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Sweep-less In Seattle? Indians Hope To Duplicate Success Against Boston Versus The Mariners

Your Cleveland Indians, tied for first place in the American League Central -- no, that is not a misprint or a typo -- with Kansas City and Chicago at 4-2, embark on the first leg of a two-city West Coast trip tonight at 10:10 when they take on ex-Tribe skipper Eric Wedge and the Seattle Mariners in Seattle's home opener.

The Mariners come in at 2-4, having lost four straight games. The Indians catch Seattle in the identical situation as they caught Boston in -- just having been swept in Texas.

Can lightning strike twice? It would be nice to head to Anaheim at 7-2, would it not?

In the opener of the series, Cleveland sends Carlos Carrasco to the mound. Carrasco started -- and lost -- the Indians' last defeat, last Saturday against the White Sox. He was touched for five runs in the first two innings but settled in a bit after that and pitched into the seventh, giving up a total of seven runs on ten hits, with two walks and two K's. If the pitcher who worked came out starting the third shows up tonight, that would be helpful, because Seattle's starter put up impressive numbers in his first appearance.

That starter will be Jason Vargas, who also pitched Saturday, against Oakland, Although he did not get a decision in the Mariners' win over the A's, he also worked into the seventh, and gave up only five hits and a run while walking one and striking out six. Vargas, for his career, is 18-26 with a 4.61 ERA, but last year that number was much better. Vargas went 9-12 with a 3.78 ERA in 192 innings in 2010.

Seattle comes in hitting .233 on the season. The leader in batting average is Miguel Olivo at .353. The Mariners have hit two home runs through six games, and has a staff ERA of 3.78.

Cleveland's ERA is higher, as the Indians surrendered 20 runs in the first eleven innings of the season. After six games the ERA for the Tribe is 4.83, but when you look at the last 43 innings, going back to the second game of the season, that ERA shrinks to 2.38.

Offensively, Cleveland is hitting .264 and has belted seven homers. Nobody on the Tribe has more than one round-tripper.

A couple of interesting notes: Seattle features ex-Tribe skipper Eric Wedge as manager, and the Mariners' roster includes ex-Indians Aaron Laffey and Milton Bradley on the 25-man roster, as well as Franklin Gutierrez, who is on the disabled list with stomach gastritis.

The series will continue tomorrow at 9:10 with Justin Masterson scheduled for the Tribe, and it will wrap up on Sunday at 4:10 with Josh Tomlin getting the start for Cleveland.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.