Cleveland Indians Series Preview: Texas Rangers, July 26-July 28

Yu Darvish - USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing roadtrip, The Indians head home for a short seven game series. First up, the conclusion of the season series with the Texas Rangers.

The Tribe try to get back on the winning track by taking on the second place team from the AL West, the Texas Rangers. Both the Friday and Saturday games of this set are 7:05 PM start times with the finale on Sunday scheduled for 1:05 PM. The White Sox come in for the final four of this seven game set starting on Monday.

Team in a Box

Texas Rangers

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2013 Record

56-46

Runs/Game

4.2

9th

Runs/Game

4.0

5th

AL West

1st

OBP

320

6th

H/9

8.5

7th

Last 10

3-7

SLG

417

8th

BB/9

3.0

9th

Last 30

16-14

Steals

64

7th

SO/9

7.8

6th

The Rangers have been in a serious offensive funk since we saw them last, dropping from second in runs scored to ninth. The slugging has also dropped from 438 to 417. The pitching has held steady as a middle of the road staff. But this is mainly due to the fill-in pitchers for the starters who have spent most of the year on the DL. Four-fifth's of the rotation has spent time there. Darvish has been amazing and the bullpen fantastic, but the numbers are dragged southward by the #6, 7, 8 and 9 starters. The defense has been middle of the road, seventh in fielding percentage and sixth in double plays turned.

Projected Lineup

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

2B

Ian Kinsler

R

337

279

354

431

111

SS

Elvis Andrus

R

441

249

309

288

63

RF

Nelson Cruz

R

411

271

328

504

121

3B

Adrian Beltre

R

428

308

350

530

134

C

AJ Pierzynski

L

307

279

309

438

99

1B

Mitch Moreland

L

325

250

305

463

104

DH

Jeff Baker

R

99

326

394

685

184

LF

David Murphy

L

357

224

280

379

76

CF

Leonys Martin

L

271

275

328

409

98

Kinsler and Moreland have been activated since last we met, but Berkman has taken a spot on that list. The problem is that other than Cruz and Beltre, the rest of the hitters are average or bad. Andrus has dropped precipitously since signing that huge deal. The bench consists of top prospect Profar (81 OPS+), who is struggling in his first prolonged exposure, but he is still only 20. Craig Gentry (80) and Engel Beltre (84) back up the outfield, while Geovany Soto (75) backs up Pierzynski.

Projected Starters

Date

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

July 26

Martin Perez (Kluber)

L

3.40

42.1

127

10.0

2.3

5.3

July 27

Yu Darvish (Masterson)

R

2.86

125.2

150

6.2

3.1

11.5

July 28

Alexi Ogando (Jimenez)

R

3.13

60.1

138

7.8

3.3

6.7

We will not face any of the pitchers that threw in the earlier series (Lindbolm, Holland or Tepesch. But we do get the elite matchup of Darvish against Masterson. Perez is a Venezuelan amateur free agent signing from 2007. He has been in the rotation since late June. He doesn't seem to strike out a lot of guys and his WHIP is high at 1.370. He did make one relief appearance against us last year, walking his only batter, Choo. His best start this year was against the Reds on June 28. He has given up nine runs in last two starts. Darvish has been Cy-like this year. He has a very low H/9 and a sparking K/9. I seriously doubt Reynolds or Stubbs will be playing that day. He lost his only start last season against the Tribe, losing 4-2 to Ubaldo, with Kipnis homering off him. But he did strike out 11 in 6 innings too. Ogando was injured earlier in the year when we faced Texas. He has been pretty decent this year since being activated, but his K rates are not great, but along his career lines. He has dominated us in the past, a 0.84 ERA in 21.1 innings, although of his eight appearances, only 2 were starts.

Key Relievers

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Joe Nathan

R

1.73

41.2

250

5.2

2.4

9.5

Tanner Scheppers

R

1.74

46.2

249

6.4

3.3

6.2

Robbie Ross

L

2.47

43.2

175

8.0

2.9

8.7

This bullpen has to be one of the best in the majors this year. Nathan has been amazing this year. He is that dominant and 38 years young. He pitched a perfect inning against us on June 10, getting his 20th save in a 6-3 win. Scheppers pitched one inning in that June 10 game, allowing one hit and notching a strikeout to get his 12th hold of the season. Ross pitched in two games earlier, striking out five of eight batters with no runs charged to him. He was the pitcher of record in the June 10 Ranger victory. Other bullpen options include Jason Frasor (171 ERA+), Joakim Soria (0.00 ERA in 5 innings), Neal Cotts (477) and Ross Wolf (118).

On the Shelf

  • SP Neftali Feliz (Tommy John surgery) - 60-day DL, possible September return
  • SP Matt Harrison (back surgery) - 60-day DL, possible late August return
  • RP Michael Kirkman (cutaneous lymphoma) - 60-day DL, no timetable
  • SP Colby Lewis (right elbow surgery) - 60-day DL, on AAA rehab
  • 1B Lance Berkman (left hip inflammation) - 15-day DL, possible August return
  • SP Nicholas Tepesch (right elbow inflammation) - 15-day DL, possible August return

Ogando, Ian Kinsler, Justin Miller, Mitch Moreland, Joakim Soria all have been activated since our previous meeting. That the Rangers are this close to first place with how banged up their rotation has been all year, is nothing short of amazing.

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2013

2

1

667

13

10

618

2012

4

5

444

33

41

402

Last 5

14

30

318

192

280

334

Last 10

33

53

384

411

533

383

All-Time

301

331

476

2847

2885

494

*Does not include 2013 stats

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