Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Cleveland Indians - Bat Signal

Unfortunately not Corey Kluber - Otto Greule Jr

The Rangers travel to Cleveland for the first (and last) time this season as they look to get their bats going after a non-slugging sluggish start to the second half

Series Schedule:

Friday, July 26 6:05: RHP Corey Kluber vs. LHP Martin Perez

Saturday, July 27 6:05: RHP Justin Masterson vs. RHP Yu Darvish

Sunday, July 28 12:05: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez vs. RHP Alexi Ogando

Top ten things that are currently better than the Texas Rangers' offense:

  1. A 'Bar S' hot dog topped with american cheese and mayonnaise
  2. The position within the NSA assigned to spying on LSB's OT Threads
  3. The idea of trading for Michael Young to improve the Rangers' offense
  4. Demarcus Ware advertising for Depends Real Fit® Men's Briefs on sports blog websites
  5. Merrily and indiscriminately sending off Snapchat videos while drunk
  6. Lance Berkman's desire and love for playing the game of baseball
  7. Getting punched in the throat
  8. This GIF: R7c8f2g_medium
  9. The city of Detroit
  10. The Seattle Mariners' offense

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against the contending Cleverlanders of Cuyahoga County:

  • Martin Perez: 3-3, 5.31 K/9, 2.34 BB/9, .296 BABIP, 75.0% LOB, 4.25 FIP, 3.97 xFIP, 0.6 WAR - Last three starts: 11 runs allowed in 18.0 innings
  • Corey Kluber: 7-5, 9.09 K/9, 2.16 BB/9, .321 BABIP, 74.4% LOB, 3.30 FIP, 2.98 xFIP, 1.7 WAR - Last three appearances: 2 runs allowed in 19.0 innings

Advantage: Martin Perez was the recipient of bad luck in his last outing on Sunday when the defense decided to throw a carnival of clownball for him against the Orioles. Perez has pitched very well since rejoining the rotation but has had a couple of less than stellar outings the last two times out. Perez faces a challenge against an Indians team that can actually hit - second best in baseball with a wRC+ of 113 against left-handers - but the Rangers need him to come up big like he has over the last month.

Corey Kluber has been a fantastic surprise for the Cleveland Indians this season. Kluber has allowed three or fewer runs in 12 of his 16 starts and was a fantastic pain in the butt for the Rangers back on June 11 when he went eight innings and allowed one run. The 'ger offense seems even more pathetic now than it did then, so this could be ugly.

  • Yu Darvish: 9-4, 11.53 K/9, 3.08 BB/9, .253 BABIP, 81.6% LOB, 3.21 FIP, 2.82 xFIP, 3.2 WAR - Last three starts: 5 runs allowed in 19.0 innings
  • Justin Masterson: 11-7, 9.17 K/9, 3.41 BB/9, .283 BABIP, 73.8% LOB, 3.29 FIP, 3.33 xFIP, 2.7 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 18.1 innings

Advantage: The Rangers missed Justin Masterson when the Indians came to Arlington in June but I wouldn't say that they were sad about that fact. Masterson is having a bounce-back year after a lackluster 2012 campaign and that has likely been in no small part due to a huge strikeout increase by the spindly right-hander.

Before this season, Masterson's career high K/9 was 8.28 and that came when he was still pitching out of the bullpen for Boston. Masterson's career high K/9 as a regular starter was 7.00 in 2010. Last year, Masterson's K/9 was at 6.94. This year, he's seen that rate spike to 9.17. The difference between 6.94 and 9.17 has been the difference between also-ran Justin Masterson and All-Star caliber Justin Masterson.

But, then again, he's facing Yu Darvish. And Yu Darvish is Yu Darvish and I would take Yu Darvish over most anyone.

  • Alexi Ogando: 4-2, 6.71 K/9, 3.28 BB/9, .263 BABIP, 78.7% LOB, 4.09 FIP, 4.58 xFIP, 0.9 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 16.2 innings
  • Ubaldo Jimenez: 7-5, 8.63 K/9, 4.92 BB/9, .295 BABIP, 75.0% LOB, 4.67 FIP, 4.23 xFIP, 0.3 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 15.2 innings

Advantage: It's a battle of horrifying peripherals. Gasp at Jimenez's 4.92 walk rate! Heave at Ogando's 38% ground ball percentage! Lose your sanity while pondering how all of this adds up to a combined record of 11-7 and then slap Harold Reynolds.

Ogando hasn't started a game against the Indians since September of 2011 but Jimenez pitched against the Rangers on June 12. In that game, Jimenez walked four and gave up four hits, but allowed only one run because the Rangers' offense is worse than Shakira pooping a chicken.

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Cleveland Indians (53-48, 2nd Place in AL Central)

Rangers' Record vs. Cleveland: 1-2 (All at The Ballpark)

Cleveland's Recent Results: 1-2 road series loss against the Seattle Mariners

Cleveland's 2013 Home Record: 30-19

Progressive Field Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 118/83 - Runs: 100/80

SB Nation Indians' Blog: Let's Go Tribe

Match-up: (as of 07/26) Rangers Indians Advantage
Batting (RAR) -18.4 (15th) 43.4 (4th) Count the Indians among the handful of teams who can hit
Base Running (RAR) -8.0 (30th) 6.3 (7th) Still worst in baserunning!
Starters (RAR) 42.9 44.4 So much for the rotation advantage
Bullpen (RAR) 41.7 (3rd) -1.7 (26th) Finally something the Indians aren't good at
Defense (UZR) 17.5 (6th) -16.8 (24th) UZR hates Michael Bourn this year
Overall (UZR + RAR) 75.7 75.6

The Indians are like the inverse Rangers

Questions to Answer:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10: How much does it annoy you to know that the 2013 Cleveland Indians have an offense far superior to that of the 2013 Texas Rangers?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Elvis Andrus is hot and loves hitting against the Indians.)
  • Over/Under: 5.5 XBHs by the Texas Rangers in this series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Martin Perez in his start tonight against Corey "It's Kluberin' time" Kluber?
  • Yea or Nay: The Rangers hit a home run in this series?
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