Indians' schedule helps provide late push towards October baseball

BY foxsports • September 21, 2013

Much has been made about Cleveland's favorable end-of-season schedule.
Not without good reason.
The Cleveland Indians, who end their season with 10 games against teams with losing records, look to pick up a fifth straight win over the major league-worst Houston Astros on Saturday.
The Indians (84-70) rode three errors Friday to a rain-shortened 2-1 victory over the Astros and moved into the lead for the AL's second wild-card spot.
"Regardless of how we got it, it's all about the 'Ws' at this point," first baseman Nick Swisher said. "And if we keep winning, the season keeps going, and hopefully everyone here in Cleveland gets real happy."
The Indians host the White Sox for two games before closing the regular season with four games at Minnesota.
With a little help from AL Central rival Kansas City, which beat reeling Texas Friday, Cleveland is in a postseason spot for the first time since Aug. 4.
"There's 18 TVs in here," Swisher said. "Right now, it's watch time. We've got ourselves in a great spot and just to be able to be here, a complete turnaround from last year, it's exciting. It's nice. It feels like people are jumping on board right now and it's the perfect time to do it."
Scott Kazmir (8-9, 4.34 ERA) is still waiting to jump on board.
The left-hander is 1-5 with a 5.82 ERA over his last seven starts.
While Kazmir held Minnesota and the New York Mets, both well out of the postseason hunt, to a run in 12 combined innings, he went 0-5 with an 8.59 ERA during that stretch against the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland, Detroit and Kansas City.
On Monday, Kazmir lost to the Royals for the second time in six days, surrendering four runs in five innings.
Fortunately for Kazmir, Saturday's opponent is more of Minnesota and New York's ilk than Kansas City's.
The Astros (51-103) have lost seven straight, scoring 11 runs over that span.
They are 7 for their last 49 (.143) with runners in scoring position.
With its lone All-Star Jason Castro out for the rest of the season, Houston has 10 home runs over their last 21 games.
Matt Dominguez, second on the team with 20 home runs, has one over that stretch.
Chris Carter, the team leader with 27, has gone 54 at-bats without going deep and has 20 strikeouts during that stretch.
Houston's Paul Clemens (4-5, 5.54) is winless in three starts since he was brought back to the majors on Aug. 27.
He lost despite a solid start Sunday, scattering two runs in seven innings of a 2-1 loss to the Angels.
"It was impressive," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "For him to come out and pitch the way he pitched today, it is definitely a confidence booster."
Though he didn't yield a home run Sunday, he has surrendered 15 in 63 1-3 innings this season, the worst ratio of any pitcher with at least 55 innings.
"It feels like I'm giving up a home run every inning," Clemens said. "I really want to focus on my execution and my pitch selection and not be so aggressive anymore and not challenge too many guys."
The Indians have won four straight against the Astros, batting .325 with seven homers and 11 doubles.

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