Eric Wedge’s job is safe. At least for now.
With growing speculation that the Indians’ manager will take the fall for his team’s disappointing season, Cleveland couldn’t have responded much better to open its nine-game homestand.
The Indians go for their second interleague series win at Progressive Field on Saturday night when they continue their three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds.
Coming off a 1-5 trip, Wedge addressed his job security on a team with the AL’s worst record.
“The speculation about me is real. I understand it. I get it. It’s where we are,” he said before the series opener. “I’m a big boy. We’ve got men on this team. You take the good with the bad.”
On Friday, the Indians (31-44) were really good. Cleveland collected 12 hits as it won 9-2 and improved to 5-11 against the NL.
Having Grady Sizemore(notes), Victor Martinez(notes) and Travis Hafner(notes) in the lineup together for the first time since April 28 was also a positive step. Sizemore returned from a stint on the disabled list (left elbow inflammation) Tuesday while Hafner has played just 30 games due to shoulder soreness.
On Friday, Hafner went 0 for 4, but Sizemore had an RBI double in the third and Martinez drove in two, including a solo homer in the fifth.
A win Saturday would improve the Indians’ home record versus the NL to 4-4. Cleveland took two of three from St. Louis June 12-14 before losing the next three days to visiting Milwaukee.
The Indians have lost all four of Ohka’s starts. Ohka, though, is 5-2 with a 3.34 ERA in 11 starts against the Reds.
Cincinnati (35-37) was limited to six hits Friday and fell to 4-9 in interleague play.
“We got beat up,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker, whose team has lost five of six. “You play the AL and they have some high-octane teams. You don’t score runs and it makes it tough to win. Sowers got strike one on us and made it tough.”
Cincinnati is hoping Homer Bailey(notes) (0-0, 12.46) is as tough Saturday as he has been at Triple-A Louisville. Bailey will be called up to make his second start of the season - both versus the Indians.
Replacing the injured Edinson Volquez(notes) (right elbow) prior to his season debut, the right-hander walked a career-high six and gave up six runs in a 7-6 loss to Cleveland on May 23. Bailey was sent to the minors the following day, but since then, he is 4-0 with a 0.47 ERA in five starts for Louisville.
Bailey is 0-6 with an 8.41 ERA in his last nine major league starts dating to an 8-4 win over the Cubs on Sept. 30, 2007.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips(notes) snapped an 0-for-12 slide with a leadoff double in the seventh. He has just one homer in his last 20 games, but is 5 for 8 with two home runs lifetime against Ohka.