The Dodgers travel to Progressive Field to take on the Cleveland Indians for their first interleague series of the 2017 season on Tuesday afternoon. I know weird schedule isn’t it? This road trip will see the Dodgers stay in Ohio as they take on the Tribe and then bus over to Cincinnati to play the Reds for the weekend before returning back to Dodger Stadium.
So the Dodgers are coming off a high after sweeping the Reds over the weekend with a couple of more exciting come from behind victories. Corey Seager won two of the three games with his first walk-off hit of his professional career (What??) and a go-head game winning grand slam home run. Lost in that shuffle was Kenley Jansen recording his 200th save as well. Don’t ever forget what a beast he is.
After a much needed off-day for everyone, the boys in blue land at the Jake by the lake, or whatever they call it. With the Rockies’ loss to the Pirates on Monday night, the Dodgers gain a half game in the standings and are now just one game behind Colorado for first place in the NL West.
The Indians are in second place too, but aren’t doing nearly as well as the Dodgers are. They have a 31-29 record and are one game behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central race. Cleveland is only 14-15 at home this season and has a 3.78 ERA with 300 strikeouts as a home pitching staff. The Dodgers have one of the best road pitching staffs in MLB with a 3.57 ERA and a .240 batting average against. They rank fourth and have a 14-15 record on the road themselves. While the Dodgers have won 4 in a row and six of their last ten games, the Indians have lost six of their last ten games.
In the first game, Clayton Kershaw will battle right hander Trevor Bauer. The 26-year old Bauer has had a somewhat poor season while still putting up great swing and miss rates. The former Arizona farmhand can still strike guys out at a tremendous rate. Bauer has struck out 76 in 62 frames for an 11.0 K/9 rate. He’s walked 25 and is allowing 3.6 BB per nine as well. The reason for his 5-5 record and 6.10 ERA has been all the hits, home runs and base runners he’s allowed.
Bauer has allowed 9.7 hits per nine (67 in 62 frames) and 11 home runs. Bauer is mostly a four-seamer, sinker and cutter guy, but can also mix in a change, or slider. Bauer has faced the Dodgers twice in his career and has a 1-0 record with a 2.31 ERA against them. The current Dodgers are just 5 for 12 against Bauer.
Bauer vs. Dodgers
As for Kershaw, you know he’s had some issues with his slider this year. Yet he’s still 8-2 with a 2.20 ERA in 13 starts. Everyone thinks there’s something wrong with him. Because why does Kershaw have an ERA above 2.00? That seems so un-Kershaw like for him to have an ERA above 2.00. Yet Kershaw’s 2.20 ERA is the best in the majors. Oh and Kershaw has pitched 90 innings and allowing 6.7 hits per nine innings which is right on par with his career mark of 6.6.
Kershaw has also struck out 101 and walked only 14 this season. One potential trouble spot is the 12 home runs he’s allowed. Kershaw has made only one start against the Indians and allowed four earned runs on four hits across five frames while striking out five. Kershaw has a 12-4 record with a 2.22 ERA in 28 career interleague starts.
The second game will feature Brandon McCarthy on the mound for the Dodgers against former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber for the Tribe. McCarthy has actually made ten whole starts this year for the Dodgers without exploding. He’s actually pitched well with a 5-3 record and a 3.28 ERA in 57.2 innings of work. McCarthy has given up only 15 walks and 4 home runs while striking out 51. He’s allowed just 7.6 hits per nine and struck out 8.0 per nine. Those are impressive numbers for a guy who is constantly injury riddled. McCarthy is 6-5 with a 3.98 ERA against the Indians and he is 4-1 with a 3.70 ERA in 9 career games at Progressive Field.
McCarthy vs. Indians
Kluber has not pitched anywhere near a Cy Young winner this year. Kluber is 5-2 with a 4.38 ERA in 8 starts. He’s had some troubles but still pitched well. He’s allowed 8.6 hits per nine innings pitched and struck out 59 over 49.1 frames. His 16 walks give him a 2.9 BB per nine rate. He’s allowed seven home runs.
Kluber has made just one start against the Dodgers in his career. In that outing he allowed just one earned run over 6.2 innings and struck out five. Kluber is 35-22 with a 3.06 ERA and 513 whiffs in his career at Progressive Field.
Kluber vs. Dodgers
In the third game which will be on way too early on the west coast will see Rich Hill taking on right hander Josh Tomlin. Both pitchers have struggled this season to find their game. Hill has struggled with control while Tomlin has struggled with well everything else.
Hill has had issues with his command walking 21 over 31 frames. Without the walks he’s still pitched fairly decent. Overall he has a 3-2 record with a 3.77 ERA in 7 starts. He’s struck out 31 and allowed just 4 home runs and 24 hits.
Hill has pitched against the Indians in 35 appearances but has not made a start against them. At Progressive Field he has tossed 25 innings and posted a 1-1 record with a 5.76 ERA. Of course Hill pitched for Cleveland back in 2013, making 63 relief appearances.
Rich Hill vs. Indians
Josh Tomlin has had a horrendous season. He’s posted an 8-3 record with a 5.73 ERA in 12 starts. He’s given up a ridiculous 85 hits in 66 innings and posted an 11.6 hits per nine rate. However he has struck out 44 and walked only 4. That gives him an 11-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Unbelievable. Tomlin has never faced the Dodgers but has a 4.52 ERA in 16 interleague starts.
Tomlin vs. Dodgers
Meanwhile the draft is going on and the Dodgers have selected an outfielder in the first round. The Dodgers chose Vanderbilt outfielder Jaren Kendall with the 23 overall pick. The left handed hitting Kendall batted .307 with 15 home runs and 53 runs batted in while stealing 20 bases as a junior for the Vanderbilt baseball club in 2017. The 21-year old was also rated as the sixth best outfielder in the draft by Baseball America.