The Cleveland Indians have had a tougher time navigating the AL Central this season thanks to the presence of the surging Minnesota Twins at the top of the division. The Orioles have first-hand experience with just how good those Twins have been this year.
Cleveland’s struggles have largely been a result of a fledgling offense. They rank in the bottom five of the league in home runs (41), ISO (.133), batting average (.221), slugging percentage (.355), wOBA (.287) and wRC+ (74).
Some of the surprising lowlights include Jose Ramirez, his .195/.290/.312 batting line and 60 wRC+. Also, Jason Kipnis is hitting .209/.287/.286 and has yet to hit a home run in 24 games.
Jordan Luplow leads the team with a .560 slugging percentage and .280 batting average despite spending parts of the season in Triple-A. Francisco Lindor (.279/.316/.465) has been good yet again, but not quite up to his lofty standards
The Indians pitching staff, on the other hand, has been quite good. They are in the top 10 of the league in ERA (3.58), xFIP (3.98), K/9 (9.72), BB/9 (3.05) and WAR (6.5). It’s even better in the bullpen, where Brad Hand leads the way with a 1.53 ERA and 12.74 K/9.
Game 1: Thursday, 6:10 p.m. ET, MASN
RHP Dan Straily (1-3, 8.23 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (4-2, 3.02 ERA)
It has not been the easiest transition to Birdland for Dan Straily. The right-handed pitcher has now made two consecutive bad outings. His latest trip to the mound lasted just 4.1 innings as he gave up six runs on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts to the Los Angeles Angels.
Trevor Bauer is coming off of a 10-strikeout performance in which he did not allow any earned runs. The Cy Young contender has struck out 72 batters over 59.2 innings this season. For what it’s worth, Chris Davis has four hits in 13 at-bats (.308 batting average) in his career against Bauer.
Game 2: Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN 2
RHP Dylan Bundy (1-5, 5.31 ERA) vs RHP Jefry Rodriguez (1-2, 2.92 ERA)
The sooner we all accept that this is just who Dylan Bundy is, the better. The former top draft pick took his fifth loss of the season against the Angels over the weekend, allowing three runs on four hits, two walks and two strikeouts over five innings. This is becoming the expected sort of stat line from Bundy.
Jefry Rodriguez has been recalled from Triple-A three times this season and has made just four MLB starts. He has tossed at least 5.2 innings during each start and allowed no more than three runs.
Game 3: Saturday, 4:10 p.m. ET, MASN
LHP John Means (5-3, 2.33 ERA) vs. RHP Shane Bieber (2-2, 3.81 ERA)
Who else gets excited to watch John Means pitch? The rookie has pitched in 10 games this season as both a reliever and starter. He has allowed more than one earned run just once in those 10 games. The longer he goes without imploding, the more he looks like a real possibility to earn votes for Rookie of the Year.
Shane Bieber has had two difficult starts in a row coming into this game. Over his previous 12.2 innings, the righty has allowed eight runs on 15 hits, five home runs, one walk and 12 strikeouts.
Game 4: Sunday, 1:10 p.m. ET, MASN
TBD vs TBD
The Orioles doubleheader against the Yankees on Wednesday threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the starting rotation, as it often does. Andrew Cashner or David Hess could start here on short rest. Or perhaps one of Yefry Ramirez, Jimmy Yacabonis of Gabriel Ynoa could make a spot start in an opener-like role.
Carlos Carrasco is in position to start with an extra day of rest if Terry Francona sees fit. The righty last pitched on Tuesday. He has tossed 12 consecutive scoreless innings over his last two starts, striking out 12 and allowing eight hits in that same time.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Indians?
This poll is closed
0 (The O’s get swept)
4 (The O’s sweep the Indians)