Series Preview: Cleveland Indians hope to beat up on woeful Pirates

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – AUGUST 01: Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the Minnesota Twins on August 1, 2020 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Tuesday Aug. 18, 7:05 p.m. EST

Probable Starters: Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 3.22 ERA) vs JT Brubaker (0-0, 3.38 ERA)

Carlos Carrasco will make his first career start against the Pirates Tuesday to open the three-game set.

The only current Pirate to have faced Carrasco is former Royal Jarrod Dyson, whose hitting .211 lifetime against the Cleveland right-hander.

In his last start, Carrasco struggled as he tossed just 4.1 innings against the Cubs and had trouble staying in the strike zone as he walked five Cubs in a losing effort. Prior to the rough day against the Cubs, he had worked at least six innings in each of his starts this season.

One concern for Carrasco heading into Tuesday’s game are his struggles away from Progressive Field.

In 2019 his road ERA was a woeful 6.23, while he pitched to a 4.39 ERA at home. This year has started with a similar trend as has a 4.50 road ERA and a 2.76 at home.

On the positive side, Carrasco should benefit from the return of starting catcher Roberto Perez. Perez is expected to make his return on Tuesday, following a stint on the injured list and the demotion of outfielder Oscar Mercado to the alternate site.

Pittsburgh will send JT Brubaker to the mound for just his second big league start and first against the Indians.

No current Cleveland hitters have faced him in the majors. However, he’s spent part of the last past seasons with the Pirates Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis, where he’s faced several current Indians while they were in Columbus.

With an inexperienced pitcher on the mound, this should be a golden opportunity for the Indians to tax the Pirates bullpen early in this series.

Brubaker has been susceptible to right-handed batters who are hitting .364 against him this season. This should benefit the few right-handed specialists in the Indians lineup like Reyes and Perez.

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