Major League Baseball
Indians-Cardinals Preview
Major League Baseball

Indians-Cardinals Preview

Published Jun. 10, 2012 1:14 a.m. ET

Ubaldo Jimenez is known for his 2010 All-Star season in which he pitched the first no-hitter in Colorado Rockies' history.

Joe Kelly, meanwhile, is an unknown who is a distant relative of notorious gangster George "Machine Gun" Kelly.

Jimenez and the Cleveland Indians will match up against Kelly in his major league debut for the St. Louis Cardinals in Sunday's series finale at Busch Stadium.

Cleveland (31-27) is the only opponent that St. Louis (31-29) has never won a series against. The Indians have won 13 of 19 meetings after splitting the first two games of this set.


The visitors have an edge in terms of mound experience Sunday in Jimenez (6-4, 5.31 ERA), although he has been plagued by control problems all year with a major league-worst 6.18 walks per nine innings.

That's why his effort Tuesday in Detroit was a positive step. Jimenez issued a season-low one walk and allowed one run over 6 2-3 innings in a 4-2 victory.

"That's a surprise," said Jimenez about his low walk total. "With an outing like this, I just want to keep it going."

The right-hander had been 0-3 with a 12.46 ERA in his previous three road outings.

Jimenez is 2-3 with a 3.64 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals, going 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA in three at Busch. He is 15-8 in 34 outings against NL Central teams with a 3.14 ERA - his lowest against any division.

St. Louis will turn to Kelly to replace an injured Jaime Garcia. Kelly, who turned 24 on Saturday, is not only a relative of the infamous 'Machine Gun' but he also was a college teammate at UC-Riverside of Cardinals left-hander Marc Rzepczynski.

Kelly went 2-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 12 starts at Triple-A Memphis. The right-hander matched a career high with eight innings to earn a 5-1 win at Omaha in his last outing Monday.

He will be tasked with trying to slow down Michael Brantley, who enters with the majors' longest active hitting streak at 17 games. Brantley is hitting .369 with 15 RBIs during his run, the AL's second-longest this year to a 20-game streak by Baltimore's Adam Jones in May.

The Indians are averaging a major league-best 5.15 runs on the road, but were shut out for the first time home or away in Saturday's 2-0 defeat.

"It took over two something months for us to get shut out," manager Manny Acta said. "They've been battling. It had to happen."

Jimenez's job will be easier if Matt Holliday misses a second straight game. Holliday was scratched minutes before Saturday's contest with mid-back spasms.

"There was some mad rushing going on to get everybody in place, I think he did a smart thing and pulled up,'' said manager Mike Matheny about Holliday. "He probably could have pushed through it.''

Carlos Beltran homered among his three hits Saturday. He remains one stolen base shy of becoming the first switch-hitter in major league history with 300 homers and 300 steals.

Indians closer Chris Perez, who leads the majors with 19 saves, has yet to make an appearance in this series against the club he began his career with in 2008.


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