The Cleveland Indians are supposed to be a good team, so are the San Francisco Giants. For as annoying as the Indians season as been, they are at least at the their top of bad division and can still easily turn it on and win by a dozen games. The Giants, not so much.
San Francisco has been several different kinds of awful this season, despite high expectations coming into the year. Madison Bumgarner hopped on a motorcycle, the offense forgot how to hit, and the once-mighty Giants now own the second-worst record in the majors.
The two disappointments will face off for a three-game series in San Francisco, meaning pitchers will have to hit and the games will start way past our bedtimes. I won’t blame you for skipping the games and just checking recaps in the morning. I probably would if I could.
Weather shouldn’t be an issue for the series, but it might be a little chilly for California standards — highs are not likely to eclipse 70 degrees and lows could dip as low as the mid-50s.
Monday, 10:15 p.m. ET: Matt Moore (LHP) vs. Josh Tomlin (RHP)
At one point, Matt Moore was a can’t-miss prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays. He projected to be the next great lefty, but like so many promising young pitchers, he underwent Tommy John surgery and it changed everything. He hasn’t been the same since going under the knife in 2014 and he was dealt to the Giants midway through last season.
This year with the Giants, Moore carries a 6.04 ERA and 4.80 FIP — both the highest of his career. Moore was walking a lot of batters even before Tommy John, and he has continued to do the same since. His biggest issue, though, is giving up home runs. Nearly 1.40 balls per nine innings of left the park against Moore, which brings us to the Indians starter...
...expect some home runs tonight.
Tuesday, 10:15 p.m. ET: Ty Blach (LHP) vs. Mike Clevinger (RHP)
Twenty-six-year-old Ty Blach started the season as a reliever, but was slotted into the rotation after Bumgarner went down with his dirtbike-related injury. Since then, Blach’s been... okay? Not great? He has had a couple good games, such as a complete game shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies, but he has also completely collapsed a few times, including three games with seven or more runs allowed.
It should tell you something about the Giants defense that Blach keeps the ball on the ground nearly half the time, yet opponents have a .298 BABIP against him. Maybe we will see some squeakers find their way out of the infield Tuesday night.
On the mound for the Indians will be one of their biggest surprises of the season, Mike Clevinger. He’s has been a savior in the Indians rotation. Just imagine the situation the Tribe would be in now with Clevinger struggling — it wouldn’t be pretty.
In his last five starts, The Flow has struck out 28 batters, walked 14 and allowed just five runs to cross the plate. He’s rarely made it deep into games, mostly because of his walks, but if he can get that figured out he’s a bonafide Dangerous Dude on the mound.
Wednesday, 3:45 p.m. ET: Matt Cain (RHP) vs. Carlos Carrasco (RHP)
Matt Cain has been with the Giants since he debuted in 2005, and unless he can prove something in the next couple months, he may have trouble finding work elsewhere after this season. Cain is the last year of a 5-year, $127.5 million contract, which could grow an additional $21.8 million if he pitches 200 innings this season (which isn’t likely).
Despite only being 32, Cain’s career has been in peril for several season now due to injury. He hasn’t eclipsed 100 innings pitched since 2013, and his ERA has been consistently in the high 5.00s for the better part of three years.
This season is the same story for Cain, but now he also can’t seem to strike anyone out. His strikeout rate is at 12.8 percent (lowest of his career) and he’s walking 9.2 percent of the batters he has faced (highest since 2008).
Carlos Carrasco has also had injuries issues in the past, but his have been seemingly random and not connected to a systematic arm injury. This season he carries a 3.65 ERA and 3.49 FIP with a strikeout rate of 28.1 percent, the second-highest of his career.
Josh Tomlin might be the Indians’ best hitter tonight
Based on the Athletics series, Josh Tomlin might be the biggest offensive weapon the Indians have tonight. The Tribe starter is 7-for-17 in his career with a double and a run batted in. As for the other Indians starters: Clevinger is 0-for-3 in his career and Carrasco is 1-for-15.
Francisco Lindor might be back
Francisco Lindor finished the A’s series with 4-for-4 night, including three doubles and a run scored. It’s only one game, but I’m looking for literally anything to optimistic about and Lindor is always a good choice. Maybe he can carry it into this series and start a second-half explosion.
San Francisco Giants roster
How many games will the Indians win against the Giants?
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