Tribe Host Sox

Fausto Carmona became a star for the Cleveland Indians last season, helping them reach the AL championship series for the first time this decade.

That's where his breakout year came to an ugly end.

Carmona looks to put that poor playoff performance behind him when the Indians continue a three-game series with the visiting Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Cleveland -151 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 60% of bets for this game have been placed on Cleveland -151 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Following a 1-10 record during his 2006 rookie season, Carmona (19-8, 3.06 ERA) tied AL Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia for the team lead in wins last year and his ERA was the lowest among Cleveland's starters. His production helped the Indians return to the playoffs for the first time since 2001, and his one-run, nine-inning performance in Game 2 of the AL division series helped them knock out the New York Yankees.

Cleveland's first trip to the ALCS since 1998 ended in a seven-game loss to Boston - the Indians blew a 3-1 series lead - and Carmona was one of the main culprits. He went 0-1 with a 10.45 ERA in two starts, and he was tagged for seven runs in two-plus innings in a 12-2 loss in Game 6.

"Look at what he's been through over the last two years," manager Eric Wedge told the Indians' official Web site. "As long as he keeps the focus on himself, that will be enough. We don't expect him to go out and win 19 games again. We just want him to give us a chance to win ball games."

Carmona has struggled against the White Sox, going 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA in five career starts. He allowed 11 runs in 10 1-3 innings at home against them last season.

The right-hander is looking to have a better start than Sabathia's rocky one on Monday in the Indians' 10-8 win. Sabathia allowed five runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings, giving up two two-run homers to Chicago's Jim Thome.

After the White Sox tied the game in the seventh off Paul Konerko's two-run double, the Indians went up for good in the eighth on Casey Blake's three-run double.

"Nobody in this clubhouse was ever in doubt," Sabathia said. "We always have faith that somebody would come through and it was Casey once again."

The Indians are unsure if Victor Martinez will be in the lineup after he suffered a left hamstring strain running the bases in Monday's win. He underwent an MRI, but the results were not released. The All-Star catcher, who was 2-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI, is day-to-day.

"I'm not sure on Vic," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's got something going on with his hamstring. I took a look at him when he came off the field, then I had to get on with the game. We're hoping for the best."

Martinez batted .301 last season with career highs of 114 RBIs and 25 homers. He also injured his hamstring in last year's season opener, and missed six games.

Martinez is 3-for-18 (.167) lifetime against Javier Vazquez (15-8, 3.74), who will start Wednesday for the White Sox.

Vazquez led Chicago last season in wins and posted his lowest ERA in four years. The right-hander got off to a slow start, going 3-5 with a 4.39 ERA in his first 13 starts, but allowed three earned runs or fewer in 15 of his final 19 outings and pitched at least six innings in all but one of them.

Vazquez was 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three starts versus the Indians last season and he is 5-3 with a 3.84 ERA in 11 career starts against them.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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