For the first time since September of 2016, the Miami Marlins will come to Cleveland, but their time on the Progressive Field diamond will be restricted to less than 24 hours.
The Indians (12-9) will look to bounce back from a demoralizing end to their series over the weekend with the Atlanta Braves. Facing the club at Progressive Field for just the second time ever in the regular season, they won an 8-4 final in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader before blowing a giant lead in the ninth inning in an 8-7 loss in the night cap. Sunday night’s contest, a nationally televised affair, was all Braves all the way as the visiting club put up nine runs in the first four innings on the way to an 11-5 dismantling of the Tribe and its pitching staff to claim the series.
Expectations this season were low on the Marlins (6-16), who are stuck in a rebuilding mode after dealing star outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna just one offseason ago. A team comprised of veterans on the final legs of their careers and young, unproven prospects, Miami has struggled on the field as expected and is already buried deep in the cellar of the National League East. Of course, that said, the Marlins come to Cleveland after winning their first season series of the year over the weekend, when they took two of three from the Washington Nationals to wrap up a nine-game homestand with a 3-6 record.
PITCHING PROBABLES AND NOTES:
TV (all): Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports Florida+; MLB.tv (all)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 940 AM WINZ, WAQI 710 (Miami)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES:
Mike Clevinger (SP) – 60-day injured list (4/9) – right upper back/Teres major muscle strain
Jon Edwards (RP) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (4/21)
Hanley Ramirez (DH) – outrighted to Triple-A Columbus (4/22)
Danny Salazar (P) – 60-day injured list (3/24); right shoulder rehab
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – 10-day injured list (3/28); right shoulder rehab
Austin Brice (P) – 10-day injured list (4/16) – gastroenteritis
Garrett Cooper (LF) – 10-day injured list (3/31) – left calf strain
Julian Fernandez (P) – 60-day injured list (2/13) – recovery from April 2018 Tommy John surgery
Riley Ferrell (P) – 60-day injured list (3/25) – right biceps tendinitis
Jarlin Garcia (P) – paternity list (4/23)
Jose Quijada (P) – recalled from Triple-A New Orleans (4/23)
MARLINS STRUGGLING DESPITE LOW EXPECTATIONS
The Marlins make their fourth regular season trip to Progressive Field this week, following trips in 2004, 2012, and 2016. The Indians swept the Fish in their last trip to town, but were previously 2-4 in Cleveland against them. The Tribe is 5-4 at home and 4-5 on the road against Miami.
Outside of a handful of veteran names filling up roster spots (likely as potential trade pieces come July), much of the Marlins roster is an unknown even to the most diehard of baseball fans.
Martin Prado leads the club with a .326 average through his first 16 games. He has three doubles, has scored four times, and has driven three in.
Veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson is tops on the club with seven runs batted in on the year. He has hit three home runs and a double, but has struck out 26 times in 58 at bats while hitting .155.
Catcher Jorge Alfaro and first baseman Neil Walker are tied with Granderson for the team lead in homers with three each. Alfaro, second baseman Starlin Castro, shortstop Miguel Rojas, and outfielder Austin Dean are all tied for second on the team in RBI with six.
Brian Anderson, a third-year third base prospect, has hit in five straight games. In that stretch, he has put up a .353/.476/.529 slash with four walks, three strikeouts, and a run batted in. The 25-year-old played in 156 games for the Marlins last year in his first full season in the Majors, hitting .273 with a .357 OBP with 34 doubles, four triples, eleven homers, and 65 RBI.
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
Francisco Lindor went yard in his second game of the year, but going back to the three games that he played during his minor league rehab assignment, he has now homered in three of his five pro games played so far in 2019. He went 2-for-9 in the series against the Braves, playing in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader and the finale on Sunday.
Carlos Gonzalez has performed well over the last seven days, going 4-for-10 with four doubles, a walk, and one run batted in.
Jason Kipnis has been solid since returning to the Tribe roster last Monday. He is hitting .350 on the year with seven hits, including a double, and three RBI.
Leonys Martin is hitting .318 in the last week with a club-high seven hits. He is hitting .267 on the year with a team-high three homer. He is second on the roster with four doubles and fourth with six RBI.
Rodriguez will make his second start of the season for the Indians on Wednesday, when he will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus. A roster move will need to be made to return him to the 25-man roster. He is already in Cleveland with the team. In his first start of the season, he worked five and two-thirds innings and allowed two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks on 91 pitches, but took the defeat against the Kansas City Royals.
DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
The Indians will kick off an unusual two-city road trip on Thursday, as they open a four-game series in Houston with the AL West’s best in the Astros. After the series, the Tribe will head south to Miami, where they will pick up their set with the Marlins with two in Florida after another off day on Monday. The Marlins will head east to Philadelphia, where they will play four straight with the Phillies before an off day on Monday ahead of their return home to Marlins Park.
Photo: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images