Looking to put an ugly series behind them, the Cleveland Indians open a road trip in a place where they have enjoyed plenty of success.
The Indians hope to end their four-game overall losing streak and notch a sixth straight victory at Safeco Field on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game set with the Seattle Mariners.
Both teams have been well out of contention for quite some time, with the Indians (53-80) using the remainder of the season to get experience for younger players. Those players got quite a lesson earlier this week as Cleveland got swept by the Chicago White Sox in a three-game set in which the Indians were tied or ahead in the eighth inning of every contest.
“It was a tough series,” manager Manny Acta said after Thursday’s 6-4 loss. “I hope we can learn from it.”
The Indians start this seven-game road trip in Seattle, where they have won five straight games and 18 of their last 25. However, the only Cleveland regulars still with the team that played in last season’s trip to Safeco Field are Asdrubal Cabrera(notes), Travis Hafner(notes) and Shin-Soo Choo(notes).
Hafner is hitless in six at-bats since he went 8 for 12 with five doubles in a three-game stretch. The veteran slugger is batting .377 since the All-Star break.
“He’s been swinging the bat really good the whole second half,” Acta told the Indians’ official website. “He’s fresher now after resting his shoulder and he’s driving the ball with more authority. Right now, he’s giving us that big bat in the middle of our lineup.”
Seattle (52-81) has scored a major league-low 431 runs, and has totaled 13 while losing four of the first six games of its 10-game homestand.
Doug Fister(notes) (4-10, 3.73) will get the ball for Seattle for the series opener. The right-hander pitched very well Saturday, giving up one run in seven innings, but got charged with a 1-0 loss to Minnesota.
“Everything felt pretty good,” Fister told the Mariners’ official website.
This is Fister’s second start against Cleveland. He yielded three runs over 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3, 11-inning loss on the road Aug. 22, 2009.
Indians rookie Josh Tomlin(notes) (2-3, 4.08) allowed three runs over five innings Friday to earn a 15-4 win over Kansas City. The right-hander, who had gone 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA over his previous three outings, beat the Royals despite issuing a season-high four walks.
Tomlin is 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in three road starts. He has never faced the Mariners.