CLEVELAND (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Cleveland Indians’ impressive play at Progressive Field has the club on the cusp of returning to the postseason for the first time in three years.
Winners of four in a row, the Indians look to remain unbeaten on their 10-game homestand when they continue their three-game interleague series versus the Miami Marlins on Saturday night.
Abraham Almonte drove in a pair of runs in Friday’s series-opening 6-2 victory to improve to 10-for-28 with six doubles and seven RBIs during his seven-game hitting streak.
Offense hasn’t been an issue of late for Cleveland, which has scored 20 runs during its winning streak and carries a 43-23 mark at home while building a 4 1/2-game lead over second-place Detroit in the American League Central.
Scoring runs has been a problem for Miami, which has mustered just 16 en route to losing six of seven to reside three games behind St. Louis for the second wild card in the National League.
J.T. Realmuto highlighted his second straight three-hit performance with a two-run blast in the series opener and is 10-for-20 with two homers and three runs scored in his last five contests.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), STO (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Jose Fernandez (13-7, 2.79 ERA) vs. Indians RH Trevor Bauer (9-6, 3.73)
Fernandez recorded his second straight scoreless outing on Monday after scattering three hits over six innings in a hard-luck no-decision versus the New York Mets. The 24-year-old Cuban has struck out 15 in his last 13 innings and fanned 14 while permitting three hits over eight scoreless innings in his lone encounter with Cleveland. While impeccable at home (10-2), Fernandez owns a 3-5 road mark with a 4.02 ERA away from Marlins Park – with his last road win coming against in-state rival Tampa Bay on May 26.
Bauer recorded his fifth straight strong outing on Monday, but settled for a no-decision despite scattering five hits over six scoreless innings versus Minnesota. The 25-year-old owns a 2-1 mark with a 2.45 ERA in that stretch on the heels of a disastrous 0-3 record with 25 runs allowed in his previous five trips to the mound. Bauer, who will be making his first career appearance versus the Marlins, owns a 6-2 mark with a 2.50 ERA in 13 interleague starts.
1. Cleveland SS Francisco Lindor has collected three straight multi-hit performances and is 11-for-26 in his last six contests.
2. Miami 2B Dee Gordon is hitless in his last 12 at-bats and is 3-for-33 in his last nine games.
3. Marlins SS Adeiny Hechavarria is 0-for-13 with four strikeouts in his last four contests.
(© Copyright 2016 SportsDirect Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)