Inside the Wigwam: Series Preview

By: T.J. Zuppe

Cleveland Indians (32-49) at Texas Rangers (48-33)

Probable Pitching Matchups

Monday: LHP Aaron Laffey (1-2 – 5.55) vs. RHP Omar Beltre (0-0 – 6.75)

Tuesday: RHP Justin Masterson (3-7 – 4.85) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (6-4 – 3.34)

Wednesday: RHP Mitch Talbot (8-7 – 3.86) vs. RHP Colby Lewis (7-5 – 3.35)

News from the Wigwam:

Indians All-Star Pitcher Fausto Carmona

All-Star Carmona: On Sunday, Major League baseball unveiled who would be playing in the mid-summer classic in Anaheim, California coming up this month. The Indians lone representative was pitcher Fausto Carmona, who on the year in 17 starts is 7-7, with an ERA of 3.69 in 109.2 innings. Carmona will make his final start before the All-Star break in Tampa Bay on Friday against the Rays.

Here’s Looking at You Kids: Due to the great number of injuries to players like outfielders Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, as well as the trade of first-baseman Russell Branyan, the Indians have had to turn to more of a youth movement at the halfway point of the season. As a result, the Tribe now has six rookies on its roster, including pitchers Hector Ambriz and Frank Herrmann, outfielder Michael Brantley, infielder Jason Donald, and catcher Carlos Santana. Those six rookies rank the Indians third in the American League for most on a roster, behind the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers. Both of those clubs have seven rookies on their 25-man squads.

Fever Pitch’ing: The Indians starting staff and bullpen have come into their own over the last eight games. The starting-five in that stretch sports an ERA of 2.42 in 52 innings. The pen has been just as dominant, only allowing one run over the last 20 innings of relief work, thanks to Tony Sipp, who has not allowed a run in his last eight outings, and Rafael Perez who has allowed just one earned run in his last 15 appearances. Also pitching much better as of late has been Chris Perez who has a very respectable ERA of 1.98 since the first of June, and Kerry Wood, who is three for three in his recent save opportunities, and now has eight on the season.

Indians Catcher Carlos Santana

Santana Slipping: Santana has been experiencing his big league firsts since his call up to the Indians on June 11th. Now he has began to experience his first dry spell. In the last four games, Santana is hitting .083 (1-12) with two runs scored, and zero runs batted in. He has struck out six times in that stretch, compared to only eight in the previous 18 games. His average has dipped from .345 on June 30th, to .300 as of July 5th.

Turning Up the Texas Heat: The Indians have not fared well against the Rangers, since the opening of the Ballpark at Arlington. Overall, the Tribe is 36-45 (.444) in that park. However, things do not get much better no matter where the Indians and Rangers play. The Rangers are an astounding 43-33 in Progressive Field, and the lifetime series between these two clubs has not been pretty for the Indians either. Overall, Texas holds the edge by a wide margin at 223-187. The Indians lost two out of three against the Rangers at Progressive Field earlier this season, and lost eight of nine against Texas in 2009, including a three-game sweep in Arlington.

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