For the eighth time this season, the Indians were able to come from behind in a three game series to win it, as they disposed of their last true challenge of the year against Baltimore. The Indians will face a much weaker foe next, in the New York Mets, but that doesn't mean they can take things easy.
The Mets are without their ace and NL All-Star starting pitcher, Matt Harvey, but still will throw a couple of very good young starters against the Tribe in the first two games. The series should be anything but familiar to the Indians as the Mets have only played against Cleveland in nine games in franchise history (the second least of any current team outside of the Dodgers). Historically, the Indians have not fared well (2-7 with a four game losing streak), but both teams have changed considerably since they last met in 2010. An interesting note is that the starter of the second game the last time the two teams met is still the same as Jonathan Niese will be taking the mound New York yet again. Of course, this time he won't have the luck of facing Mitch Talbot.
Game 1: Friday, September 6th 7:05 PM EDT
Zach Wheeler, RHP, 7-3, 3.36 ERA vs Scott Kazmir, LHP, 7-7, 4.36 ERA
Game 2: Saturday, September 7th 6:05 PM EDT
Jonathan Niese, LHP, 6-6, 3.66 ERA vs Corey Kluber, RHP, 7-5, 3.54 ERA
Game 3: Sunday, September 8th 1:05 PM EDT
Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP, 0-3, 10.95 ERA vs Danny Salazar, RHP, 1-2, 3.00 ERA
- For the rest of the season, the only team the Indians play that is currently above .500 is Kansas City. This doesn't mean the Indians can take things easy now that they are out of a difficult stretch against Atlanta, Detroit and Baltimore. The Indians need to win every series for the rest of the year, starting with this one at home against New York.
- There are a couple interesting pitching match-ups in the upcoming series, including former Clipper Matsuzaka taking his former teammate Salazar. Each time Salazar made a spot start, Matsuzaka was an option and the Indians decided against it. This game will be the perfect single game experiment to see if they were right. So far, things look good for the Tribe on that front.
- Game one will be almost the opposite with the Indians sending out a tired veteran to face the Mets strong young rookie. This will be, by far, the hardest to win of the three games, so if they can somehow over come, they would be able to push for the sweep.
- All current Wild Card contenders (except the Yankees) will be playing poor teams that are currently below .500, so a series win is necessary just to keep up. A sweep may be enough to gain a game.
- Terry Francona will now have to deal with the problem of keeping a 21 man pitching staff fresh. Corey Kluber will be activated prior to his start, giving the Indians a six or seven man rotation (depending where Josh Tomlin fits) and 15 relievers. A smart man would stick with eight or nine good relievers and let the others just gain experience watching from a Major League bench.