The Indians are part of a logjam at the top of the AL Central race, while the Yankees recent hot streak has helped them take over the lead in the highly competitive AL East. This Wednesday afternoon game will conclude the three-game series between these two teams. MLB Network will have coverage of this contest.
Cleveland has hung around the .500 mark much of the season thus far. The Indians are 17-17 on the road. The team has plenty of young talent, but injuries have slowed down the offense quite a bit this year. Travis Hafner was having a bounce back year, but he is out until at least after the All-Star break. Grady Sizemore hasn’t played a game yet this year, and the team doesn’t know when he’ll be able to come back. Fortunately, Jason Kipnis is putting together an impressive season for the Tribe. Kipnis has 11 homers and 42 RBI’s already in 2012. Asdrubal Cabrera leads the team with a .291 batting average. The Indians average 4.24 runs per game.
Ubaldo Jimenez was the team’s major acquisition during the 2011 season. Jimenez hasn’t pitched the way the team had hoped. He is 7-5 this year, but he has a mediocre 4.59 ERA. Three of his past four starts have been quality starts, so the team is hoping he is turning the corner. Overall, the Indians pitching staff is 28th in the majors with a poor 4.58 ERA.
Andy Pettitte has made eight starts since returning to the New York Yankees. Pettitte is 3-3 with a solid 3.29 ERA. He has shown impressive command, which has allowed him to get ahead of hitters on a consistent basis. The Yankees pitching staff has been the primary reason the team has won 23 of their last 30 games. In the past month, the Yankees have gotten terrific starting pitching.
New York’s offense continues to be one of the most potent in all of baseball. The Bronx Bombers lead the majors in home runs with 115. The offense averages 4.78 runs per game. Derek Jeter’s resurgence has really helped this offense in 2012. Jeter leads the team with a .304 batting average. Robinson Cano got off to a slow start, but he is already back above .300. Cano is one of the most consistent hitters in the game. Curtis Granderson has only a .243 average, but he has smashed 21 home runs already this year.
MLB Free Pick: Yankees ML
Ubaldo Jimenez has a 5.28 ERA on the road this year. Cleveland is batting just .212 as a team against left-handed pitching. Pettitte is still a very good left-hander, and I think he’ll slow down this Indians offense.