The Indians, having disposed of the Pittsburgh Pirates in three straight wins, now entertain the Colorado Rockies in the last home interleague games of the season (barring, of course, a World Series appearance) when the Rockies and the Tribe kick off a three-game set on Monday night.
The Rockies helped Cleveland by taking two out of three from the Detroit Tigers in Denver over the weekend, enabling the Indians to move back into first place in the AL Central, a game up on Detroit. Colorado, meanwhile, is a game under .500 and in third place in the NL West, 3.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants -- the Tribe's opponents this coming weekend in San Francisco.
For the opener of this series, the Tribe will send Fausto Carmona, who will be looking to win his second straight start. Carmona (4-8, 5.79 ERA) was the winning pitcher last Wednesday against the Tigers. In that game, Carmona went five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, with three strikeouts, but hung around after falling behind 3-0 early.
It would be nice to think that Carmona might be able to carry some momentum forward from that 6-4 triumph, which put the Tribe back into first place at the time.
Colorado will counter on Monday with rookie Juan Nicasio. Nicasio (2-1, 3.38 ERA) will be making just his fifth Major League appearance.
Nicasio has worked only 24 innings in his young career, and has allowed 28 hits but only nine earned runs, while walking five and fanning 18. In his last start, he struck out nine in only six innings while beating San Diego.
This will be the first appearance for either starter against tonight's opponent.
Colorado comes in hitting .253 as a team, and is led offensively by Todd Helton at .308. The Rockies are led in long-balls by Troy Tulowitzki with 13 homers, and Tulowitzki leads in RBI with 46, three more than Carlos Gonzalez's 43 driven in.
The Indians are hitting .251 as a team, led by Travis Hafner at .342. Asdrubal Cabrera leads in both homers and RBI, having belted 12 dingers and driven in 43.
This series will continue with 7:05 games on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Indians will then be off Thursday before beginning a nine-game interleague road journey to three cities, with stops in San Francisco, Arizona and Cincinnati.