The Cleveland Indians are playing their best baseball of the season. Unfortunately, it’s likely too late for them to make a push for the playoffs.
The Indians look to win a season-high sixth straight Saturday night when they continue their three-game series against the Texas Rangers.
After the Indians scored twice in the top of the ninth, Brandon Boggs homered to lead off the bottom half of the inning and Michael Young’s single put the tying run at the plate, but the Rangers were held in check thereafter.
“It was big for us to tack on runs there,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said of his team’s half of the ninth. “In this park, a one-run lead is not enough. It’s never over until the last out is made.”
Wedge’s team has averaged 7.6 runs during its last five wins.
Despite their recent surge, which includes 23 wins in the last 37 games, the Indians are in fourth place in the AL Central - 13 1/2 games behind division-leading Minnesota.
Wedge told the Indians’ official Web site that he’s pleased with the effort, even if it doesn’t mean much to the standings.
“I feel like we’re more consistent as a ball club,” Wedge said. “We’re better. We’re better than we were before. We’re creating chances and playing with more confidence.”
While Cleveland has been improving, the Rangers have stumbled, losing 12 of their last 15. Their pitching staff has a 6.58 ERA during those 15 games with the starters going 3-10 with an 8.88 ERA.
Cleveland hands the ball Saturday to Jeremy Sowers (2-6, 5.46 ERA), who looks to build off his win on Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels. Sowers, who hadn’t won since July 19, pitched 6 2-3 innings against the Angels, allowing three runs - two earned - and eight hits in a 4-3 victory.
“I was making my pitches this time around,” Sowers said. “They were just making things happen.”
The left-hander was 0-1 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.
Brandon McCarthy makes his first start of the season for Texas.
McCarthy, who hasn’t appeared in a major league game since Sept. 20, has been sidelined with right forearm inflammation. The right-hander was 5-10 with a 4.87 ERA in 22 starts and one relief appearance with the Rangers last season, his first with the team after being traded from the Chicago White Sox in 2006.
“If I had to stay down (at Triple-A Oklahoma) the rest of the year to get straightened out, I would have stayed down there the rest of the year,” McCarthy said. “Now I”m just excited to be back here.”
McCarthy is 4-2 with a 4.88 ERA in four starts and eight relief appearances against the Indians, including 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA as a starter.
Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore is 6-for-17 against McCarthy.