam Gaviglio (3-7, 5.02)
Bieber lost his first September start after allowing four runs on nine hits in five and one-third innings to the Tampa Bay Rays. It came on the heels of his second 3-0 month in his rookie campaign after making five starts in August and posting a 3.81 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 28 1/3 innings. It will be his fourth career start against the AL East after previously earning wins against Boston and New York. He will look to remain without a loss on the road in his career – he is 4-0 in eight starts with a 4.44 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP (compared to 4-3 with a 4.93 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP in seven home starts).
Gaviglio, 28, started his season in mid-May in the Blue Jays bullpen, but quickly moved into a role in the starting rotation, where he has remained the rest of the year. Thursday will mark his 20th start of the season and 22nd game pitched overall. A former member of the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals organizations last season, he is 2-1 in his career against the AL Central, but he has never faced the Cleveland Indians. His last time out, he took a loss after allowing four runs on seven hits in five and two-thirds innings.
Home has never been quite as favorable to Carrasco as the road. The veteran right-hander owns a 44-26 mark on the road in 101 career games with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP, while in the same number of games, he has gone 34-34 with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP at Progressive Field. He has won both of his career starts at Rogers Centre and is 3-1 overall in seven career games against the Blue Jays. He was tagged by the Rays his last time out (in a home start), allowing five runs on nine hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in six and one-third innings of work.
The 35-year-old vet Estrada is wrapping up his eleventh big league season. After spending many years in the senior circuit, he has finally logged a few games of activity against the Indians over the last three years, but has come away empty-handed with a loss and five homers allowed over 16 2/3 innings. In his last two starts, he has lost back-to-back games in a pair of interleague battles with Philadelphia and Miami, allowing eleven runs combined on 15 hits with seven walks and four homers allowed (in six and one-third innings).
Plutko made his 2018 season debut against the Blue Jays and pitched well in the nightcap of a May 3 doubleheader. He worked seven and one-third innings in his longest career outing to date, allowing three runs (all on solo homers) and six hits in total while striking out six and walking none. He will look to end a four-game losing skid, which includes three of his four outings since returning to the Cleveland rotation. His last time out, he matched a season-high with three homers allowed as he gave up four runs on seven total hits with eight strikeouts in six innings against the Royals.
Reid-Foley returned to the Blue Jays rotation as one of the team’s September call-ups and will make his first home start of his career. A 23-year-old out of Guam, he is just the second player to reach the Majors from the island and is the first pitcher to do so (following John Hattig, who incidentally played 13 games for Toronto in 2006). He is coming off of his longest start in his big league career after striking out a season-high ten batters in seven one-run innings against Miami earlier in the week. He was a second round pick by the Blue Jays in 2014 out of high school.
Sunday, September 9, 1:07 PM ET – RHP Mike Clevinger (11-7, 3.11) vs. TBD
Clevinger, 27, will look to build upon his solid career late season numbers. He is 7-1 in 18 career games in August and 7-3 in 14 games in September, with his 2.49 ERA in the last month of the season the best mark of any month that he has pitched in the Majors. He has faced the Blue Jays twice in his career, earning one win while allowing four runs on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts over five and one-third innings. He has won four straight decisions since losing four straight games back in July. His last time out, he allowed a run on three hits with a walk and ten strikeouts against Kansas City.
The Blue Jays had not formally announced a starter for the series finale on Sunday afternoon. Originally scheduled starter Marcus Stroman is dealing with a blister on his right middle finger. It is believed that manager John Gibbons will turn to former Indians’ farmhand Thomas Pannone, the southpaw who was dealt to Toronto last year at the trade deadline for reliever Joe Smith.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); SNET (all); TVA Sports (9/6, 9/9)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (CLE); SN590 (TOR)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery; on rehab assignment
Brandon Barnes (OF) – contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus (9/4)
Trevor Bauer (SP) – 10-day disabled list (8/12) – right fibula stress fracture
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF) – 60-day disabled list (7/3) – strained left calf
Josh Donaldson (3B) – 10-day disabled list (9/1) – left calf strain; on rehab assignment
Nick Goody (RP) – 60-day disabled list (5/3) – right elbow surgery
James Hoyt (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (9/4); placed on 60-day disabled list (9/4)
Evan Marshall (RP) – designated for assignment (9/1)
Leonys Martin (OF) – 60-day disabled list (8/9) – non-baseball related issue
Andrew Miller (RP) – 10-day disabled list (8/30) – left shoulder issues
Tyler Naquin (OF) – 60-day disabled list (7/26) – right hip surgery
Adam Rosales (UTL) – contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus (9/4)
Danny Salazar (P) – out for season (3/26) – recovery from right shoulder exploratory surgery
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – out for season (7/21) – right shoulder labrum surgery
Joe Biagini (P) – 10-day disabled list (9/4) – left oblique strain
Rhiner Cruz (P) – 60-day disabled list (7/8) – right groin strain
Brandon Drury (3B) – 10-day disabled list (8/5) – left hand fracture
Reese McGuire (C) – recalled from Triple-A Buffalo (9/6)
David Paulino (P) – recalled from Triple-A Buffalo (9/6)
Justin Shafer (P) – recalled from Triple-A Buffalo (9/6)
Yangervis Solarte (3B) – 10-day disabled list (8/12) – right oblique strain
Troy Tulowitzki (SS) – 60-day disabled list (3/29) – recovery from April 2018 surgery on both feet
BLUE JAYS NEWS AND NOTES
Kendrys Morales went on a home run tear of historic proportions, homering in seven straight games from August 19 to August 26. It left him just one game with a homer short of tying the all-time consecutive homer games record of eight. Morales has put up a .292/.348/.516 slash in 57 home games with 12 homers and 29 RBI. Only Randal Grichuk (13) has more homers in Toronto this season.
Blue Jays’ leadoff man Billy McKinney has hit in five straight games. He has seven hits over those games, including a homer and two RBI, and has scored three times. He has fared well in his few games in Toronto this season, hitting .348 with two doubles, four homers, and eight RBI in his eight home contests this year. He started the season with the Yankees, but the 24-year-old was acquired as part of the J.A. Happ trade. He was recalled by the Blue Jays on August 17 and has hit .360 in 15 games with five doubles, four homers, and eleven RBI.
Kevin Pillar hit the Indians hard in the series back in May, hitting .357 with two doubles and two RBI. The Indians may be catching him at a good time as he is just 1-for-19 over the last week.
Devon Travis has hit .304 in the last week with three doubles and two RBI.
Aledmys Diaz went deep twice against the Indians and drove in four in three games in Cleveland earlier in the year. He is fourth among active Blue Jays with 17 homers this season.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
Michael Brantley has hit safely in six straight games, tallying eight hits in 24 at bats (.333) in that span. He remains the Indians’ leading hitter this season, hitting .303 with 34 doubles, two triples, 14 homers, and 70 RBI.
The series is a homecoming for Edwin Encarnacion, who spent parts of eight seasons and his best big league campaigns in Canada. A three-time All-Star with the Blue Jays, he owns a .273/.362/.534 slash at Rogers Centre with 113 doubles, 115 homers, and 361 RBI in 502 career games. He is third on the Indians with 29 homers this season and second with 94 RBI.
Francisco Lindor remains an outside 30-30 candidate for the Tribe. He is 22 of 30 stealing bases on the season and has cleared the fence 31 times with the long ball. He has added another 40 doubles to help account for his team-leading 160 hits and 114 runs scored this season. He has also provided 80 RBI, giving the team a significant threat out of the leadoff spot.
Melky Cabrera’s contributions to the Tribe cannot go unmentioned. Since returning to the Indians, he has hit .316 with a .372 on-base percentage and a .511 slugging mark with eight doubles, six homers, and 21 RBI in 42 games.
PACK UP AND GO AGAIN
The Indians’ stay in Toronto will end after Sunday’s finale, with the club packing up and heading south to St. Petersburg, Florida, to kick off their second series with the Tampa Bay Rays this month before coming home for the final homestand of the season. With their second-to-last homestand of the season in the books, the Blue Jays will take a tour of the AL East with nine road games against the Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles.
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images