The Indians get one last shot at the Texas Rangers — who have shown in the last three days why they are defending American League champions — as this four-game series wraps up on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 at Progressive Field.
The Tribe has seen their lead over the Detroit Tigers shrink to 3.5 games, and with the Indians facing Minnesota for three and then embarking on a brutal seven-game trip to face the Yankees for four and Detroit for three, that lead — although still the biggest in the Majors at present — is in serious jeopardy of melting away.
Incredibly, Cleveland still has the best record in baseball, although the codicil to that is that that best record is only by percentage points over the Philadelphia Phillies and the St.Louis Cardinals, who are also ten games over .500 (as is the Tribe, at 33-23), but have one more loss (Philadelphia) and two more losses (St.Louis).
As we enter the Sunday game, the Indians will be awaiting further word on the status of Vinnie Pestano, who was shut down last night after coming out of the bullpen to start the ninth and tossing his warm-up pitches. Pestano never did face a batter, and was pulled with what is initially being called “tightness” in his lower back.
Mitch Talbot gets the start for the Tribe today, trying to avoid Cleveland’s first four-game losing streak of the season. Talbot, in just his third game back from the DL, was rocked by Boston in his first post-injury outing, and then did a 180 last time out and shut down the Blue Jays in 6.1 innings, allowing only one run on six hits, walking three and fanning three and getting the win in a 6-3 Indians’ win in Toronto.
Talbot (2-1, 4.50 ERA) has faced Texas once in his career, coming away with a loss. In that game, Talbot went 5.2 innings and gave up four runs, for an ERA against the Rangers of 6.35.
Talbot’s mound opponent today will be C.J. Wilson.(5-3, 3.32 ERA), who is 1-1 against Cleveland in his career in 20 appearances, including two starts. In 26.2 innings, Wilson has an ERA of 3.38 against The Good Guys.
Wilson went 15-8 last season for Texas, and this season has gone at least six innings in all but his first start of the year.
Needless to say, the Indians will have their work cut out for them. But that’s why they play the games, it is said.