The Cleveland Indians continue their six-game road trip against American League East opponents with a series opener versus the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre
Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays
Cleveland has dropped four of its last five games by averaging just 2.2 runs of offense, but still hold a comfortable six game lead in the American League Central division. The Indians were held scoreless in two of three games in Tampa Bay, including a 2-0 loss Sunday. “Certainly not the way you want to start a road trip, especially being shut out two of three games,” said Indians manager Manny Acta. The results weren’t all that surprising at Tropicana Field, as the club has dropped 10 of its last 12 visits. Offensively, outfielder Grady Sizemore must get things going since returning from the disabled list, striking out seven times in 12 at-bats. He is expected to play at least one game in the field during this series after spending time as the team’s designated hitter. Cleveland is 21-10 in night games this season.
Indians starting pitcher Fausto Carmona will be making his 12th start of the season Monday and brings in a 3-5 record and 4.73 ERA. The right-hander has dropped his last two outings versus the White Sox and Red Sox, giving up a combined 12 runs and 12 hits over 13 innings of work. Carmona is set to start on the road for the sixth time during the 2011 campaign, posting a 1-3 mark and 4.68 ERA. In three career outings versus the Blue Jays, he is a perfect 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA, including a 1-0 mark and 5.25 ERA at the Rogers Centre in two of those appearances.
Toronto was paced by Aaron Hill’s first career grand slam in a six-run first inning that led to a 13-4 blowout victory over the Chicago White Sox Sunday at the Rogers Centre. “It’s taken a while,” HIll commented on his first home run of the season. “It’s always nice. It relaxes you a bit to get one on the board and keep going.” The Blue Jays moved a game above .500 with the win and have posted a 3-1 record on their seven-day, seven-game homestand. Outfielder Jose Bautista continues to impress at the plate, leading the majors with 20 homers and is batting .384 at home. Bautista was 4 for 10 with two home runs and five RBIs as Toronto lost two of the three in Cleveland’s last visit July 30-August 1. Toronto is 19-11 when playing under the lights this season.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes could possibly set a major league record by failing to garner a win in his 29th consecutive start. “I’m not worried about the streak,” Reyes stated. “When I set on the rubber, all I’m worried about is executing the pitch.” The left-hander is coming off his shortest outing of the season, giving up five runs and five hits over just three innings of work in a 7-3 road loss to the Yankees. Reyes will be making his fifth start of the season at home, bringing in an 0-1 mark and 5.18 ERA. He has never faced the Indians in his career.
Bettors may elect to back the Blue Jays due to their 19-7 record in the first game of a series, while the Indians are 3-8 in their last 11 road games versus left-handed starters