Surging Dodgers go for sweep of Indians (Jun 15, 2017)
CLEVELAND -- The Los Angeles Dodgers will go for a three-game sweep of their series with the Cleveland Indians on Thursday afternoon, when the teams meet in the final game of their series at Progressive Field.
The teams look like two ships passing in the night.
The streaking Dodgers have won a season-high six games in a row and have reached a high-water mark of their season at 16 games over .500 (41-25).
The Indians, meanwhile, are in danger of following a 1-4 road trip with a 2-4 homestand, should they lose Thursday.
The Indians go into Thursday at 31-31 -- the first time they have been .500 since April 18, when they were 7-7.
"We've been inconsistent in a lot of areas, and so we're a .500 team," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "Where do we go from here? Fortunately, there is still a lot of baseball left to play, but we need to get it going."
Even the Indians' vaunted bullpen is taking some hits.
Andrew Miller has given up home runs in the eighth inning of each of the first two games of the series with the Dodgers. Miller was the losing pitcher in both games and has seen his ERA rise from 0.29 to 1.60.
"He's human," Francona said. "He's been so good, so incredibly good, that when he gives up a run it's shocking to people."
The Dodgers are hitting on all cylinders. They have moved into first place in the NL West and have the best winning percentage (.621) in the National League. A win Thursday would give the Dodgers their sixth series sweep of the season.
In winning the first two games in Cleveland, the Dodgers have hit four home runs and stolen five bases.
"You can't always slug," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. "I don't want us to be a one-dimensional offense."
Right-hander Josh Tomlin (3-8, 5.73 ERA) will start Thursday for the Indians.
Tomlin is averaging a major-league-best 0.5 walks per nine innings (four walks in 66 innings). Tomlin has not walked a batter in his last five starts.
It's been over a month since he last walked a batter, which came on May 12. Since then he has pitched 29 2/3 innings, with 21 strikeouts and no walks.
For Tomlin, all that strike-throwing has not translated into a successful season. He is tied for the American League lead for losses. In his last five starts, he has not walked a batter but is 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA.
Thursday will be Tomlin's first career appearance against the Dodgers.
Left-hander Rich Hill will start Thursday for Los Angeles. The Indians are one of Hill's former teams. He made 63 relief appearances for the Indians in 2013, going 1-2 with a 6.28 ERA.
On Thursday, Hill will make his first career start vs. Cleveland. It will also be Hill's first career start at Progressive Field. In 35 career relief appearances at Progressive Field, Hill is 1-1 with a 5.76 ERA.