Series Preview: Indians Hit The Road For Weekend Set At Baltimore
At 30-24, the Cleveland Indians have the fifth-best record in the American League. Hoping to keep pace with the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, the Indians will try to take care of business as they head on the road to take on the Baltimore Orioles (19-37) this weekend.
This will be a three-game series between the two teams hosted by Baltimore at Camden Yards starting on Friday.
The Indians come into this one off of a big series win against the White Sox. They took two of three against Chicago, including a 6-5 victory on Tuesday. In that win, Austin Hedges hit his third home run of the season while Shane Bieber picked up his sixth win.
Thanks to a postponement Wednesday due to rain, the Indians have had two days off coming into Friday’s contest.
The Baltimore Orioles also enjoyed a series win earlier this week as they took two of three from the Minnesota Twins. On Wednesday, they beat Minnesota 6-3. In the victory, Ryan Mountcastle and D.J. Stewart both went deep for the Orioles.
The Schedule for the four-game series at Busch Stadium is as follows:
Friday, June 4 – 7:05 pm ET
Saturday, June 5 – 4:05 pm ET
Sunday, June 6 - 1:05 pm ET
Here is the pitching matchup for each game of the series:
Friday: Jean Carlos Mejia (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Keegan Akin (0-0, 4.80 ERA)
Saturday: Aaron Civale (7-2, 3.28 ERA) vs. John Means (4-1, 2.05 ERA)
Sunday: TBD vs. Jorge Lopez (1-6, 5.29 ERA)
Looking At Odds
The Cleveland Indians currently have the second-best odds of winning the AL Central at +420. They are +194 to make the playoffs.
The Orioles tie both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies with the worst odds to win their respective divisions. They are currently +30000 to win the AL East.
By The Numbers
Offensively, both of these teams fall in the bottom third of MLB. The Indians rank 20th in scoring averaging 3.98 runs per game. Baltimore ranks 23rd, averaging 3.84 runs.
On the defensive side, Cleveland has a bigger advantage. They currently rank 11th, allowing opponents 4.09 runs per game. Baltimore falls to 25th, allowing 4.95 runs per game.
Cleveland Looks To Stay Strong On The Road
Part of the reason for the Indians’ early success is their ability to stay consistent both at home and on the road. In fact, they currently have a better road record (16-12) than at home (14-12). They will look to take advantage of that road strength as they take on the Orioles at Camden Yards.
Leading the way offensively for Cleveland is third baseman, Jose Ramirez. This season, he is hitting .258/.345/.537 with a team-leading 13 home runs, 31 runs batted in, and 37 runs scored.
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez is a player to watch in this series as he has been one of the hottest Cleveland hitters in the last week. Over the last six games, he is hitting .250/.286/.550 with a couple of home runs and four runs scored.
Baltimore Trying To Find Glimmers Of Hope
Despite being only a third of the way through the season, Baltimore already sits 16 games out of first place in the A.L. East. With a poor 8-19 home record and just 2-8 over their last ten games, the Orioles have not had a lot to celebrate lately.
Even though they have struggled, Orioles’ fans look for glimmers of hope as the team rebuilds for the future.
Offensively, first baseman Trey Mancini has been quite the inspiration. After battling Stage 3 colon cancer all of last season, Mancini has been the Orioles’ best hitter this season. He is hitting .284/.361/.512 with a team-leading 11 home runs, 44 runs batted in, and 31 runs scored.
Indians Need To Take Advantage Of Soft Part Of Schedule
In what could be a divisional race that comes down to the wire, these are the types of series that the Cleveland Indians need to take advantage of if they hope to win the AL Central. While any major league club is capable of stringing some wins together, the Orioles have struggled, especially at home.
A series win here is a must for the Indians, but sweeping the three games shouldn’t be out of the question for Cleveland.
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