Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Cleveland Indians - May Days

You're not even looking

May started out a little bit differently than the kind month of April for the Rangers. I mostly mean that the Rangers have lost the two games they have played in the month of May whereas they won nearly every challenge, contest, battle, or trial April tossed their way. I am being hyperbolic for the sake of writing, you see.

The most runs the Rangers allowed in one game in the month of April was eight. The Rangers gave up that many or more in both games this month already. The Rangers also finally lost consecutive regular season (You're one jerk of a caveat, jerk caveat) baseball games for the first time since last August. Of course, in a lot of those months no one was playing baseball professionally. Still, it was an impressive streak. I will miss that streak.

There are remedies available to the Rangers to help themselves through this small bout with May hiccups. Firstly, leaving Toronto is like a cool glass of water where we're more likely to see Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre return from their turf kryptonite. It's safe to say we shouldn't worry too much about Hamilton signing after the season with contending Tampa or Toronto given that they're outfitted with lawns even Scotts would have no need to feed. Rogers Centre is no House of Horror, only a House of Pain.

Secondly, in the Rangers' escape plan from the clutches of May, is getting to vacation in Cleveland for the weekend. Since the Rangers have been good again, 2009 and on, they've practically owned Cleveland. Now, Cleveland's not exactly a great piece of land to possess, but it has been a safe haven for victories for the Rangers. Since 2009, the Rangers are 21-4 overall against the Indians.

After sweeping the Indians at home to begin the '09 campaign--which included an Opening Day win over Cliff Lee--things got off to an inauspicious start in Cleveland when the Rangers were shutout by Aaron Laffey. However, the Rangers won the remaining five games in Cleveland that year and ended the season 8-1 against the Indians. In 2010, the Rangers played too few games against the Indians for my liking. The two teams only played one home series apiece. The Rangers won both of those series, however. Though, some would say they were only allowed to survived the McGriddles Game in defeat. The Rangers ended the 2010 season 4-2 against Cleveland.

Last season, the Rangers feasted on the Indians to the tune of a 9-1 record. That included a four game sweep in Cleveland during a time when the Indians inexplicably had not only the best record in the American League, but also robots hanging out in the left field stands. Were it not for a Neftali Feliz blown save on Aug. 6, the Rangers could have pulled off a perfect 10-0 season against the Indians. All told, the Rangers have gone 11-2 at Progressive Field since the start of the '09 season. More wins in The Land of Chief Wahoo would certainly cure what ails the Rangers.

Friday, May 04 6:05: RHP Colby Lewis vs. RHP Jeanmar Gomez

Saturday, May 05 6:05: LHP Derek Holland vs. RHP Derek Lowe

Sunday, May 06 12:05: RHP Yu Darvish vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against the mistake by the lake Cleveland Indians:

  • Colby Lewis: 3-0, 7.99 K/9, 1.10 BB/9, .286 BABIP, 95.4% LOB, 3.34 FIP, 3.77 xFIP, 0.8 WAR - Last three starts: 5 runs allowed in 20.0 innings
  • Jeanmar Gomez: 1-1, 7.63 K/9, 1.76 BB/9, .190 BABIP, 77.6% LOB, 2.91 FIP, 3.13 xFIP, 0.3 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 13.1 innings

Advantage: Colby Lewis being the better pitcher over Jeanmar Gomez having the way more awesome name.

  • Derek Holland: 2-2, 7.83 K/9, 3.24 BB/9, .287 BABIP, 60.9% LOB, 3.48 FIP, 4.17 xFIP, 0.7 WAR - Last three starts: 14 runs allowed in 20.0 innings
  • Derek Lowe: 4-1 2.56 K/9, 2.84 BB/9, .289 BABIP, 82.9% LOB, 4.17 FIP, 4.61 xFIP, 0.3 WAR - Last three starts: 5 runs allowed in 18.0 innings

Advantage: I like Holland to bounce back over Lowe's hilarious 2.56 K rate in the battle of the Dereks.

  • Yu Darvish: 4-0 9.00 K/9, 4.64 BB/9, .315 BABIP, 84.4% LOB, 3.19 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 0.8 WAR - Last three starts: 2 runs allowed in 21.2 innings
  • Ubaldo Jimenez: 2-2 4.40 K/9, 6.28 BB/9, .266 BABIP, 72.1% LOB, 6.36 FIP, 5.91 xFIP, -0.3 WAR - Last three starts: 10 runs allowed in 16.2 innings

Advantage: Man, I remember when Ubaldo Jimenez was just about the best pitcher in the National League for half a season. I also remember when Yu Darvish was just about the best pitcher in the American League this season.

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Cleveland Indians (13-10, 1st Place AL Central)

Rangers 2011 Record vs. Cleveland: 9-1

Cleveland's Recent Results: 2-1 series win against the Chicago White Sox

Cleveland's Home Record: 4-7 (44-37 in 2011)

Progressive Field Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 107/87 - wOBA: 101/99

SB Nation Indians Blog: Let's Go Tribe

Match-up: (as of 05/04) Rangers Indians Advantage
Batting (RAR) 25.5 (2nd) 4.9 (12th) Rangers
Base Running (RAR) -0.5 (17th) -0.2 (14th) Indians
Starters (RAR) 21.3 2.2 Rangers
Bullpen (RAR) 15.1 (1st) 8.3 (7th) Rangers
Defense (UZR) 9.1 (4th) -6.7 (23rd) Rangers
Overall (UZR + RAR) 70.5 8.5 Rangers

Questions to Answer:

  • What ever happened to Carlos Baerga do you figure? Mustache model, perhaps?
  • Who is your pick to lead the Rangers in strikeouts in this series? (Yu Darvish. But only because Nelson Cruz will only have like 12 ABs in this series.)
  • Over/Under: 2.5 Cleveland Indian relief pitchers used in this series that you have never heard of before in your life?
  • If ever Cleveland gave into the pressure of relieving themselves of the culturally insensitive "Indians" name, what would you name them? My home town of Shreveport had a football team named the Steamers once.
  • In 2010, there were midges covering the field from off the lake. In 2011, there were robots hanging out on left field concourse. What insanity will descend upon Progressive Field this year?
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