Cleveland Indians-Toronto Blue Jays Series Preview

Cleveland Indians-Toronto Blue Jays Series Preview 6/30-7/3

The first place Cleveland Indians (47-30)  head north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays  (43-37) in a four-game series. The Indians enter the series with a commanding six-game lead in the American League Central Division over the Kansas City Royals. They are also riding a 12-game winning streak, their longest since 1982. The Blue Jays enter the series having won their last two and are tied with the Boston Red Sox for second in the American League East, 5.5 games behind the front-running Baltimore Orioles. They are also tied for the Wild Card with Boston. 

Pitching probables for the series are:

Thursday (6/30): RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-2, 2.73 ERA) vs RHP R.A. Dickey (5-8, 4.23)
Friday (7/1):  RHP Josh Tomlin (9-1, 3.32) vs RHP Marcus Stroman (6-4, 5.33)
Saturday (7/2): RHP Trevor Bauer (6-2, 3.19) vs RHP Marco Estrada (5-3, 2.81)
Sunday (7/3): RHP Corey Kluber (8-7, 3.50) vs LHP J.A. Happ (10-3, 3.70)

The Indians have enjoyed the best starting pitching in baseball the last couple weeks and will look for that trend to continue despite facing a good Blue Jays lineup. Carrasco is coming off a complete game shutout in his last outing against the Tigers while Josh Tomlin will look for his team-leading 10th win on Friday, which is a rare day game thanks to it being Canada Day. Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber both have thrown complete games in the past two weeks as well with Kluber throwing nearly his second in as many starts Tuesday night.

The Indians offense will get their first look at a knuckleballer this season when veteran R.A. Dickey takes the hill for the Blue Jays in the opener. The Indians will also have to face Marco Estrada this weekend who has the fifth-lowest ERA in the American League at 2.81. The Indians will not have to face All-Star slugger Jose Bautista at the plate though as he is currently on the disabled list with a toe issue.

The Tribe offense enters the series averaging over five runs a game in the month of June and outscoring their opponents by 65 runs in 27 games. The offense has been led by red-hot rookie Tyler Naquin who has hit .344 since being called back up in June with a ridiculous .787 slugging percentage. His six home runs in the month of June are tied with Francisco Lindor for second-most on the team behind Carlos Santana (seven).

The Indians will look to tie a team record tonight with their 13th straight victory, a mark they equaled twice before in 1942 and 1951. The Tribe is also 21-6 in the month of June after starting the month with a six-game winning streak. It’s been the best month for the Indians since they went 21-6 in September 2013 when they won the final ten games of the month to secure a playoff spot. This will also be the first time the Indians have faced the Blue Jays since long-time General Manager/Team President Mark Shapiro left the club. Following the series, the Indians will return home for a seven-game homestand before heading into the All-Star break.