James Paxton (SEA) vs Mike Clevinger (CLE)
James Paxton did not pitch very well in his last outing. He allowed five runs in four innings against the Rangers. Before that game he actually pitched well against the Astros and earned his first win on the season allowing only one run in six innings. Such is the life of the average MLB pitcher. Paxton has been very average this season. He did, however, lose to the Indians once already this year. That was thanks in part to a grand slam by Yonder Alonso.
Mike Clevinger had the best start of his career against the Orioles last weekend. Clev tossed a complete game shutout. He allowed only four men on base that game with three strikeouts.
Clevinger is off to an incredible start to 2018. While his strikeout numbers certainly won’t blow you away, it is hard to argue with a 1.75 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP through his four starts. Clevinger has never faced the Mariners in his young career, but you have to like his odds against them if he continues to play as well as he has so far this year.
Erasmo Ramirez (SEA) vs Corey Kluber (CLE)
Erasmo Ramirez made his first start of the season on Sunday. It was bad. He allowed two homers along with five more runs in only 4.2 innings. Now he faces a Tribe team that has given him trouble in recent years. In the last three years Ramirez is 0-2 against the Indians in three starts. His ERA is a modest 2.79 against Cleveland in that span. Ramirez has potential to pitch great games as we have seen him do so in his career, but he faces a tough challenge on Friday.
Part of the reason facing Cleveland can be so tough is because sometimes you have to face Corey Kluber. As we saw on Sunday, even when Kluber has a human outing he is still hard to beat. Corey Kluber surrendered three runs in the win against Baltimore on Sunday, two of them via the long ball against a guy named Manny Machado, who is also pretty good at baseball. Kluber will look to return to his robot form against the Mariners team that beat him in that hard-luck loss on Opening Day.
Mike Leake (SEA) vs Carlos Carrasco (CLE)
Mike Leake got off to a strong start this year, but his last two outings have been anything but good. He allowed eight runs on 12 hits his last time out and only made it through 3.1 innings. He looked good against the Tribe in his first start by going seven innings and allowing only two hits. His ERA sits at 6.59 but that is thanks to those two aforementioned tough starts in his last two games.
Carlos Carrasco earned his first win of the year against these same Mariners back in that first weekend of the season. While it wasn’t his best game, he has been absolutely dominant since. Carrasco is 4-0 on the year and has seemingly gotten better with every single game. In his last outing he tossed 7.1 innings with seven strikeouts. That strikeout number has gone up in almost every outing since his first start where he had only four.
Marco Gonzales (SEA) vs Josh Tomlin (CLE)
Marco Gonzales has struck out eight hitters in back-to-back starts. This will be his first start at Progressive Field as he faces the Indians for only the second time in his career; his first as a starter. Gonzales spent two seasons with the Cardinals before coming to Seattle. He only started six games in St. Louis and has now become a full-time starter in Seattle. He gave the Mariners six innings without a run in his last start and will look to better that against a new team for him.
There isn’t much more to say about Josh Tomlin than what I have already said in previous articles. His start to 2018 has been abysmal and his tenure with the Tribe could be running on fumes. He has allowed eight homers in 12.2 innings this season. Fans just have to hope the old Tomlin comes around soon or it could be a long Sunday in Cleveland.