Indians look to take series in Baltimore
The Cleveland Indians have been carried by some stellar starting pitching and can take three of four games against the slumping Baltimore Orioles in the series finale Monday at Camden Yards.
Cleveland's rotation, consisting of 2017 Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco, has been dominant. Clevinger pitched a shutout Saturday and Kluber followed with his third straight win Sunday.
The team's bats are also starting to come around.
"We kept pushing and took some better swings," Indians manager Terry Francona said about the offense. "When we hit the ball the other way, we almost get more dangerous."
Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez has been one of the hottest hitters in the series and has homered three times in the past two games. He leads the Indians with seven home runs on the year.
"I try not to do too much," Ramirez said. "I just look for a good pitch and then I hit it somewhere."
Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) takes the mound for the finale. Carrasco won his first three starts before getting a no-decision in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota on April 16 in Puerto Rico. He allowed just three hits over seven scoreless innings. Carrasco struck out seven and walked just one batter.
Carrasco is 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA in five career games (four starts) against Baltimore.
The Orioles, who have lost nine of 10 and are 10 games under .500, will counter with Kevin Gausman (1-1, 6.60). After a slow start, the right-hander has pitched better in his last two outings.
Gausman allowed just two runs and nine hits with four strikeouts and no walks over six innings April 18 against the Tigers. He credited the recent success to altering his delivery where he brings his hands over his head during his windup
"I was doing my dry throws and started messing around with it and it felt really good," said Gausman, who is 2-2 with a 2.53 ERA in four career games, including three starts, against Cleveland. "Felt like I was landing in the same spot every time and like I was really reaching toward home plate."
Orioles shortstop Manny Machado has carried the offense and he homered twice on Sunday against Kluber. Machado has eight home runs on the season.
The Orioles received some good news on the injury front with Mark Trumbo (strained right quad) ready for a rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie this week.
"He's going to play three games in Bowie. I know that for sure," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "And the schedule calls for him to play three more with Norfolk. There's some chances he'll need more than that. This guy hasn't had a spring training, you know? And that requires him being OK from a physical standpoint."
Outfielder Trey Mancini is also making progress with right knee injury. It appears Mancini will avoid a trip to the DL.
"Trey is better," Showalter said. "I think that's heading in the right direction. We had that quick turnaround, didn't expect him to be (ready), then 1 o'clock today. But he's trending in the right direction.
Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer was scratched from lineup less than an hour from the first pitch Sunday with right ankle sprain. Rajai Davis replaced him and went 0 for 2. Zimmer could be back in the lineup Monday, Francona said.
Updated April 22, 2018