Sabathia has won five of his last six decisions and has allowed four or more earned runs only twice this season. The outstanding stretch is nearly a complete turnaround from his first six starts, all of which resulted in Indians’ losses.
Cleveland needs Sabathia’s winning ways to end a growing losing streak that continued with Sunday’s 4-3 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Indians nearly rallied from a three-run deficit, but a baserunning blunder contributed to them dropping to 3-9 in their last 12 games.
Lawton was tagged out after getting caught in a rundown, and Crisp was also tagged out retreating back to second base.
“The third base coach told me to go, so I went,” Lawton said. “Then he said stop, so I stopped. There was nothing I could do.”
The Colorado Rockies took advantage of the woeful Tigers to win their first road series in 10 months.
“This one is disappointing,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “They are happy over there and we are still looking to break our streak. We competed right until the end—we had two runners on in the ninth—but we just couldn’t get that last big hit.”
The Tigers still have not won a series at home this season and have lost nine of their past 10 overall.
STANDINGS: Indians - 4th place, 12 GB, AL Central. Tigers - 5th place, 20 1/2 GB, AL Central.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Sabathia (5-3, 3.47 ERA). The left-hander is 5-1 with a 3.56 ERA in eight career starts against the Tigers. He bounced back from his worst start of the season with a 3-2 victory over San Diego on Wednesday, when he allowed two runs in 7 2-3 innings. Sabathia allowed seven runs, all earned, in just 4 1-3 innings of a 7-4 loss to Colorado at Coors Field on June 5.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Adam Bernero (1-8, 5.27 ERA). The right-hander is just 1-2 in his last three outings despite compiling a 3.05 ERA during that stretch and pitching at least six innings each time. The victory came against the New York Yankees on May 31, when he allowed two runs and three hits with seven strikeouts in a 4-2 win. Bernero is 0-0 with a 4.09 ERA in three career games against Cleveland.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Indians - Milton Bradley, .330 avg.; Jody Gerut and Lawton, 7 HRs; Lawton, 30 RBIs; Omar Vizquel, 40 runs and 8 SBs. Tigers - Dmitri Young, .289 avg., 13 HRs and 41 RBIs; Young and Bobby Higginson, 31 runs; Alex Sanchez, 12 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Indians, 5-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Indians - OF Lawton is 3-for-6 with a HR and a double in his career against RHP Bernero. … Tuesday will mark the first time since August 1985 that four straight LHPs will start games for Cleveland. … C Josh Bard is 2-for-6 with a HR and a double against Bernero. … . Tigers - 2B Warren Morris had three hits Sunday and is 7-for-10 in the last two games. … 1B Young is 1-for-10 lifetime against LHP Sabathia.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Indians - 10-23 on the road; Tigers - 6-26 at home.
INJURIES: Indians - SS Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Karim Garcia (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (triceps), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Ricky Gutierrez (neck), 60-day DL. Tigers - OF Gene Kingsale (groin), 15-day DL; 1B Carlos Pena (hamstring), 15-day DL; INF Dean Palmer (shoulder, neck), 60-day DL; RHP Danny Patterson (elbow), 60-day DL.