ORIOLES (14-28) AT INDIANS (22-19)
6:10 p.m. ET; STOH, MASN, MLB.TV
The Cleveland Indians had a day off Wednesday to reflect on their best offensive performance of the season.
After erupting for five homers and nine runs on Tuesday, the Indians return to action on Thursday when they begin an 11-game homestand with the opener of a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.
Jordan Luplow recorded his second two-homer performance in six days on Tuesday afternoon in Cleveland’s 9-0 romp over the Chicago White Sox. The 25-year-old is batting .314 with four homers and six RBIs since returning from Triple-A Columbus on April 28.
“To get some right-handed presence in the lineup is huge for us,” Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters of Luplow. “And to see him feeling confident right now, being really dangerous, that will really help us.”
Cleveland still owns the American League’s second-worst batting average at .221 and third-lowest run total at 150 (3.66 per game).
“It’s always tough in April,” Luplow said of his reasoning for the Indians’ troubles at the plate. “It’s pretty cold in Cleveland and some of the places we play. Hopefully, once it heats up, we start heating up and get it going with the bats.”
Leonys Martin has heated up by going 7-for-21 with a homer, three RBIs and three runs in the past six games. He collected five RBIs and five runs in helping the Indians win five of seven encounters against Baltimore last season.
Cleveland’s offense will take aim at an Orioles pitching staff that surrendered five homers while losing both ends of a Wednesday doubleheader to the host New York Yankees. Four of the long balls came in Baltimore’s 5-3 loss in the opener.
The Orioles have allowed a major league-worst 89 homers through 42 games.
“It’s too many home runs. It’s embarrassing. We have to put an end to that,” catcher Austin Wynns said.
Baltimore didn’t help itself by going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in the doubleheader.
“I think all teams kind of go through those struggles at times,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I think when you’re not scoring a ton of runs and you’re in that kind of a situation, it’s natural to press. Guys try to do too much, maybe, and try to score the guy instead of taking their at-bat.
“So I just think we still have to continue to have a middle-of-the-field approach and be able to think through the big part of the field and not try to do too much when we have runners out there.”
Right-hander Dan Straily (1-3, 8.23 ERA) will look to notch just his second win in eight outings for the Orioles on Thursday, although he is 0-3 in his past four trips to the mound.
Straily yielded a season-high six runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings of an 8-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
The 30-year-old owns an 0-1 mark with a 3.86 ERA in two career starts against Cleveland.
Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer (4-2, 3.02 ERA) will look to follow up on a strong outing when he takes the mound on Thursday.
Bauer settled for a no-decision at Oakland on Saturday after allowing just two runs (both unearned) on two hits while tying a season high with 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
The 28-year-old hasn’t fared as well versus Baltimore, as he sports a 1-4 record with a 5.45 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP in six career starts.
The Orioles have dropped six of the past seven games while the Indians have just four wins in their past 10 games.
–Field Level Media