It’s been 32 years since the surging Cleveland Indians swept a
four-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
To pull off that feat, the Indians will have to figure out how
to beat another one of the Mariners’ top starters, Hisashi Iwakuma,
on Monday afternoon.
Cleveland (25-17) jumped on Seattle ace Felix Hernandez early in
a 6-0 win Sunday. The Indians scored five runs in the first two
innings en route to earning their 17th victory in 21 games and 12th
in their last 14 at home.
“We’re loose and we’re not holding nothing back,” outfielder
Michael Brantley said. “Everybody has smiles on their faces. We
just want to make sure we enjoy this. We’re playing great baseball
right now and we just want to keep it up.”
Brantley drove in four of those runs, three on his second home
run of the season. The Indians are 7-1 against Cy Young Award
winners this season.
“We just take it as a challenge,” first baseman Nick Swisher
said. “We’ve got that scrappy-type and gritty-type of team. It may
not always be pretty, man, but somehow we’re going to find a way to
get it done. We just love coming to the ballpark right now. …
Things are rocking.”
Cleveland will next face Iwakuma (5-1, 1.84 ERA), who now has
the best ERA in the Mariners’ rotation. The right-hander has
allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts and has
pitched at least seven innings in winning each of his last three.
He’s also struck out 26 and walked only three over 27 innings in
his past four games.
Iwakuma walked none and gave up two runs over seven frames in
Wednesday’s 12-2 rout over the New York Yankees.
In his only start against Cleveland, Iwakuma gave up one run
over 5 2-3 innings but did not get a decision in a 3-1 win Aug. 22.
This time, he’ll try to prevent the Indians’ first four-game sweep
of the Mariners since Aug. 27-30, 1981, at the old Cleveland
Cleveland has won five straight over Seattle (20-24) at
Progressive Field, its longest home win streak in the series since
a six-game run from 1999-2000.
Scott Kazmir (2-2, 5.33) will try to help keep that going while
rebounding from his first loss in three outings. The left-hander
gave up four runs over five innings in a 6-2 defeat in Philadelphia
on Tuesday after posting a 2.65 ERA in his previous three
“I was just pretty much fighting myself all game. I never really
got into a rhythm,” he said.
Kazmir has allowed three runs over 12 innings while winning each
of his first two home starts with Cleveland. He’s 3-3 with a 3.27
ERA in nine career starts against the Mariners, but hasn’t faced
them since May 28, 2010.
Along with trying to deny Cleveland the series sweep, Seattle is
seeking to avoid its first four-game skid since Sept. 28-Oct.