Dodgers-Indians Preview (Jun 13, 2017)
CLEVELAND -- Here's how it's going for the wildly inconsistent Cleveland Indians this season: Their record in interleague play is 1-7, and in their next interleague game, Tuesday night at Progressive Field, they get to face Clayton Kershaw.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will be making their first visit to Progressive Field in 14 years, and only their second visit ever, on Tuesday night when they will play the Indians in the first of a three-game interleague series.
Interestingly enough, while this will be the Indians' ninth interleague game of this season and the first for Los Angeles.
Dodgers ace Kershaw will be opposed by Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer, who played his college ball in Southern California at UCLA.
In his 13 starts this year, Kershaw is 8-2 with a National League-leading 2.20 ERA. He hasn't lost since May 1, and in seven starts since that loss he is 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA.
This will be Kershaw's first start against the Indians in nine years. His only career start came in Kershaw's rookie season of 2008. In a 6-4 loss to the Indians on June 20, 2008, Kershaw, in his sixth major league start, pitched five innings, giving up four runs on four hits. He did not figure in the decision.
Kershaw has been just as difficult to beat in interleague games as he is in NL matchups. In 28 career interleague starts, Kershaw is 12-4, with a 2.22 ERA.
Bauer's 2017 season has mirrored his career overall. Some really good starts, some really bad ones, but a continuing lack of consistency. In 12 starts this year, Bauer is 5-5 with a 6.10 ERA. His last two starts have been particularly bumpy. In those two outings, he is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA and has only pitched a total of five innings, during which he has three strikeouts and six walks.
However, in his previous four starts previous. Bauer was pretty good, going 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA.
Bauer is averaging a career-high 11 strikeouts per nine innings, but manager Terry Francona would like to see him cut down on his walks.
"He's got to be able to make an adjustment (during games) because with all that traffic (hits and walks), you're going to pay for it sooner or later," Francona said.
Bauer says he's been dealing with some bad luck.
"It seems like whenever the ball gets put in play, it finds a hole," said Bauer, who in two career starts vs. the Dodgers is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA.
Cleveland won two of three games with the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, but the Indians have spent most of the season spinning their wheels in a Central Division they were expected to dominate.
"We know we're a better team than this, and we'll play better than this," Bauer said.
The availability of Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for the series in Cleveland is uncertain. Gonzalez was removed from Sunday's game against Cincinnati in the seventh inning after he told manager Dave Roberts that his back had tightened up.
"I wasn't getting to pitches I usually do," Gonzalez said. "You make decisions like that when you know you have healthy guys on the bench who can produce."
Gonzalez was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Monday.