Indians’ rookie pitcher Alex White has an unenviable task tonight, but if he can handle it as well as he handled his first major league start, it would give the Tribe a chance.
But that "chance" would be more viable Cleveland could find a way out of the offensive funk that has plagued them on much of this road trip to the West Coast.
After collecting only three hits in eleven innings off of rookie Tyler Chatwood and three Los Angeles relievers in last night’s 2-1 loss to the Angels, the Indians will try to earn their third win on their trip tonight.
But it will not be easy.
White went six innings in his major league debut last Saturday, surrendering only two runs on six hits with four walks and four K’s against the Tigers, in a game eventually won by Cleveland 3-2. It was an impressive debut (remember that Detroit took three straight from the Yankees earlier this week), and now White is matched up with one of the most impressive pitchers in the American League in the Angels’ Jered Weaver.
Weaver (6-1, 1.39 ERA) suffered his first loss of the season in Boston on Monday, being touched up for three runs in six innings of a 9-5 Red Sox win. But even with allowing an average of a run every two innings in Fenway, Weaver struck out six and walked only one, while permitting six hits.
Weaver has also had considerable success in his career against the Tribe. He comes into tonight’s game with a mark of 4-1 in ten starts against The Good Guys, with an ERA of 3.39 in 58 1/3 innings.
And Weaver has been almost untouchable in Anaheim this year, where he is 2-0 with an 0.54 ERA, giving up just one run and eleven hits on his home turf, walking five and fanning an impressive (and daunting, for a struggling offense) 25 strikeouts.
It would be helpful if the Tribe could get some good innings from White, as the bullpen has been taxed, having had to endure two straight extra-inning games.
Last night, after most of the pen had been gone through and with Chris Perez not available, it was up to Justin Germano — who had not pitched in nine days — to try to hold the Angels at bay in the eleventh.
Four straight hits and zero outs later, the Indians had fallen to 21-10. But thanks to Toronto beating Detroit and Oakland beating Kansas City, the Tigers remained seven games behind, and the Royals stayed 4 1/2 games back, in second place.
This series and road trip will conclude tomorrow afternoon when Fausto Carmona takes on Dan Haren — the Dan Haren who bewitched the Indians on one hit in April.
Now would be a really good time to get the offense going again, guys. For even when this trip is over and you are back home, Tampa Bay will be coming at you with David Price and James Shields — another couple of pitchers who can be lights-out.
Ergo…please wake up offense, while the lead is still healthy.