The first place Cleveland Indians come to town for a four-game series tonight, but they haven’t been in first place for long. Before a five-game win streak that ended with them sweeping their division rival Twins, they were a .500 team, just like the Orioles!
So far this season the Indians are scoring 4.7 runs per game, which is just about league average. That’s just a tick higher than the Orioles, who are at 4.6. Not so close are their runs allowed per game, where Cleveland is at 4.13 runs per game with the Orioles a horrible 5.4. What I’m saying is their pitching is better.
Leading the way for the Indians on offense are the 24-year-old third baseman Jose Ramirez and free agent signing Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion leads his new team with 16 home runs and that’s even with him coming off of a slow start to the season. He has been scorching hot in June, hitting .370/.483/.804 in 14 games.
Game 1 - Monday, 7:05 PM
Starters: Dylan Bundy (7-5, 3.29 ERA) vs Corey Kluber (5-2, 4.15 ERA)
Corey Kluber started the season looking a lot worse than the Kluber that we have all come to know, but since spending most of May on the disabled list, he has made three starts and had looked a lot better. In those three starts, Kluber has a 2.37 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 19 innings. That’s pretty good.
Bundy has been the only starter for the Orioles who hasn’t been an embarrassment, but the month of June hasn’t been as kind to him as the months of April and May were. He hasn’t pitched as deeply into games over three June starts and his last start against the White Sox was his worst start of the season. He gave up five runs (four earned) in just five innings.
So if you look at the trend for both of these pitchers, I understand if you’re worried.
Game 2 - Tuesday, 7:05 PM
Starters: Chris Tillman (1-5, 8.07 ERA) vs Josh Tomlin (4-8, 5.83 ERA)
Oh, Chris Tillman. Is he hurt? He is just ruined? Whatever the reason, he has been terrible. Just awful. In nine starts since coming off the disabled list Tillman’s ERA has gone up after every start except one. That’s not what you like to see. It seems like it’d be pretty hard to get your ERA up over 8.07, but I wouldn’t bet against him.
As for Josh Tomlin, he’s not been so great either, but at this point a 5.83 ERA wouldn’t look so bad in the Orioles rotation. Tomlin gives up his fair share of home runs, so if the balls are still flying out of the park like the did over the weekend against the Cardinals, the Orioles could get to him for a few big dongs. One thing Tomlin does not do is walk people, which is a shame.
Game 3 - Wednesday, 7:05 PM
Starters - Kevin Gausman (3-6, 6.60 ERA) vs Carlos Carrasco (7-3, 3.21 ERA)
Of the 40 American League starting pitchers with enough innings pitched to be considered qualified, Kevin Gausman’s 6.60 ERA is the highest. That is not a good list to be at the top of. In his start on Friday against the Cardinals, Gausman looked for a few innings like he might be on his way to a decent start, but it fell apart like it usually does for him.
With Gausman facing off against Carlos Carrasco, this game appears on paper to be a pretty big mismatch, although it seems like you could say that for most pitching matchups that feature an Oriole. Carrasco has consistently pitched well this season with two runs or less allowed in nine of his thirteen starts.
Game 4 - Thursday, 7:05 PM
Starters: Wade Miley (3-4, 4.29 ERA ) vs TBD
MLB.com currently lists both of these starters as TBD, but it’s hard to imagine that it won’t be Wade Miley taking the mound for the Orioles. As for the Indians, they played a doubleheader on Saturday which puts it more up in the air for them. My guess is that it’ll be Mike Clevinger.
Miley’s been the second-best pitcher on the Orioles, which isn’t to say that he’s been outstanding. He is walking a lot of guys. Like, a lot. After starting the season strongly, Miley has had a rough go of things this month, including a 5 2⁄3 innings, six-run start that just fell apart at the end for him.
Clevinger is in his second major-league season and has made eight starts this year with pretty good results. He wasn’t part of the plan for the Indians’ rotation, but first filled in admirably for Kluber in May and now is filling in for Danny Salazar, who went on the disabled list earlier this month. Clevinger is pitching to a 3.89 ERA this year though he doesn’t tend to go deep into games.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series?
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