The Cleveland Indians have been tough, if not impossible, to figure out this season.
Injuries and poor play have really sidetracked a once-promising season. Yet, the Indians have somehow become fun to watch again since the Trade Deadline. Though they’re just 7-9 in August and 13-17 since the All-Star break, Tribe fans have gotten a glimpse into the future with strong performances by the long-awaited Francisco Lindor, along with Giovanny Urshela and Abraham Almonte.
It’s been a tough season, no doubt. But, as it always seems in Cleveland sports, there is a lot to be excited about for next year.
Getting the ball to start the series is Josh Tomlin, who took the hard-luck loss last week in Minnesota. In his first start of the season, Tomlin tosses 6.1 innings and allowed just two earned runs – both coming off solo home runs. He started four games in Triple-A Columbus before making his big league return, tossing 21.2 innings and posting a 4.22 ERA. The 30-year-old right-hander is 2-2 with a 5.64 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Tomlin has started 71 games for the Indians in his career, posting a record of 29-29 with a 4.86 ERA. He, like Cody Anderson, is much unlike the rest of the staff in that he makes his money off throwing strikes and getting groundballs. A powerful Yankees lineup – and the short porch in right field – mean Tomlin, more than anyone, has to live down in the zone if he expects to have any success in New York.
Toeing the rubber for New York will be Ivan Nova, who has won four of his last five starts. He did not pitch in last weekend’s series and has just one start – a no decision – in his career against the Tribe. Despite a higher ERA since the break (3.68 vs. 3.42), Nova has fared much better, posting a 4-1 record in the second half. He is 2-2 in four starts at Yankee Stadium this season.
New York sits two games in front of the surging Blue Jays atop the AL East as the Indians, losers of two straight, have fallen to 7.5 back in the Wild Card race. While bleak, their hopes of returning to the postseason remain a distant possibility.
And it starts with a win tonight. Here is the Tribe’s starting lineup:
News & Notes:
-The Tribe got their first taste of Jose Ramirez in the outfield last night, pitting their Opening Day shortstop against Fenway’s Green Monster. He has all the makings of a super utility man, one whose role could closely reflect the Indians’ Mike Aviles. Yet, Terry Francona is not ready to label Ramirez as a utility man, as he still believes the young infielder still has the ability to be an everyday player in the big leagues.
–Corey Kluber had a rare rough outing, allowing four home runs – two of them “pop ups” – to the Red Sox on Wednesday night. His strikeout of Alejandro De Aza, though, gave the former Cy Young winner his 200th strikeout of the season. Kluber became the first Indians pitcher with back-to-back 200-strikeout seasons since Bartolo Colon did it in 2000-2001.
-At just 19 years old, Indians’ prospect Bobby Bradley has shown unprecedented power in the minor leagues this season. His 26 round-trippers is already tied for fifth-most since 2006. He joins Joey Gallo (40) and Giancarlo Stanton (39, 28) on a list of only eight teenagers to have clubbed 25-plus home runs. Bradley is hitting .261/.348/.537 with the Lake County Captains this season.