Indians have enjoyed series success against Cardinals

The Cardinals' Lance Lynn and the Indians' Carlos Carrasco will face each other in the opener of the three-game series.

Tommy Gilligan - Rick Osentoski

Indians’ series success against Cardinals

The Cleveland Indians have never dropped a series to the St. Louis Cardinals, giving them one of the best marks by an AL club over an NL opponent since the dawn of interleague play in 1997.

Always close

AL, Best Record vs. Interleague Opponent — All-Time (minimum 20 G)

Team Opponent Record
Chicago White Sox vs. Reds 16- 4 (.800)
Los Angeles Angels vs. Rockies 20- 8 (.714)
Cleveland Indians vs. Cardinals
14- 6 (.700)
Boston Red Sox vs. Marlins 20-10 (.667)
Chicago White Sox vs. Dodgers 14- 7 (.667)
Seattle Mariners vs. Diamondbacks 14- 7 (.667)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Phillies 14- 7 (.667)

The Cardinals just lost their first road series of the season in Pittsburgh, but each game remained close. In fact, all 14 games St. Louis has played away from home this year have been decided by three runs or fewer, one of the longest streaks to start a season in history.

Patient Tribe

MLB, Most Consecutive Road Games Decided by 3 Runs or Fewer to Begin Season — All-Time

Team No. Dates
1924 Pittsburgh Pirates 18 04/15/1924 – 06/01/1924
1968 Pittsburgh Pirates 17 04/10/1968 – 05/21/1968
1971 California Angels 16 04/10/1971 – 05/10/1971
2015 St. Louis Cardinals 14 04/05/2015 – 05/10/2015 *ACTIVE*
1966 Chicago White Sox 14 04/19/1966 – 05/13/1966
2004 Montreal Expos 14 04/06/2004 – 04/29/2004

The Indians have one of the more patient and contact-heavy offenses in the sport.

Cleveland is the lone team in the American League with at least 100 walks (104) and fewer than 200 strikeouts (188). Only Kansas City has struck out fewer times this season (176).

Indians, MLB Ranks in Swing & Contact Rates — 2015

Category Stat Rank
Pct. Pitches Taken 57.2% 2nd-Highest (Bos, 57.8%)
Pct. Swings in Play 44.5% 3rd-Highest
Pct. Swing & Miss 18.4% Lowest
Pct. Swing 1st Pitch 22.8% 3rd-Lowest

Brantley making contact

Cleveland’s Michael Brantley has just three strikeouts in 105 times up this season. His rate of one strikeout every 35 plate appearances is almost 20 more than the next closest qualifier.

Cleveland’s Michael Brantley

Wong among second-base leaders

MLB, Most Plate Appearances per Strikeout — 2015 (minimum 3.1 PA/Team G)

Player Ratio
Michael Brantley, Cle 35.0 (105/3)
Daniel Murphy, NYM 15.6
Andrelton Simmons, Atl 15.1
Melky Cabrera, CWS 14.1
Nolan Arenado, Col 13.4

The Cardinals’ Kolten Wong, looking to extend his hitting streak to a career-long nine games, ranks near the top on a number of leaderboards for major league second basemen this season.

St. Louis’ Kolten Wong

From groundballs to strikeouts

Kolten Wong, MLB Ranks as Second Baseman — 2015

Category Stat Rank
AVG .324 4th   (min. 100 PA)
SLG .509 3rd   (min. 100 PA)
Runs 17 t-5th
HR 4 t-3rd
RBI 16 3rd
TB 55 t-4th

Indians starter Carlos Carrasco likes to work down in the zone, which not only results in tons of groundballs, but when combined with his devastating stuff, gives him a high number of punchouts. Carrasco is one of just four starters this year with a groundball rate of 50.0 percent and a strikeout rate of 29.0 percent (minimum 6 starts).

Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco

Lots of pitches per batter

MLB, 50.0%+ Groundball Pct. & 29.0%+ Strikeout Pct. — 2015 (minimum 6 GS)

Player, Team GB% K%
Chris Archer, TB 55.4% 29.9%
Michael Pineda, NYY 54.8 29.5
Clayton Kershaw, LAD 54.4 30.3
Carlos Carrasco, Cle 50.7 29.2

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn has not been able to put opponents away quickly this year, averaging well over four pitches per batter faced.

The Cardinals’ Lance Lynn

MLB, Most Pitches per Batter Faced — 2015 (minimum 1 IP/Team G)

Pitcher Ratio
Jose Quintana, CWS 4.17
Nathan Karns, TB 4.15
Danny Salazar, CLE 4.13 [4.131]
Lance Lynn, STL 4.13 [4.128]
Ubaldo Jimenez, Bal 4.12