Coming off a series sweep against the D-IAA Houston Astros, the Indians now have a tentative (1.5 game) hold over a Wild Card spot. That hold can be made much more secure with a winning record during the final two series of the year. Texas will be playing the Astros after they leave Cleveland and finishing the season against the Angels at home. They can't be expected to lose many of those games, so the Indians have a lot of winning left to do.
Game 1: Tuesday, September 24th 7:05 PM EDT
Hector Santiago, LHP, 4-9, 3.53 ERA vs Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, 12-9, 3.39 ERA
Game 2: Wednesday, September 25th 7:05 PM EDT
John Danks, LHP, 4-14, 4.75 ERA vs Danny Salazar, RHP, 1-3, 3.09 ERA
- With a Wild Card spot in hold, the Indians just have to win more games than the Rangers to keep it. This will probably equate to winning at least four of their last six. To pass the Rays, the Indians may have to win as many as five of six. A sweep in this short series would make both of those situations much simpler and nothing less should be considered satisfactory.
- The Indians have won 12 games in a row against the White Sox after sweeping three straight four game series. It is not completely out of line to think they could do it one more time. A sweep would give them 17-2 on the season, their best record ever against Chicago.
- The Indians took advantage of an off day Monday to move Jimenez up the rotation. This was done for a reason, as this was originally scheduled to be his last start of the year. By moving him up, he will be able to pitch the final game of the season if it is a must win game. If it isn't, the Indians could use it as a warm-up start for Justin Masterson or just fill it in with Josh Tomlin or Carlos Carrasco if it really doesn't matter.
- The change in rotation also sets things up better for the Indians. Santiago has been a far superior pitcher to Danks so far this year and the new alignment allows the Indians to send their best pitcher against him, saving Salazar for the more easily defeated Danks.