Tribe Take on Yanks
The Indians try to push their winning streak to a season-high five games as they continue a three-game series with the New York Yankees on Saturday at Progressive Field.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Cleveland -106 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 10.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 78% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -104 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
Cleveland (11-12) has a chance to reach .500 for the first time since April 8 after a 6-4 victory on Friday. Jhonny Peralta's three-run homer in the fifth inning gave the Indians a 4-3 lead, but he only had the opportunity after two-out singles by Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez.
"This should give us confidence,'' said Indians winning pitcher Paul Byrd. "It was 3-1 late in the game with two outs and we did little nit-picky things: a walk, a chopper, a base hit and we made something happen. That's what we did so well last year. It's the little things, the pesky walks, the getting guys over that makes things happen.
"We're hoping this continues.''
Peralta is 5-for-12 with two homers in his last three games after a 3-for-29 slump over his previous eight.
Jeremy Sowers (NR) will make his first appearance after going 0-2 with a 3.18 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Buffalo. The Indians are hoping the left-hander will provide an effort consistent with his initial call up to the majors in 2006, when he went 7-4 with a 3.57 ERA in 14 starts.
Sowers went 1-6 with a 6.42 ERA in 13 starts last year, losing command of his pitches before being sent down to the minors. Indians manager Eric Wedge is confident the time at Triple-A has done good things for the 24-year-old left-hander, who was Cleveland's first-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.
"He's not the same guy," Wedge told the Indians' official Web site. "You look at what he's gone through, and you look at the adjustments he's made and how he's learned so much about himself, and I think he's better for it."
Sowers has split two lifetime starts against the Yankees (12-12), beating them in 2006 and getting hit hard in a loss last year.
While the Yankees can score in bunches - and accounted for their four runs with three home runs in Friday's loss - Sowers may have to be especially careful against Jason Giambi. He hit two homers Friday, has five homers in his last four games at Cleveland and is hitting .321 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs lifetime there.
Giambi is 2-for-4 with a homer against Sowers.
Yankees starter Ian Kennedy (0-2, 9.64) tries once more to end his early-season funk. The 23-year-old right-hander struggled with his control again last Saturday at Baltimore, walking five and allowing four runs and five hits in just 2 2-3 innings of a 6-0 defeat.
"It's as simple as throwing strikes,'' said New York manager Joe Girardi, who watched Kennedy fall behind on 13 of the 17 hitters he faced. "You can't win the way he is pitching. He got a lot of walks, and is behind a lot of hitters. He had a lot of three-ball counts."
Kennedy has walked 13 batters in 14 innings over his four appearances, but the potent Yankees offense has not helped his cause, failing to score in two of his three starts. This will be his first appearance against the Indians.
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 after missing the previous three games with a quadriceps injury as well as his wife giving birth to the couple's second child. He admitted the injury is still tender, but added, "I'm going to be fine."