McAllister will be making his triumphant return to the big leagues in place of Jeanmar Gomez this time through the rotation. He is out of luck as the Indians will be facing rookie phenom Wei-Yan Chen who throws with his left hand, thus making him unstoppable. I wish this weren’t so, but it has proven infallible that the Indians cannot beat a left handed starting pitcher. With a loss the Tribe would move under .500 for the first time this season since game 9.
While the rest of the starting rotation has started putting things back together in the month of June, Derek Lowe has allowed them to fall apart. Already in 5 starts this month Lowe has allowed 21 runs and he will get one more in before it is over. Since he was able to hold one of the worst offenses in the National League to just three runs last time out, we can only guess what will happen against the AL East tested offense of the Baltimore Orioles.
Arrieta currently leads the league in runs allowed and losses, plus he has the all important feature of throwing the ball with his right hand so the Indians have a good chance at this one. They will probably be looking to end their 6 game losing streak by this time and there will be no better time to end it then here.
Josh Tomlin got blown up by the Yankees, but who didn’t. Let’s forgive and forget. Let’s forget the whole series ever happened actually. Tomlin threw well in two of the three starts before that game, so he seemed to be getting back on track. Against a much easier foe in a much easier ballpark, Tomlin should be able to find success.
Hunter missed his last start in the rotation and was used in relief against the Orioles on the 26th. He has only pitched 2 innings since June 19th, but has remained on the MLB roster the whole time. He is expected to make this start even though he has been unofficially removed from the rotation.
Like every other pitcher, Masterson saw a little regression in New York. He should fare much better this time out against a team that isn’t made up of a roster filled with people who were on BALCO’s e-mail list.
Like much of Baltimore’s pitching staff, Matusz has struggled this season. Lucky for him he will be pitching against the Indians and primarily using his left arm to do so. Hopefully Travis Hafner has been studying left-handers during his time off and will be ready for him so the Tribe can at least make this game interesting.
Possible Roster Moves: There will likely be a few changes to the Indians 25 man roster this series as they will need to make a move to bring up Zach McAllister for game one. Scott Barnes was the most recent addition to the bullpen, so he is an obvious choice, but the Indians are not limited to him. Tony Sipp should also be on a short leash as he has struggled with the long ball this season and the Indians are very deep in left handed relievers. Another move likely to occur before the end of the month is the return of Travis Hafner. Pronk has missed a month already, but is ready to come back as soon as he finishes a short minor league rehab assignment. The return of Hafner will likely see the demotion of an outfielder, possibly Aaron Cunningham or less likely, Shelley Duncan.