The Indians have been a very difficult team to predict all season and the last series was no different. After sweeping the Tigers last time the two teams played, Detroit flipped things around and swept the Indians this time. What makes this even more surprising was the utter dismantling by the Tigers considering their current losing streak coming into the series. The Indians have plenty of offensive weapons, but getting them all working at the same time is becoming a major problem as when Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana are finally starting to hit, Jason Kipnis and David Murphy have become completely useless at the plate. This series looks to be an opportunity for the Indians to start a new winning streak, but after their disappointing performance in Cleveland it is yet to be seen.
In Arizona, the Diamondbacks thought they would contend for the for the NL West title with their grit based lineup. It turns out talent is more important than fortitude as they are dead last in the West and one of a handful of teams that can be considered out of contention for a play-off spot. While they have been decent offensively, the D-Backs are worst in the Majors in runs allowed. Every move Arizona made this off-season seems to be boding ill as the Indians can look forward to facing another closer with an ERA above 4.00 and seeing pitchers bat.
Game 1: Tuesday, June 24th, 9:40 PM EDT (tickets)
Justin Masterson, RHP, 4-5, 4.75 ERA vs Wade Miley, RHP, 3-6, 4.62 ERA
The Indians will make use of the off-day to keep with their four man rotation and nine man bullpen. It will be Masterson’s fifth start in June, all of one of which have been excellent. Excluding his confusing 2 IP, 5 ER outing against Boston, Masterson has given up three runs in 19.2 innings during the month. In his last outing, he had no issues with the tremendous Angels lineup, allowing just four hits and one run against Los Angeles.
Arizona was expecting a lot from Miley this year and, while he leads the team in innings pitched, have not gotten much else. His one asset is that he has been able to go deep into games, saving the bullpen, but by the time he gives up the ball, the opponent often already has the lead.
Game 2: Wednesday, June 25st, 9:40 PM EDT (tickets)
Corey Kluber, RHP, 6-5, 3.30 ERA vs Chase Anderson, RHP, 5-2, 3.18 ERA
After allowing seven runs in his first two starts of June, Kluber has turned things back around and given up just four in his past 12.1 innings. In his loss to Detroit, he allowed just two earned runs and struck out six in seven IP, the Indians best starting performance of the series.
Anderson has been the D-Backs best pitcher to this point, making the jump straight from AA on May 11th. Since then, he has made seven starts, throwing at least five innings in each and allowing more than two runs just a single time against the power heavy Dodgers. He is not a strike out pitcher, but doesn’t walk many either, showing great control in his rookie season.
Who’s Hot? – Who’s Not?
One of few players to break out offensive against Detroit, Asdrubal Cabrera has continued heating up this June. Against the Tigers he hit a home run, four singles and a double with four RBI and over the past week he has knocked in six on six hits, including two home runs.
David Murphy broke a 0-25 against the Tigers Saturday with a single and a run scored, but has still went just 1/23 (.043) in the past week with one RBI and three walks. While Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis have been struggling of late, Murphy has seen the biggest regression from the first two months
On Deck: After a relaxing two day series in the sun, the Indians will get yet another off-day before heading back on the road to Seattle for three, starting at 10:10 ET, Friday night.