Series Preview: Cleveland Indians

MLB has officially ruled that the Mariners are allowed to play teams outside of Oakland. This week, they host the Cleveland Indians, who have yet to play against the AL West.

Current record: 4-4

Last game: vs. Kansas City. I don’t know what it is about teams facing the Royals right before they play the Mariners. There’s probably some significance behind that, but the A’s lost to the Royals, and the Indians swept the Royals, and then the A’s lost to the Mariners, so… I’ve got nothing.

If a 13-7 win against Kansas City sounds daunting, it is. If a 13-7 win with 15 hits and 4 home runs sounds terrifying, it is. However, the Indians have also lost every home game but one so far. Of course, that would be more reassuring if the Mariners were facing the Indians at Progressive Field, but I’ll take what slight comfort I can in knowing the Indians are far from invincible against teams not called the Royals.

Last series against Seattle: The Indians’ last match-up with the Mariners was in Cleveland, last season, on my birthday (September 19, since I don’t expect you to know that). Alex Liddi hit his first major league home run off David Huff. Mike Carp went deep against Chad Durbin. After seven innings and a 44-minute rain delay, the Mariners were awarded a 12-6 win.

Toughest player: Ichiro vs. Asdrubal Cabrera. To quote’s Adam Berry,

“Cabrera has hit .304 (17-for-56) with three walks, four strikeouts and zero extra-base hits in 60 career plate appearances against Millwood, by far the most any Cleveland batter has against the Mariners right-hander.”

Ichiro is currently 13-for-45 with 4 runs, 4 RBI, and 3 extra-base hits. In his last game, he went 2-for-4 with a single and an RBI double that scored the winning run.

Weakest link: Miguel Olivo vs. Michael Brantley. Olivo is 4-for-36 with a run, 3 RBI, and 8 strikeouts. Brantley is 7-for-34 with 4 runs, 3 RBI, and 3 strikeouts. Back in March, Kevin Goldstein projected Brantley as a center fielder with strong, if above average potential. With regards to his production at the plate, that potential is far from reaching its peak anytime soon.

Expected result: On the surface (by which I mean I haven’t been closely following the Indians’ development this season), these teams appear evenly matched. Still, I’ll go with a 2-1 split in Cleveland’s favor. Just for the optimistic Mariners fans out there, if any exist, I’ll go out on a limb and predict Miguel Olivo’s second run of the season will come against Derek Lowe. You heard it here first.

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