The Cleveland Fan on Facebook

The Cleveland Fan on Twitter
Indians Indians Archive Last Place Indians Head To Texas
Written by Adam Burke

Adam Burke

indians rangers_2The precipitous fall is complete. The Indians, who were in first place on June 23, are now in last place. They were 37-33 after 70 games and are now 59-82 after losing three out of four to the Minnesota Twins to put themselves in a tie for the cellar in the American League Central Division. Over their last 71 games, the Indians are 22-49. Now, they head to Texas to open a three-game, mid-week series against the Rangers.

Texas, owners of the best record in the American League at 83-57, has the best run differential of any AL team at +114. Yet, as good as they’ve played, the Rangers are just 3.5 games ahead of the surprising Oakland A’s in the AL West race. With the Indians awful road record of 27-45 and the Rangers best home record in the AL at 43-25, this doesn’t look to be a very enjoyable series for the Tribe.

The two teams have split six low-scoring meetings this season, with all six games in Cleveland and just 48 combined runs. The Indians lost two of three in May, but won two of three during their last homestand. With the struggles of Tribe pitchers this season, a trip to the hitter-friendly confines of Arlington does not bode well for the final series of this road trip.

Here are the pitching matchups:

jimenezhoustonTuesday September 11, 8:05 p.m. ET; Ubaldo Jimenez (9-15, 5.58) v. Matt Harrison (15-9, 3.37)

Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound, trying to avoid becoming the first 16-game loser for the Indians since Greg Swindell during the 1991 season. Of course, Swindell lost 16 games in spite of a 3.48 ERA in his 33 starts. It looks like that’ll be difficult for Jimenez, who has been positively awful on the road with a 7.14 ERA and positively awful since the All-Star break with a 7.43 ERA.

Matt Harrison, the 6’4” southpaw, takes the mound for the Rangers, looking for win #16. After really emerging as a quality starter last season, Harrison has followed it up with another strong year for the Rangers. Three of his 27 starts have been complete games and he has been terrific in 18 night starts with a 2.84 ERA.

Jimenez has actually pitched well in his two outings against the Rangers this season, though both of them came at home, where he has been much better. In those two starts, Jimenez is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA. The Rangers are the only AL team he has not allowed a home run against. Harrison has actually struggled against the Indians, with a 5.17 ERA in three starts. He has not faced the Indians yet this season.

gomez1Wednesday September 12, 8:05 p.m. ET; Jeanmar Gomez (5-7, 5.33) v. Ryan Dempster (5-1, 4.36)

Jeanmar Gomez will make his third start since his return to the rotation on September 1, when he beat the Rangers 4-3. Gomez was not good in his last start, lasting just three innings, allowing four runs on three hits and three walks. In seven of Gomez’s 15 starts, he has allowed four runs or more. Gomez is one of the Indians pitchers with the most to prove, as there will be rotation spots open next year and he should consider September to be his audition. Over Gomez’s last 67.1 innings, he has a 6.02 ERA after ending April with a 2.35 ERA.

Ryan Dempster struggled in two of his first three outings after being traded to Texas from Chicago, where he had spent the last eight seasons as a Cub. In his last four starts, he has looked more like the pitcher the Rangers thought they were getting, throwing 24 innings and allowing just six runs, striking out 28. All four of those starts have been wins for Dempster, who looks comfortable and is poised to be a big part of the Rangers’ playoff run.

Gomez beat the Rangers back on September 1, going 5.2 innings and giving up two monster home runs. In his other start against the Rangers this season, he went seven innings and allowed three runs. Dempster will be facing the Indians for the second time in three starts, having thrown six innings, allowing one unearned run, and just two hits on August 31 in Cleveland. In Dempster’s long career, he has only faced the Indians four times, and no current Indians player has more than five at bats against him.

mcallister2Thursday September 13, 8:05 p.m. ET; Zach McAllister (5-7, 4.31) v. Derek Holland (10-6, 4.59)

Zach McAllister’s rapid regression continued in his last start against the Minnesota Twins when he lasted just three innings and threw 87 pitches. McAllister has thrown quality starts in just two of his last seven outings. Since the start of August, McAllister has a 6.08 ERA and has given up nine home runs in 40 innings. In his previous 10 starts, McAllister had been the Indians best starting pitcher, posting a 3.18 ERA. His season appears to be a microcosm of the team’s as a whole.

Since Derek Holland’s ERA reached a season-high 5.18 following his August 5 start against Kansas City, he has regained his focus and has given the Rangers some quality innings. In those six starts, Holland has posted a 3.05 ERA over 41.1 innings of work, and has struck out 39 batters.

McAllister was rocked by the Rangers in his last start, giving up seven runs on 11 hits in five innings. He also gave up four home runs, including three solo shots in one inning. Holland has been tremendous against the Indians, winning three of his five starts and posting a 2.25 ERA.


Keys to the Series:

1. Find Some Offense – The Indians won’t beat the Rangers by outpitching them. They’ll have to find a way to outhit them. Please try to stop laughing before reading the second key to the series.

2. Find Out About The Kids – With two lefties and a very tough righty to face in this series, the Indians’ minor league call-ups will get tested by some good arms. It would be beneficial to the Indians to give the young guys as many at bats as possible, especially against quality pitching.

3. –Ez Does It – Jimenez and Gomez are both making pretty important outings in the month of September. It looks like there’s a decent chance that Jimenez will make five more starts, giving him a very good shot at losing 20 games, as they come against the Rangers, Tigers, Royals, and two against the White Sox. Gomez is pitching for a chance to be in the 2013 rotation.


Player to Watch:

The player to watch for this series is Russ Canzler. Canzler has swung a pretty good bat thus far with 10 hits in 30 at bats. With an opening in left field, DH, and possibly first base, Canzler could be putting himself in a position to get some playing time next season.


Wishful Thinking:

Try not to get swept.


Central Focus:

Chicago and Detroit face off in a huge series in the Windy City while the Royals and Twins duke it out for no particular reason.


One Last Thing...:

As usual, there are some pretty good races going on in baseball as the teams head for the postseason. Also, as usual, the Indians aren’t a part of it. Good luck to the Double-A Akron Aeros in their Eastern League Championship Series against the Trenton Thunder.

The TCF Forums