The Cleveland Indians are on the verge of their longest win streak in five seasons but are heading on the road, where victories haven’t been plentiful lately.
A matchup with the NL’s worst team Friday night would appear to help Cleveland’s chances, but the Miami Marlins have played relatively well of late and will have All-Star right-hander Jose Fernandez on the mound.
Cleveland (60-48) hasn’t won nine in a row since a 10-game streak Aug. 17-27, 2008, but is close to pulling off that feat after sweeping a homestand against Texas and the Chicago White Sox. Ryan Raburn homered twice and drove in four runs in a 6-1 victory over Chicago on Thursday.
“The thing about it, which I enjoy, is the fact that every night it’s somebody different. That shows you the kind of chemistry we have,” infielder Mike Aviles told the team’s website. “We’re always rooting for each other. It shows you the type of depth we possess right now. It’s a fun way to win every night. Something different.”
Raburn is hitting .409 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last six games, and Yan Gomes is 11 for 18 with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs in his last six.
While they’ve helped push Cleveland’s home winning streak to 11, the club has dropped six of eight on the road. The Indians have batted .242 in that stretch but are hitting .307 over their last eight games.
Cleveland also has a 2.28 ERA during the win streak, and Ubaldo Jimenez (8-5, 4.17 ERA) helped by giving up two hits over eight innings in a 6-0 victory over Texas on Sunday.
“It’s good competition,” Jimenez said of the Indians’ pitching success. “You don’t want to be the guy who goes out there and doesn’t pitch well. Everybody wants to pitch a good game.”
In the Indians’ first visit to Marlins Park, Jimenez will seek to win back-to-back starts for the first time since a three-game win streak April 29-May 11. However, he’s failed to get through six innings in six straight road starts, going 0-1 with a 4.60 ERA in the last three.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.98 ERA in four career matchups with the Marlins.
He’ll face a team that has hit .172 in its last five games but has won seven of 11. Miami has a 2.55 ERA in that span following a 3-0 victory over the New York Mets on Thursday.
The Marlins (42-65) now try for a season high-tying third win in a row behind Fernandez (7-5, 2.71), who looks to earn a career-best third straight victory.
Fernandez, who has a 2.14 ERA in his last three starts, set a team rookie record with 13 strikeouts and gave up two runs over eight innings Sunday in a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh.
“We’ve seen Jose kind of get to that next level. He was able to do that and he dominated. It was nice,” manager Mike Redmond told the team’s website.
Fernandez will face the Indians for the first time while the Marlins will have their second matchup with Cleveland in as many seasons. Miami took two of three from the Indians from May 18-20, 2012.
Cleveland won its final two games in its most recent visit to Miami in 2007 after losing five straight there, beginning with Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.