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Series Preview: Cleveland Indians @ Texas Rangers - Combustion

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A man lifts a cigarette to his mouth. His vision pays no attention to the task as smoke ribbons around his cheek. He takes a puff. The cherry red fire brightens as he uncoils his attenuated fingers. His body receives his disappointment. Perhaps the first wrinkle to form on his newly-aging face appears as he brings his attention to the smoldering ember. A furrowed brow betrays his youth. In his mind he hears a theme of destruction. In his eyes you would see the glow of promised relevancy. For many reasons, this appears to be a dangerous man.

The motif calls for a fire to burn as brilliantly as the aspirations that glint in the reflection of each drag. The man taps away expiring ashes from his unspoken surrender. A long pull finds the cigarette nearly to the label. The exhale could be confused for a sigh. The man turns the wrist of his sinless hand to catch his attention. He adjusts the sun's reflection off the face of his watch to catch the time. His prescribed allotment for venality is at its end.

He presses the butt against the brick decor of a building he was standing restless against. The now flaccid char rains oxidation. The domestic arrangement will not be snuffed out as easily. With a flick, the crescendo builds. The man lets loose his vice. A stomp and a feral scrape of his shoe set him in motion. The man deliberately moves toward his objective, powered by his acrimony. The burden takes measure to explain that this time the fervor will not cease. Behind him now, his transgression lies puckered on the sidewalk. The score cries for a release with each step.

But the man finds his place at his destination. He anesthetizes himself as the apex hits hard. Suddenly, silence. The pyre has lost combustion. There is no oxygen. The man slips the tool of communication on his crown. He installs a counterfeit smile. His words toe the company line. The telephone at his desk rings a new symphony. A man lifts a greeting to his mouth. "First place Texas Rangers, how can I help you?"

Tuesday, September 11 7:05: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez vs. LHP Matt Harrison

Wednesday, September 12 7:05: RHP Jeanmar Gomez vs. RHP Ryan Dempster

Thursday, September 13 7:05: RHP Zach McAllister vs. LHP Derek Holland

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against the Chiefless Wahoos of Ohio:

  • Matt Harrison: 15-9, 5.48 K/9, 2.46 BB/9, .286 BABIP, 77.0% LOB, 3.96 FIP, 4.12 xFIP, 3.2 WAR - Last three starts: 10 runs allowed in 18.0 innings (First start since Sept. 4)
  • Ubaldo Jimenez: 9-15, 7.48 K/9, 4.74 BB/9, .312 BABIP, 70.1% LOB, 5.09 FIP, 4.84 xFIP, 0.4 WAR - Last three starts: 11 runs allowed in 18.0 innings

Advantage: Matt Harrison and How I Got My Shrunken Head trying to get his season back on track after a couple of less than stellar outings over Ubaldo Jimenez--and a higher walk rate than Yu Darvish--trying to get his Cy Young caliber career back on track after a couple of fairly horrible seasons.

  • Ryan Dempster: 10-6, 7.76 K/9, 2.57 BB/9, .260 BABIP, 77.9% LOB, 3.58 FIP, 3.77 xFIP, 3.0 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 18.0 innings
  • Jeanmar Gomez: 5-7, 4.79 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, .263 BABIP, 61.9% LOB, 5.19 FIP, 4.95 xFIP, 0.0 WAR - Last three appearances: 7 runs allowed in 9.2 innings

Advantage: Ryan Dempster is beginning to live up to the Colby Lewis-lite role of the pitching staff that the Rangers hoped for when he was acquired for this season's final two months. Dempster has now allowed 2 or fewer earned runs in his last four starts and in five of his seven starts as a Ranger over Jeanmar Gomez who has had six starts total this season where he allowed 3 or fewer earned runs. However, two of those occasions came against the Rangers.

  • Derek Holland: 10-6, 7.55 K/9, 2.66 BB/9, .251 BABIP, 66.6% LOB, 4.62 FIP, 4.11 xFIP, 1.6 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 21.0 innings
  • Zach McAllister: 5-7, 8.09 K/9, 2.81 BB/9, .301 BABIP, 62.4% LOB, 4.31 FIP, 4.30 xFIP, 1.1 WAR - Last three starts: 14 runs allowed in 12.1 innings

Advantage: Derek Holland hopefully beginning to look like a starter who could be counted on to perform in postseason baseball games over Zach McAllister hopefully continuing to look like the starter who allowed four home runs and seven runs to the Rangers just a little over a week ago.


Cleveland Indians (59-82, t-4th Place in AL Central)

Rangers Record vs. Cleveland: 3-3 (All at Progressive Field)

Cleveland's Recent Results: 1-2 road series loss against the Minnesota Twins

Cleveland's Road Record: 27-43

Ballpark In Arlington Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 116/117 - Runs: 115/116

SB Nation Indians Blog: Let's Go Tribe

Match-up: (as of 09/11) Rangers Indians Advantage
Batting (RAR) 58.6 (5th) -25.4 (24th) Rangers
Base Running (RAR) 5.3 (6th) -7.6 (29th) Rangers
Starters (RAR) 74.1 14.8 Rangers
Bullpen (RAR) 49.1 (6th) 33.7 (13th) Rangers
Defense (UZR) 23.5 (4th) -42.2 (30th) Rangers
Overall (UZR + RAR) 210.6 -26.7 Rangers

Questions to Answer:

  • Elvis Andrus has played in 29 games games against the Cleveland Indians in his career and in every one of those games he has at least one hit. Yes or No: Will Elvis Andrus' hitting streak against the Tribe reach 32 games after this series concludes?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (I think Josh Hamilton is going to have a big series as he builds on hitting his 40th home run of the year.)
  • Over/Under: 2.5 times Ron Washington uses a pinch hitter in this series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Matt Harrison in his return to the mound after having his start skipped in Tampa?
  • Who collects more extra base hits in this series: Jurickson Profar or Ian Kinsler?