Tribe Heads to Miami to Play Two More with Marlins
Bob Toth | On 30, Apr 2019
For the second week in a row, the Indians and Marlins will square up on the diamond as the Tribe heads to Miami for a quick two-game rematch with the fish from Florida.
The Indians (15-12) started their road trip strong with two solid pitching performances on Thursday and Friday to take the first two games of their four-game series with the Houston Astros, but with a chance to earn a series win over the final two days, the team could not deliver in a pair of close contests. The Indians dropped a 4-3 decision in ten innings on Saturday on a walk-off pinch-hit home run to the first batter of the inning, and a four-run Astros rally in the seventh inning on Sunday spoiled a strong start from Carlos Carrasco. The hitting woes have continued for the Tribe this season, as they own the worst batting average (.213) in the American League and have hit the second-fewest homers. The Indians start the series two and a half games in back of first place Minnesota in the AL Central.
The Marlins (8-20) had a tough trip to Philadelphia over the weekend, dropping the final three games of the four-game set. After earning a 3-1 win in the opener on Thursday, they were shut out 4-0 on Friday. A slugfest on Saturday went the way of the Phillies in a 12-9 loss and the Marlins dropped a chance to split the series on Sunday with a 5-1 defeat. Miami comes into the series as one of the worst hitting teams in baseball, owning a team .227/.284/.335 slash on the year. Their slugging mark is the worst in baseball, as they have hit the fewest doubles, the third-fewest homers, and are one of two teams without a triple (the Indians are the other). They are eight games behind Philadelphia in the National League East with the worst record in baseball.
PITCHING PROBABLES AND NOTES:
Bauer battled former college teammate Gerrit Cole deep into the ball game in his last start in Texas against Houston on Thursday, coming away with a win in a one-run, eight-inning effort. The 28-year-old looked good in his 2019 interleague debut on April 20 against Atlanta, when he allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and ten strikeouts in a tough no-decision in game two of a doubleheader that day. He has faced the Marlins just once in his career, earning a win behind eight and one-third innings of three-run baseball in 2016.
The 23-year-old Alcantara will face the Indians for the second straight outing. In the series finale last Wednesday from Cleveland, he earned a no-decision after giving up one run over five innings with four walks and a pair of strikeouts. He will look for his first win since his season debut on May 31 against Colorado.
Kluber will make an interleague start for the second time in his last three outings. Command has been an issue for the 33-year-old right-hander, whose mechanics have led to an unusually high number of walks for the usually steady righty. He took a no-decision his last time out, working five innings and allowing three runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts against Houston. In 25 career interleague starts, Kluber is 15-7 with a 2.73 ERA, but he has never faced the Marlins. After this start, the only two teams that he will have never faced in the Majors are the Indians and the San Francisco Giants.
Smith is off to a good start in his third big league season. The 27-year-old third-year southpaw will make his sixth start and look to build upon some solid stats on his card, including a 0.83 WHIP, a K/9 rate of 11.5, and a BB/9 rate of 2.2. He struck out eight over six one-run innings in a no-decision against Philadelphia last Thursday.
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:
Greg Allen (OF) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (4/28)
Mike Clevinger (SP) – 60-day injured list (4/9) – right upper back/Teres major muscle strain
Jordan Luplow (OF) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (4/28)
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; on rehab assignment
Lewis Brinson (OF) – optioned to Triple-A New Orleans (4/30)
Garrett Cooper (OF/1B) – activated from 10-day injured list (4/30)
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
ALL-TIME HEAD-TO-HEAD – series even at 10-10
AT PRO PLAYER STADIUM
June 18, 2002 – Marlins 4, Indians 0
June 19, 2002 – Marlins 2, Indians 1
June 20, 2002 – Marlins 3, Indians 0
AT JACOBS FIELD
June 8, 2004 – Marlins 7, Indians 5
June 9, 2004 – Indians 8, Marlins 1
June 10, 2004 – Marlins 4, Indians 1
AT DOLPHIN STADIUM
June 12, 2007 – Marlins 3, Indians 0
June 13, 2007 – Indians 7, Marlins 3
June 14, 2007 – Indians 3, Marlins 2
AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD
May 18, 2012 – Marlins 3, Indians 2
May 19, 2012 – Indians 2, Marlins 0
May 20, 2012 – Marlins 5, Indians 3
AT MARLINS PARK
August 2, 2013 – Marlins 10, Indians 0
August 3, 2013 – Indians 4, Marlins 3
August 4, 2013 – Indians 2, Marlins 0
AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD
September 2, 2016 – Indians 6, Marlins 2
September 3, 2016 – Indians 8, Marlins 3
September 4, 2016 – Indians 6, Marlins 5
AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD
April 23, 2019 – Marlins 3, Indians 1
April 24, 2019 – Indians 6, Marlins 2
*Shutouts have decided six of the 20 regular season contests between the two clubs, which also met for seven games of the 1997 World Series.
VETS LEADING YOUNG MARLINS
Neil Walker has hit in five straight games for the Marlins, but he is dealing with a hamstring injury that could limit him during the coming series. The 33-year-old first baseman is hitting .533 in that stretch with eight hits and four walks, but has scored just one time and has failed to drive in a run. He had three of those hits, including one double, against the Indians last week. On the year, Walker is hitting .260 with a .345 on-base percentage, hitting four doubles and three homers while driving in four runs in 27 games.
Martin Prado homered against the Indians last week and went 2-for-7 in the series with two of the Marlins’ five RBI for the set.
Shortstop Miguel Rojas has also hit in five straight games for Miami. He has single hits in all five contests with two runs batted in. He went 1-for-8 against the Indians last week, getting a single in the finale. In 26 games this season, Rojas is hitting .286 with a .394 OBP with six doubles and eight RBI.
Jorge Alfaro has hit a pair of homers in the last week, including one against the Indians during the Marlins’ trip to Cleveland. He has seven hits in his last 21 at bats, driving in three runs and scoring four times. He enters the series as the Marlins’ top home run threat, leading the club with five blasts on the year. Not much for the walk, he has drawn just two in 79 plate appearances this season while striking out 28 times. The young catcher came to Miami in the spring as part of the return from Philadelphia for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Former Indians farmhand Jon Berti went hitless against his former organization (0-for-5) after getting called up by Miami a week and a half ago. He ended his weekend on a better note, getting three hits over the last two games of the series with Philadelphia while driving in his second run of the campaign.
WRAPPING UP ANOTHER ROADIE
Jose Ramirez’s hitting woes at the plate have been much discussed since late last season. Those issues seemed to go away against the Marlins, as he went 4-for-8 in nine trips with a double, a homer, and four of the club’s seven RBI in the series. The better play has helped pull his season batting average up closer to the Mendoza line, where he remains a dozen points short.
Jake Bauers has found a hot stretch at the plate for the Indians. He has hit in five straight games for Cleveland, putting up a .353/.389/.529 mark in that span with six hits, a walk, a homer, and two RBI. Strikeouts have snuck into the equation, however, as he has been cut down in six of his 17 at bats during that streak. Bauers is now hitting .238 for the year with three doubles, three homers, and ten RBI. He is second on the team in RBI and tied for third in walks.
Carlos Santana had an uncharacteristic series against the Marlins last week, going 0-for-8 with two strikeouts. He remains the team’s best hitter this season, posting a .300/.422/.422 slash with five doubles, two homers, and 14 RBI.
Leonys Martin has hit a career-high five home runs this month and is the team leader in round-trippers. He is hitting .232 on the year and has added four doubles and eight RBI.
TAKE ME HOME
As the calendar flips over to May, the Indians will head back home to Cleveland after a day off on Thursday. They will open a seven-game homestand with a three-game date with the Seattle Mariners on Friday, wrapping up their season series with the Pacific Northwest opponent just six weeks into the season. Following the Mariners to town will be the Chicago White Sox, which will play in four straight from Monday through Thursday before the Tribe takes an unpleasant road trip to Oakland and Chicago in what only amounts to lazy work by season schedulers.
The Marlins will also enjoy a second off day this week on Thursday before wrapping up their brief five-game homestand with a three-game divisional matchup with the Atlanta Braves. Miami will then get back out onto the road, playing four in Chicago with the Cubs and three next weekend against the New York Mets.
Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images