A series sweep against Chicago has placed the Indians in an extremely good position to move into first in the Wild Card race, a feat they could accomplish with a good series against Kansas City. The two Wild Card leaders will be playing each other in a four game series while the Indians are taking on Royals. This provides an amazing opportunity, not only to knock the Royals from the race for good, but to surpass one of the two teams. At just a half game back from both Wild Card teams, the Indians are guaranteed to take over one of the two Wild Card spots with a series win. Because the Rays and Rangers are playing a four game series against each other, at least one team must lose two games. If they both lose two and sweep the series the Indians could take over the number one Wild Card spot with a series win in Missouri.
Game 1: Monday, September 16th 8:10 PM EDT
Scott Kazmir, LHP, 8-8, 4.24 ERA vs James Shields, RHP, 11-9, 3.38 ERA
Game 2: Tuesday, September 17th 8:10 PM EDT
Corey Kluber, RHP, 9-5, 3.55 ERA vs Danny Duffy, LHP, 2-0, 1.85 ERA
Game 3: Wednesday, September 18th 8:10 PM EDT
Danny Salazar, RHP, 1-2, 2.66 ERA vs Bruce Chen, LHP, 7-3, 3.11 ERA
- Still in the hunt, the Indians will yet again need to win this series against their Central Division rivals. While they could probably lose the series and still be in the running, there hasn't been a better chance for the Indians to take over the Wild Card lead than this one.
- The Indians will have to prove that they can beat any left handed starter, not just those on the White Sox. Bruce Chen has pitched against the Indians three times, but only once as a starter and the Indians have yet to face Duffy.
- James Shields was almost unhittable last time he played the Tribe, which was also his last start. It is lucky for the Tribe that their most unreliable starter will be pitching that game as the Indians could lose the first game and still win the next two behind two of their best starters.
- Getting an early lead is going to be pivotal in each game as all three Indians starters going have not been able to go deep into games in recent starts. With the expanded relief corps, this won't be a big deal as long as the Indians are winning by the fifth or sixth inning. Josh Tomlin and Carlos Carrasco have both succeeded in (limited) long relief roles and they both may be needed in this series.