After Detroit Sweep, Indians Move On To Baltimore

After sweeping the Detroit Tigers during the week, Michael Brantley and the Cleveland Indians will look to continue to change their fortunes as they visit the Baltimore Orioles for a four-game set, starting Thursday.

After sweeping Detroit during the week, Michael Brantley and the Cleveland Indians will look to continue their good run as they visit the Baltimore Orioles for a four-game set, starting Thursday.

While Thursday is getaway day for a host of major league clubs, the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians will begin a four-game series in Baltimore.

First pitch at Orioles Park at Camden Yards is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

A year ago, Cleveland (22-25, 7-14 road) surprised most by making an unexpected push for the postseason, ultimately coming up just short in Terry Francona’s first year in charge of the club.

Things haven’t been quite so rosy this year, as the Indians have struggled to remain consistent. That could be about to change though.

20140521_AL_CentralOn Wednesday afternoon, the Indians defeated the Detroit Tigers 11-10 in 13 innings, completing a three-game sweep of the runaway AL Central leaders.

Outfielders Michael Brantley and David Murphy combined to go 6-for-13 with seven RBIs and four runs scored, as the Indians cycled through nine pitchers in the 5 hour 16 minute game. Chris Tomlin (3-1, 2.91 ERA) – originally scheduled to be Thursday’s starter – recorded the win.

The final run came in unlikely fashion as the Indians benefited from an Al Alburquerque balk with the bases loaded, enough to send Asdrubal Cabrera in for the win.

While the sweep isn’t enough to have completely changed the Indians’ fortunes, it’s more than enough to act as a catalyst for the team to begin climbing the standings. They’ll look to build on it as they begin a seven-game road trip on Thursday.

20140521_AL_EastLike Cleveland, Baltimore (23-21, 9-10 home) had a solid season a year ago, but that hasn’t necessarily translated to this season.

The Orioles have been fighting for top spot in an incredibly tight AL East, but a recent run of poor form has seen the side falter somewhat, and slide ever so slightly down the standings. There’s no need to hit the panic button just yet, but the O’s could do with winning as many out-of-division games as possible.

The Orioles fell 9-8 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday to split a short two-game series with the Buccos.

That makes it seven losses in the last 10 games for Buck Showalter’s side, which returns home for this series with Cleveland before hitting the road for 10 games.

The Orioles have lost their last four at home, a stretch that included a three-game sweep by Detroit last week. They’ll be looking to put the halters on that trend, starting Thursday.

Wei-Yin Chen (5-2, 3.69 ERA) is scheduled to take to the mound for the Orioles. The left-hander has made a solid start to the year, as demonstrated by his win-loss record, but there’s been a touch of luck about things.

Chen has allowed four or more hits in every game this season, and has averaged better than seven hits a game. Fortunately he’s had the run support needed to record wins.

In his last outing, a 2-1 road win for the Orioles against the Kansas City Royals last Thursday, Chen allowed one run on seven hits, recording one walk and one strikeout in 5 1/3 innings.

After a long game on Wednesday, Cleveland – which is 5-11 vs. left-handed pitching – could be in for a tough outing against Chen and the Orioles.

With Tomlin pitching three innings, and recording the win, against the Tigers on Wednesday, Cleveland will now have to find an alternative. At time of publication, the team was still undecided.

Francona could opt to go with the next starter in his rotation, Justin Masterson (2-3, 5.06 ERA). Masterson last pitched on Sunday, but only threw 70 pitches in 4 1/3 innings as he was tagged for seven runs on seven hits against the Oakland Athletics.

Alternatively, the Indians could try to patch together something with the bullpen, but with the whole pen having taken to the field on Wednesday, that could be a tricky option. That would leave the team to make a call-up.

Whoever pitches could be in for a tough outing. The Orioles’ bats have been hot of late. Nelson Cruz had three hits on Wednesday and has hit homers in back-to-back games; Chris Davis had a three-homer game against the Pirates on Tuesday; and Adam Jones had a 14-game hitting streak going until posting an 0-for-4 night on Wednesday.

Wei-Yin Chen (5-2, 3.69 ERA) will pitch for Baltimore on Thursday.

Wei-Yin Chen (5-2, 3.69 ERA) will pitch for Baltimore on Thursday.

Cleveland Indians vs. Baltimore Orioles odds for 05/22/2014

Playing at home, Baltimore (-147) opened as the favorite over Cleveland (+137) on the moneyline. The gap between the two has narrowed in light of the Indians’ sweep of the Tigers.

The Indians have won just three of their last 13 road games but could be looking forward to playing at Camden Yards; the club has won in four of its last six visits to the ballpark.

The total opened at 8.5 with the under expected to pay out.

The total has gone under in seven of the last 10 head-to-head meetings between the two clubs, as well as four of the last five they’ve played in Baltimore.

Game 2 of the series will take place on Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. The weekend portion of the series will see a pair of afternoon games.


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