Yankees-Indians Preview

Trying to stop losing streaks has been a large problem for the

Cleveland Indians since the All-Star break.

Attempting to create winning streaks after doing so has proven

equally challenging.

The Indians seek back-to-back wins for only the third time since

the Midsummer Classic on Sunday when they wrap up a three-game

series with the visiting New York Yankees.

Cleveland (55-71) was a pleasant surprise the first half of the

season, mainly staying above .500 and going into the All-Star break

44-41. The second half has been a prolonged, torturous fade to

obscurity for the Indians, who avoided being the first team since

2006 to have two 10-game losing streaks in the same season – both

coming since July 27 – after winning 3-1 on Saturday night.

“It’s been rough,” said closer Chris Perez, who worked the

ninth for his 33rd save. “I’ve never been through something like

this. I was here in 2010, when we were pretty brutal – but we were

brutal all year. To go from competing to all of a sudden three

weeks later … it was just a free-fall.”

Ubaldo Jimenez (9-12, 5.59 ERA) will try to help the Indians win

back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 8-9, and also will

try to merely keep the ball in the park. The AL loss leader has

allowed a career-worst 23 home runs in 143 1-3 innings, including

five in his last three starts.

All three runs Jimenez allowed Monday at Seattle came on the two

home runs he yielded in 5 2-3 innings, and he did not factor in the

decision of Cleveland’s 5-3 loss. Additionally, he lost his only

start against the Yankees this year after giving up a go-ahead

two-run homer to Robinson Cano in the sixth inning of a 5-4 defeat

June 27.

One player Jimenez has had little trouble with is Mark Teixeira,

who is 0 for 13 with six strikeouts against the right-hander.

Far and away the major league leaders with 194 home runs, the AL

East-leading Yankees (73-53) had a rare power outage Saturday,

failing to go deep for the fourth time in 41 games since the

All-Star break.

“It happens,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Our guys had pretty

good at-bats. We weren’t able to get that big hit.”

New York has dropped four of five on its road trip but still

leads the division by 3 1/2 games over Tampa Bay, which it plays

six times in an upcoming stretch of 22 games against East rivals

following this contest.

“I think it’s all about winning right now,” Nick Swisher, who

has a 15-game hitting streak at Cleveland, told MLB.com. “That

Chicago series wasn’t us, wand when you come up in situations like

that, especially when things aren’t going your way, you try and

maybe do a little extra.”

Swisher and Derek Jeter have done plenty extra at the top of the

lineup, with Swisher batting .333 with five homers since moving

into the No. 2 spot Aug. 8, and Jeter hitting .395 with five homers

in that same span batting leadoff.

Jeter’s .366 lifetime average at Progressive Field is his

highest at any stadium.

Yankees starter Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.96) tries again to win his

fourth consecutive decision after a shaky outing at Chicago on

Monday. The right-hander failed to work out of a five-run fifth in

New York’s 9-6 defeat, the first time in six starts he allowed more

than three runs.

He made two relief appearances versus the Indians in late June,

throwing 3 1-3 hitless innings and getting a win over Jimenez.

Garcia also picked up a victory in his lone 2011 start against

Cleveland.