If the Indians want to avoid losing eight in a row and slipping further behind in the AL Central race — and potentially the playoff picture — they’ll need to find a way to play better against the Cubs this time around.
The last time these two teams faced off, the Indians were outscored 14-3 with the Cubs scoring seven in each game. One of those clunkers included Adam Plutko, who is no longer a starter, but the other was against tonight’s starter Carlos Carrasco.
Both games this series feature the lovely 8:15 p.m. ET start time, meaning you’ll have to stay up late if you want to watch James Karinchak chew on his glove and drop a hammer curveball.
The white-hot White Sox have all but locked up the division, but the Indians can still catch the Twins for second place, whatever that’s worth. First they’ll need to learn how to hit, stop their six-game skid, and start winning again.
Team in a box
2020 Pittsburgh Pirates
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 8:15 p.m. ET: RHP Yu Darvish vs. Carlos Carrasco
Halfway through the six-year deal he signed with the Cubs in 2018, Yu Darvish is getting back to the ace-quality pitcher he used to be — and then some. He currently sports a 1.77 ERA and his ability to limit hard contact is among the best in baseball. A lot of it can be attributed to his cutter usage, which has spiked to 45% this season and helped him reach a career-high 33.6% strikeout rate. He has only allowed more than one earned run in two starts this season, including his outing last week against the Reds.
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 8:15 p.m. ET: LHP Jon Lester vs. Aaron Civale
It’s been a rough couple years for Jon Lester, but he looked great against the Brewers in his last outing, striking out eight and walking two in 6.0 innings of shutout work. The 36-year-old in the twilight of his career should be hittable by any MLB lineup, but the Indians haven’t proved to be one for a while so we’ll see.
Jason Kipnis, 2B - Despite a career-high 32.7% strikeout rate, Jason Kipnis is having one of his best offensive seasons ever in his first year out of Cleveland. The Chicago native is slashing .256/.365/.465 for a 122 wRC+. Over a full season that would be his third best output since becoming a full-time starter in 2012. He’s aided by a bit of BABIP luck and every single Statcast measurement shows that his success isn’t going to last forever, but right now he’s enjoy success and I couldn’t be happier for him.
How many games will the Indians win against the Cubs?
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