The Cleveland Indians had a fun weekend in Detroit, as they swept the doors off the Tigers in three games. They outscored the Tigers by a margin of 25 to 6 over the course of three-game series. And if they want a shot at catching the Minnesota Twins, that has to be the goal for the Indians in a majority of future series this season.
It’s going to have to come against much better teams than the Tigers. The Tigers are struggling in a rebuilding season and the Indians were able to take advantage. Sometimes all it can take is a weekend like that against a bad team to jumpstart things.
They stay on the road, heading south to Texas for a meeting with the Rangers in Arlington. This is going to be more a challenge and measuring stick against the Rangers. The Rangers have a much better offense, certainly more dangerous at the plate than the Tigers are. The Indians’ pitching was strong over the weekend, but against the Tigers, it isn’t much of a barometer to judge success.
The Indians advanced to 37-33 in the AL Central, which still has them down by 10 games. The Twins are still the clear favorites with a record of 47-23. Cleveland will have to pick away and take it day-by-day to get back in the hunt. Mike Clevinger will make his much anticipated return to the starting rotation this evening in Texas.
Clevinger was only two games in when he came up gimpy with a back injury. He was flying through hitters and the only thing to slow him down was some back pain. Clevinger is back, though, and the Indians need him to return to form if they’re going to have a shot at the division. Along with Clevinger, Corey Kluber will have to return strong as well. Clevinger gets the nod tonight, while the Rangers will opt for veteran Lance Lynn. Head below for our free Indians vs. Rangers pick.
Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers Pick:
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It was a tough blow to the Indians in early April when they had to put Clevinger on the IL. Along with Clevinger, Trevor Bauer was mowing down hitters at that point as well. Everything was looking up for the Indians again in 2019. Then Clevinger exited the starting rotation, Kluber broke his arm on a line drive, and Bauer regressed considerably. Bauer has shown signs of getting back his mojo recently, and if Clevinger can get his feet back on the right track, the Indians will start to be looking up suddenly.
Clevinger was an underrated option for the Tribe in 2017 and 2018, but he was as consistent as they came. He posted ERA’s of 3.11 and 3.02 the past two years. After playing 12 innings of scoreless baseball, he looked determined to improve even more and get offered a nice pay increase in the future. Along with no runs allowed, Clevinger had a standout 0.50 WHIP and .143 OBA as well.
In 12 innings of action, he gave up just 2 hits and 4 walks. Dating back to last season, Clevinger hasn’t surrendered more than 3 runs since July against the Yankees. He returns against a team he has had major success against in the past. The Rangers are hitting just .150 with 1 home run against Clevinger in 60 at-bats.
This looks like the perfect opponent for Clevinger to return against given that level of success. However, the Rangers have certainly been a dangerous offensive unit this year. It’s likely not going to be as easy as that on Monday. The team as a whole has had success over the Rangers in the past.
They’re 10-3 in their previous 13 meetings. Lynn hasn’t been anything special at home, as he sports an ERA of 4.91 and 1.42 WHIP in 36.2 innings. Clevinger looked strong in his rehab stint with Akron and he should look good again tonight. Consider the Indians on Monday night in Arlington.