Remember when the Indians had a seven-game lead over the Tigers and everyone else in the AL Central was even further behind? For example, when the Chicago White Sox were eleven games in the Tribe’s rear-view mirror?
Well, if Chicago makes it two straight tonight at 8:10 at US Cellular Field, Cleveland will have fallen behind both Detroit and the White Sox.
Fausto Carmona will try to keep The Good Guys in the runner-up spot in the Central tonight, and he will have to perform at a level he has not even approached vs. the White Sox in 2011.
In two starts against Chicago, Carmona has allowed 18 runs in only eight innings of work.
That translates to a 20.25 ERA vs. tonight’s home team.
And it won’t help that Carmona (5-12) will have to match slants against Mark Buehrle (10-5, 3.06 ERA).
Buehrle is only 14-15 in his career against the Indians, but we all know what he is capable of when he is on, and he was on in his only appearance of the season vs. Cleveland, when he went six innings and allowed four runs on Opening Day at Progressive Field.
You say to yourself “Okay, that right there translates to a 6.00 ERA against the Tribe. How can that be ‘on’?”
The fact that Buehrle had a 14-0 lead heading to the sixth and that by then he was throwing “get ’em over and get ’em out” pitches might have had something to do with the four-run Cleveland sixth that ended that chilly outing on April 1.
Bottom-line is this: Carmona will have to be good, or the Indians will no longer be in second place in this Central Division. And if Detroit were to win, the Indians would fall four games behind Detroit with a loss.
So let’s see the Carmona that can be excellent.
And let’s hope that if the strike zone is whacky as it seemed to be last night for Ubaldo Jimenez, Carmona can overcome frustration, keep his focus, and maybe have a season-turning performance for himself.