Bring on the second half! The Indians should be well rested coming off their four day vacation (except for Jason Kipnis who only had three days off). The Indians will start the second half just 1.5 games behind Detroit and in a good position to make a move, playing their next two series and four of their next five series against teams below .500. Minnesota is on the slate first and the Indians have fared well against the Twins so far this year, with wins in each of their first two series. The Indians also come into this series with a four game winning streak and Jason Kipnis riding high off his spectacular All-Star Game appearance.
Game 1: Friday, July 19th 8:10 PM EDT
Scott Kazmir, LHP, 5-4, 4.60 ERA vs Mike Pelfrey, RHP, 4-7, 5.55 ERA
Kazmir earned the first start of the second half with five straight decent games, including a dominating start against Kansas City last time out. Kazmir has vastly improved this season, but is still the Indians most unpredictably starter, with a large variance between his best starts and his worst. His performance in his first few starts this half will go a long way to deciding whether the Indians need to bring up Trevor Bauer or Danny Salazar, or if they can wait things out the way they are right now.
Like Kazmir, a few good starts have earned Pelfrey the first start coming out of the break. He has faced the Indians once this year and won one of the Twins only two wins (in six games) against the Tribe this year. This game could go either way as both pitchers have went to extremes this year.
Game 2: Saturday, July 20th 7:10 PM EDT
Corey Kluber, RHP, 75, 3.88 ERA vs Kevin Correa, RHP, 6-6, 4.23 ERA
An amazing start last time out pushed Kluber's ERA under 4.00 for the first time since his worst start of the year, when he allowed six runs to Baltimore. This will be his third start this year against the Twins, both times he went 5.2 innings and gave up just three runs. Kluber has improved immeasurably this year and should have no problem with the light hitting Twins.
Correa pitched against the Indians early in the season (back when his ERA was still under 3.00) and took the loss, giving up four runs in five innings. That was a turn around game for Correa who has given up at least three runs in all but three of his 12 starts after that.
Game 3: Sunday, July 21st 2:10 PM EDT
Justin Masterson, RHP, 10-7, 3.72 ERA vs Scott Diamond, LHP, 5-8, 5.32 ERA
The Indians ace could have started the first game back, but will enjoy the extra rest as he has certainly been overworked during the first half of the season. Since Masterson didn't pitch in the All-Star Game (he was being saved for extra innings) he will have 10 days off between starts. This may hurt him in his first game back, but it will likely help him through the rest of the season as the Indians make a play-off push.
Diamond is yet to face the Tribe this year, but they have seen the Canadian left hander in the past. Mark Reynolds in particular has had some success, going 3-3 so far with a home run and a double. Reynolds has been in a super slump of late, dropping his batting average from .291 on May 12th to .218 going into this series. His three hits through July makes him the player most wanting to put the first half behind him.