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PREVIEW: Indians Have A Tough Task In Quest For Nine-In-A-Row

The Indians have won eight straight games after their 4-0 win over the Angels last night in the opener of their three-game series in Anaheim, and -- as so often during this streak -- pitching has been the catalyst that has sent the Tribe to victory.

Another outstanding effort from a starter -- preferably one to match Mitch Talbot's last night -- will probably be needed to extend the streak tonight.

Fausto Carmona (0-1, 9.00 ERA) gets the start for the Indians against Los Angeles' Dan Haren (2-0, 1.15 ERA), who was originally scheduled to start last night. Haren, however, worked an inning -- getting the win -- in the Angels' 14-inning Saturday victory over Toronto, and was thus held back until tonight, although the inning did come on a day when starters usually throw between starts anyhow.

Be that as it may, Carmona will have to be tough tonight, and it is possible that we could see a game very similar to the game we saw in his last start. Fausto went against the Red Sox last Wednesday afternoon, pitching seven shutout innings but not getting a decision in a game won by the Tribe 1-0, with the game's only run scoring in the bottom of the eighth.

Carmona was brilliant against Boston after being shelled by Chicago in the season opener. Against the Red Sox, in his seven innings, Carmona surrendered only two hits, while walking two and striking out four. It was the first time in almost a hundred years that a pitcher allowed ten earned runs in one game and came back with shutout ball for at least seven innings in his next start.

Dan Haren, in his second season with the Angels, has gotten out of the gate fast. In three games -- two as a starter -- Haren has surrendered only ten hits in 15 2/3 innings, and has given up only two runs, while striking out 13 and not allowing a walk. Haren has worked at least seven innings in each of his two starts, and in each gave up only one earned run.

So it is game on for the Tribe to try to win their fifth straight on this road trip. It won't be easy. But if Fausto Carmona can come out with what he had last Wednesday against the potent Red Sox -- we might see another pitching duel.

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