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Series preview: Indians vs. Mariners

May 28, 2015 -- 4:20pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Getty

What to know

Indians

  • The Indians (21-25) are 7-3 in their last 10, and are in fourth place in the American League Central Division.
  • The Tribe wrapped up a six-game homestand this week, going 4-2 overall, sweeping Cincinnati. They did, however, drop two of three to Texas.
  • Since being taken out of the Indians' leadoff spot on April 26, Michael Bourn is posting a slash line of .300/.374/.388 to go along with five doubles, three triples and 12 RBI.
  • On Wednesday, the Tribe routed the Rangers 12-3, recording a total of 17 hits in that game. Statistically, it was the Indians best offensive performance of the year.

 

Mariners

  • The Mariners (23-23) are coming off of a nine game road trip where they went 6-3.
  • In their last 10 games, Seattle is 7-3 while sitting in second in the AL West Division.
  • Nelson Cruz’s 18 homers lead the AL and also tie him for first in the Major Leagues with the Nationals' Bryce Harper. 
  • Seattle will have three lefties starting against the Indians this series, James Paxton, Roenis Elias and J.A. Happ.

 

Indians

Who’s hot – Jason Kipnis remains red-hot at the plate, hitting .414 (12-for-29) with five doubles, a triple, a home run and five RBI in his last seven games. Kipnis looks to finish May off strong, as he’s posted a .447 average to go along with 13 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 14 RBI. The second baseman this season has the third highest batting average in the AL, at .342. He’s also slugged five homers and 22 RBI.

Who’s not – Despite hitting .313 this season, Michael Brantley has been in a mini-slump, going 5-for-23 (.217) with three doubles and three RBI in his last seven. Brantely on Wednesday, however, had his first multi-hit game since May 15, going 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a walk.

 

Mariners

Who’s hot –  In his last seven games, Kyle Seager is 10-for-26 (.385) with eight RBI. Seager in that stretch has also hit four home runs, all of which have come in his last four games. The third baseman this season is posting a .275 average with nine homers and 29 RBI.

Who’s not – Brad Miller has struggled at the plate lately, going 2-for-20 (.100) in his last seven games. In that span he's walked four times and struck out seven. The left-handed hitting shortstop this year is hitting just .237 with five home runs and 14 RBI.

 

How they rank

RankIndiansRankMariners
 Pitching Pitching
22nd4.16 ERA14th3.79 ERA
18th22 Quality Starts8th27 Quality Starts
19th1.31 WHIP16th1.30 WHIP
20th.256 batting avg against12th.247 batting avg against
 Offense Offense
9th209 runs27th175 runs
14th.254 batting avg26th.238 batting avg
4th.332 on base percentage27th.297 on base percentage
10th.409 slugging percentage14th.403 slugging percentage
 Defense Defense
23rd32 errors15th27 errors
22nd.981 fielding percentage14th.985 fielding percentage
26th-16 defensive runs saved20th-9 defensive runs saved
28th-14.6 ultimate zone rating27th-12.0 ultimate zone rating

 

Series pitching matchups

 

Injury report

Indians – Pitchers Gavin Floyd (elbow) and Josh Tomlin (shoulder) are both on the 60-day disabled list.

 

 

 

Indians' offense erupts, crushing the Rangers, 12-3

May 27, 2015 -- 4:57pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/David Richard USA Today

 

It was an offensive barrage on Wednesday afternoon, as the Indians avoided a Texas Rangers sweep, beating them at Progressive Field, 12-3.

Quick Hits

  • Indians improve to 21-25 on the year.
  • Texas drops to 23-24 on the season.
  • Starter Carlos Carrasco picked up the win. He’s now 6-4 for the Indians.
  • Rangers’ starter Colby Lewis dropped to 4-3 on the season.
  • Michael Bourn, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis, each had three hits for the Indians.
  • The Rangers’ Leonys Martin and Adam Rosales each had a home run in the game.

 

Offensive eruption – The Indians’ offense ignited in the third inning, scoring eight runs on seven hits in that frame. It was a good display of a team stringing together hits in bunches, and then capitalizing on them when it counted. The Tribe overall on Wednesday, went 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position. As for the game, the Indians were able to score runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. They also recorded a season-high 17 hits -- the most since 2014. Out of those 17 hits, three of them were homers, as Nick Swisher, Carlos Santana and Chisenhall each had a roundtripper.

“Any time you put up eight, that makes for a good day, said Indians’ manager Terry Francona. “That was good. We spread it out. Everybody swung the bat. It allowed Carlos (Carrasco) to go out there against a lineup that has really been feeling good to not worry, throw strikes. “

Carrasco Outing – Carrasco on Wednesday picked up where he left off, throwing eight innings for the second straight time this season. In his 10th outing of the year, he allowed just one run on five hits, while walking one and striking out eight. Despite the Rangers’ batters hitting him hard, Carrasco appeared to have a good curve ball going, and really did a good job getting a head in the count.

Bourn identity – In Bourn’s last 17 games -- he’s hitting .360. At the plate, Bourn has looked more comfortable hitting lower in the lineup, compared to when he was hitting leadoff earlier in the season. Bourn, struggled in that spot, batting just .180 while recording an on base percentage of .254. Since being taken out of the leadoff spot on April 26, and being replaced by Kipnis, Bourn has hit .300 with a .360 on base percentage.

“This is my ninth year playing and I've been hitting there probably seven of those years,” said Bourn. “Kip (Kipnis) is doing an excellent job there. I'm not taking anything away from him. He's been hot. Wherever Tito lines the lineup at, man, I just play.”

A stat from left field – Rangers’ starter Colby Lewis became just the first pitcher in the Major Leagues since 2014 to allow 10 or more runs in 2 2/3 innings. The last pitcher to do such a thing? Lewis on July 10, 2014.

Worth quoting – “I’d take it any day. If we were staying for another week, it doesn’t matter. Today was the game we needed to play. I guess it makes for a better flight, because everybody’s in a better mood, but other than that we needed the win today.”–Indians’ manager Terry Francona

 

Up next

 

 

Indians news and notes before game No. 46 against the Texas Rangers

May 27, 2015 -- 11:26am

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

Team unity – Showing their support for teammate Mike Aviles and his daughter, the Indians have shaved their heads. Aviles’ four-year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this month, and is being treated at the Cleveland Clinic.

“It means a lot for me. It shows I'm kind of liked, or my daughter is, anyway,” said a smiling Aviles. “In all honesty, it's kind of cool when you have your whole team on your side. It goes without saying, everybody in here has families and they know how it is. It's a tough time, but to know that my team, the coaching staff, everybody, is on my family's side and my little girl's side, it helps out a lot and makes me feel good.”

Good to go – Indians’ first baseman Carlos Santana was hit by a pitch on the wrist in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Rangers, X-rays, however, came back negative. Santana is in the lineup and batting second in Wednesday’s noon affair.

“I was happily shocked,” said Francona on Santana. “I checked on him this morning about 8:10 and he said, 'I'm good to go.' I try never to be pessimistic -- I don't think that's my nature -- but I just didn't think that's how he was going to feel this morning. I was hoping that we weren't going to hear something like, 'Well, we're going to reevaluate him,' because he got smoked. He said he feels good.”

Salazar update – In the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s game, Tribe starter Danny Salazar suffered a cut on the middle finger of his right hand, after he threw a hanging slider that was hit for a three-run homer by the Rangers’ Prince Fielder.

Indians’ pitching coach Mickey Calloway, however, doesn’t feel like the cut will jeopardize Salazar’s next start, which will be in Seattle on Sunday.

“It’s a little tender today, a little sore,” said Calloway on Salazar’s right middle finger. “There’s a bunch of skin missing right there, so we’re going to take a day off from throwing today, get back to his bullpen tomorrow. Probably do something like all fastballs. It really bothers him on his off-speed pitches.”

“He really kind of yanks on that part of the finger. He should be fine for his next start. Just kind of get it from being so tender the next couple days and go back and make sure that he gets aggressive with his stuff again.”

Red hot –Fielder has been terrorizing opposing pitchers lately, hitting safely in 14 of his last 15 games and is 14-for-24 (.583) with five homers, three doubles and 15 RBI in his last five. 

 

 

Hagadone gives up a homer in 8th for the Indians second-straight loss

May 27, 2015 -- 12:59am

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

 

The Indians dropped their second straight, falling to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night at Progressive Field, 4-3.

Quick Hits

  • The Indians drop to 20-25 on the season.
  • Texas improves to 23-23 on the year.
  • Tribe starter Danny Salazar picked up the no decision.
  • Rangers’ starter Wandy Rodriguez also got the decision.
  • Reliever Nick Hagadone was charged with the loss for the Indians.
  • Texas’ Keone Kela picked up his fourth win out of the bullpen.
  • Closer Shawn Tolleson recorded his fifth save of the year for the Rangers.
  • Ryan Raburn went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and an RBI for the Indians.
  • Prince Fielder went 3-for-5 with a double, a homer and three RBI for Texas.

 

LVP of the game – Hagadone out of the gate looked pretty good, retiring the first five batters he faced. However, in the eighth inning and with one out, he gave up the go-ahead run on a solo homer from Mitch Moreland, giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead. It was the first earned run Hagadone had given up since May 12 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Salazar outing – Salazar pitched well Tuesday night. However, it came down to one inning where it hurt him the most -- that being the fifth. The right-hander started that inning off with an out, but after that, he surrendered a walk to the Rangers’ Leonys Martin, and hit Shin-Soo Choo with a pitch. He then gave up a three-run homer to Fielder on a 0-1 pitch.

Salazar gave up a single to Adrian Beltre, who was the very next batter, and was then met by the Indians’ training staff on the mound, after suffering a cut on his right middle finger. The cut was due to a slider he had thrown to Beltre. Overall, Salazar pitched well from the first to the fourth inning, striking out six in that span. However, the homer he gave up to Fielder was an 83 MPH slider that sat right over the plate. Out of Salazar's six strike outs, four of them were off changeups and the rest off high 90s fastballs.

Banged up –In the bottom of the ninth inning Carlos Santana was hit by a pitch from Tolleson. The pitch appeared to have hit him in the arm or elbow region. The Indians’ training staff came out and checked on him, but Santana appeared to be alright. After the game, Indians’ manager Terry Francona said that Santana took x-rays and everything appeared to be okay, but the team will give the first baseman another look on Wednesday morning to be safe.

Raging Raburn – In the first inning Raburn connected on his second homer of the season, sending a solo blast to right field off of Rodriguez. He also had a leadoff double in the third, raising his average this year against left-handed pitching to .356 with two homers and 13 RBI.

Red Hot – Fielder has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games and is 14-for-24 (.583) with five homers, three doubles and 15 RBI in his last five. 

A stat from left field – Entering Tuesday’s game, the Indians ranked third in the Major Leagues when it came to teams swinging the least at the first pitch. The Tribe this year has swung at the first pitch 23.1 percent of the time.

Worth quoting – “It’s a lot more fun to watch when I’m seeing it on ESPN rather than in person, but the guy (Fielder) is impressive right now and he’s reminding everyone just how good he can be when he’s healthy. It’s almost a surprise when he doesn’t get a hit, he’s that locked in right now.” – Indians’ Jason Kipnis on Rangers’ Prince Fielder’s hot hitting

 

 

Indians news and notes before game No. 45 against the Texas Rangers

May 26, 2015 -- 5:44pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

Putting in work – Before the start of Tuesday’s game, Indians’ reliever Zach McAllister was out on the mound with fellow pitcher Corey Kluber and pitching coach Mickey Calloway. The group was working on fielding and throwing over to first base. McAllister on Monday, made a costly throwing error in the seventh inning to first base, which resulted in the Rangers scoring the go-ahead run.

Indians’ manager Terry Francona, however, said it was just a normal day of pitchers’ fielding practice, and not the result of McAllister’s error on Monday.

“We messed some plays up yesterday, but it’s never a reaction,” said Francona. “We just try to on days we think it makes sense, try to touch up on fundamentals. Zach (McAllister) went out with Mickey (Calloway) a little earlier just to work on to continuing to move his feet and kind of stay in that athletic position.”

Where’s the love? – Major League Baseball released the first set of voting results for the American League All-Star team. The only Indians’ player on the list is outfielder Michael Brantley, who ranks ninth among outfielders with 484, 548 votes. Brantley this year for the Tribe, is posting a slash line of .315/.398/.510 while slugging four home runs and 27 RBI.

Another Tribe player who’s been playing well this season, but not in the top five in the AL for voting, is Jason Kipnis. The second baseman in May has been on fire, hitting .447 with 12 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 13 RBI.

“Those things have a way of taking care of themselves,” said Francona on Kipnis. “Generally speaking, the guys that are going to be leading those things are the major markets, the teams that are drawing. And that’s not us right now. Kip made it before based on his play. The way he’s playing now, I’d be surprised if he didn’t make it again.”

In the clear – Catcher Brett Hayes cleared waivers on Tuesday, and was outrighted to Triple-A Columbus. Hayes, who played in 14 games this season for the Indians, was designated for assignment on Sunday to make room for Yan Gomes. Gomes was coming off the 15-day disabled list after suffering an MCL sprain on April 11. Hayes, however, can refuse the assignment to Columbus if he chooses to do so.

 

 

String of errors in the seventh lead to the end of the Indians six-game winning streak

May 25, 2015 -- 9:13pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/David Richard USA Today

The Indians' six game-winning streak came to an end on Monday, as they fell to the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field, 10-8.

Quick Hits

  • The Indians drop to 20-24 on the season.
  • The Rangers improve to 22-23 on the year.
  • Tribe reliever Marc Rzepczynski picked up the loss.
  • Texas reliever Tanner Sheppers got his first win of the year.
  • Closer Shawn Tolleson recorded his fourth save.
  • Carlos Santana went 2-for-3 with a home run, an RBI and two walks for the Indians.
  • Prince Fielder went 3-for-5 with a double, a homer and three RBI for the Rangers.

 

LVP of the game – The Indians' bullpen looked well early on, however, once the seventh inning hit -- things took a turn. Tribe relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Zach McAllister each committed throwing errors at first base. The errors committed by those two, eventually resulted into two runs later in the inning, which gave the Rangers the lead. Texas then tacked on another run in the eighth inning, after McAllister gave up a solo homer to the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus.

"It's something where you can get a little rushed, thinking the guy might be moving down the line a little quicker than expected, trying to do too much,” said McAllister who allowed the go ahead run in the seventh off of a throwing error. “But, I mean, it's a play that has to be made. It's a play that should be made. And I just didn't make it."

Marcum outing – After winning his first start since 2013, Marcum on Monday struggled against the Rangers, lasting just 2 2/3 innings, while allowing seven earned runs on four hits. A big problem with Marcum early on, was that he was leaving his pitches up and over the plate. The biggest example was the back-to-back home runs he allowed in the first inning to Fielder and Adrian Beltre.

In the second inning, however, Marcum looked like he had settled in, retiring the Rangers next three batters in order. In the third he ran into problems once again, allowing two more runs -- this time off of a Mitch Moreland two-run single. Marcum’s day was over, but he was still charged with two more runs after Tribe reliever Ryan Webb gave up a two-run double to Andrus.

Answering Back – Despite the Rangers scoring 10 runs in the game, the Indians scored a few themselves, driving in seven in their first three innings. The Tribe’s biggest inning came in the second, when they scored four runs. In that inning catcher Roberto Perez hit a three-run homer for his fourth of the year and then it was followed up two batters later with a Jason Kipnis RBI double. However, when Rangers' lefty reliever Alex Claudio came into the game in the third, the Indians were only able to scor one more run -- and that was in the sixth inning off of a Michael Brantley RBI double.

A stat from left field – Santana’s homer in the first inning was his 103rd of his career. It also tied him for second all-time with Victor Martinez for most homers by an Indians’ switch hitter. Carlos Baerga sits at first in that category with 104.

Worth quoting – “After it was all said and done, it came down to a ball that was hit probably about 20-feet, and we talk about that a lot. You execute a really good pitch, on a really dangerous hitter, you got to get an out.” – Indians’ manager Terry Francona on McAllister’s throwing error in the seventh inning

 

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