After playing a game last night that began in August and concluded in September, the Indians really need Fausto Carmona to come through on Thursday afternoon in a 12:05 game at Progressive Field that will wrap up this four-game series with the Oakland Athletics.
While neither Vinnie Pestano nor Rafael Perez appeared in last night’s game, and thus would be (hopefully) ready and fresh today, you don’t want either to have to pitch long-relief at this stage of the season — long relief being what Frank Herrmann did so brilliantly in last night’s 16-inning marathon win.
Carmona (6-12, 4.85 ERA) will try to give the Tribe a sweep against the Athletics and also equal the victory total from 2010, when the Indians went 69-93. With 68 wins at present, and 5.5 games behind the Tigers with less than 30 games to play, any and all wins are not only welcome, but vital.
Fausto has a nice template of success against Oakland in 2011, having gone eight innings and having allowed only one run in a 4-1 Cleveland win back on May 3. Carmona gave up five hits in that game to run his career record vs, Oakland to 4-5 in 10 starts.
Today’s opponent has owned the Indians in his career vs. Cleveland. Gio Gonzalez has started five times against The Good Guys and is 4-0 with a microscopic 0.89 ERA in 30.1 innings. This will be Gonzalez’s first outing of the year against the Tribe.
Overall Gonzalez is 11-11 with a 3.35 ERA and has won his last two starts to bounce back from a personal five-game losing streak.
The Indians had a chance to sweep Kansas City on Sunday and failed to seal the deal. Man, it would be nice to finish a sweep today and end the homestand on a 6-1 run.
Cleveland will be in Kansas City on Friday night to open a three-game set against the dangerous and pesky Royals.