Well, that was fun last night! Having won four in a row (and seven out of the last nine) the Tribe is flying high right now. In terms of the playoffs, they have gone from requiring a major miracle at 0.6% odds, to needing a minor miracle at 6.6%, according to Fangraphs. But hey, you see a lot more minor miracles than major miracles, right?
With Danny Salazar not due back until tomorrow following his illness, Josh Tomlin's turn in the rotation has been bumped forward a day. The 30yo has given up a bunch of homers in his first three starts back from shoulder surgery, but has otherwise been pretty effective, going at least 6 IP on each occasion.
The Tribe's offense will do battle with 32yo RHP Jered Weaver, who is nowadays a shadow of the pitcher who racked up 5.9 fWAR and 5.7 fWAR in 2010 and 2011 respectively. This year has seen a near 3 MPH drop in Weaver's average fastball velocity to under 85 MPH, but the fact that he is able to mix things up with a balanced four-seamer/sinker/slider/curveball/changeup combination means that on his day he can still get the job done, as he proved two starts ago when he went 6.1 scoreless innings against the White Sox. His home form hasn't been bad at all, but a 5.74 ERA on the road, with 13 homers allowed in 11 starts, seems to have been a serious problem this year.
|LOS ANGELES ANGELS||CLEVELAND INDIANS|
|Kole Calhoun - RF||Jason Kipnis - 2B|
|Mike Trout - CF||Francisco Lindor - SS|
|Albert Pujols - DH||Michael Brantley - DH|
|David Murphy - LF||Carlos Santana - 1B|
|C.J. Cron - 1B||Lonnie Chisenhall - RF|
|Erick Aybar - SS||Giovanny Urshela - 3B|
|Carlos Perez - C||Abraham Almonte - CF|
|Kaleb Cowart - 3B||Roberto Perez - C|
|Grant Green - 2B||Mike Aviles - LF|
|Jered Weaver - RHP||Josh Tomlin - RHP|
Not surprisingly, Roberto Perez replaces Yan Gomes at catcher, as is the norm when a day game follows a night game. With Michael Brantley clearly still struggling with his back injury, both in his fielding and on the basepaths, he is again being used as a DH today. Unfortunately, that means yet more Mike Aviles...