Indians head west for interleague play
The San Francisco Giants are getting their first taste of interleague play after their 2013 results were awful.
Friday night will also mark the first time the Giants play outside the NL West when they host the Cleveland Indians to start a three-game set.
San Francisco (12-10) tied for baseball’s second-worst 2013 interleague record at 6-14. The Giants scored 48 runs and walked 39 times in those games to rank last in both categories.
Their offense looks to be on the upswing, however, as they homered a season-high six times in a 12-10, 11-inning victory at Colorado on Wednesday. Michael Morse and backup catcher Hector Sanchez each homered twice, with Sanchez establishing a career high with five RBIs after his grand slam in the 11th.
"Everybody wants to be the hero," said Sanchez, who was spelling Buster Posey in a day game following a night contest. "Everybody wants to do well."
Posey, mired in a 3-for-33 slump, figures to return to the lineup Friday.
He is among several Giants who will try to improve on their interleague performances from a season ago. Posey had the ninth-lowest interleague average among qualifying players at .137, while Brandon Crawford was 14th worst at .156 and Pablo Sandoval 17th worst at .164.
Sandoval’s status is uncertain after he left in the seventh inning Wednesday with a stomach virus. Angel Pagan, the Giants’ leading hitter at .329, did not start due to knee soreness.
San Francisco may like its chances of breaking out against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 7.31 ERA), who is 0-11 with an 8.25 ERA in 16 starts since he won June 29, 2011.
The right-hander has gone 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA in four career interleague starts. The lone defeat was a 4-3 loss at San Francisco in June 2011 in which he went the distance to open the teams’ most recent series – a Giants sweep.
Tim Hudson (2-1, 2.40) will face Cleveland for the first time in nearly 10 years. He’s compiled a 1-2 mark and 6.33 ERA in eight career starts against the Indians, his highest ERA against any team he’s faced more than once.
The Cleveland regulars he’s faced the most are Michael Bourn (4 for 7 against him) and Nick Swisher (3 for 4). Hudson gave up two runs in seven innings of a 3-1 loss at San Diego on Saturday.
Cleveland (11-11) has won four of five, beating Kansas City 5-1 at home Thursday. Asdrubal Cabrera had two hits, one of them a two-run double that was part of a five-run fifth inning.
Bourn got Thursday off after going 6 for 14 in the first three games of the four-game set.
Manager Terry Francona won’t be able to use the designated hitter for the first time, but that may not be a bad thing as his DHs are batting .190. The Indians took two of three from San Diego at home April 8-9 in their lone interleague series so far.
The Giants have won five of the nine matchups with the Indians in interleague play.