ORIOLES (15-30) AT INDIANS (24-20)
1:10 p.m. ET; ST-OH, MASN, MLB.TV
Jordan Luplow has provided considerable pop to a lineup that has struggled mightily at the plate through much of the season.
Luplow looks to continue his sterling stretch on Sunday afternoon, as the host Cleveland Indians aim to secure a series victory in the finale of the four-game set against the Baltimore Orioles.
The 25-year-old Luplow belted a two-run shot in Saturday’s 4-1 win to improve to 12-for-44 with five homers, eight RBIs and 10 runs scored since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on April 28.
“He’s got more confidence (since returning from the minors),” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of Luplow. “He was kind of walking on egg shells (before he was optioned on April 13).
“I know he didn’t want to go down. He was mad, but I don’t think the at-bats hurt him one bit. Since he got those consistent at-bats, he’s been a different hitter.”
Jason Kipnis is riding hit and on-base streaks of four and 13, respectively, for the Indians, who improved to 13-4 against the Orioles in their last 17 meetings since the beginning of the 2017 season.
Slugger Carlos Santana is making his hits count this month, as he went deep for the third time in May with a homer to lead off the eighth inning. The 33-year-old Santana, however is just 13-for-58 this month.
“He’s so strong that when he stays through the middle of the field, he covers more pitches,” Francona said of Santana. “It’s exciting.”
While Cleveland has struggled with its offense throughout much of 2019, Baltimore was limited to just one hit — Trey Mancini’s team-leading 10th homer — on Saturday as it fell for the eighth time in 10 contests.
Mancini has notched an extra-base hit in three straight games. He has 24 this season.
“When he’s letting the ball travel and he’s swinging at his pitch, he uses the whole field and he’s so strong he can get the ball out of any part of the ballpark,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said of Mancini.
Mancini will test his mettle against Cleveland’s Shane Bieber (2-2, 3.81 ERA), who will get the nod on Sunday after being pushed back a day in favor of fellow right-hander Adam Plutko.
Bieber is bidding to rebound after allowing a career-high four homers and matching a season-high five earned runs over 6 1/3 innings in Monday’s 5-2 setback to the Chicago White Sox.
The 23-year-old will be making his 30th career appearance (28th start) and first versus Baltimore. He has not faced anyone on the Orioles’ active roster.
Baltimore right-hander Yefry Ramirez (0-1, 5.14) is slated to make his first start of the season after working out of the bullpen on four occasions.
Ramirez last pitched for the Orioles on May 8, allowing a solo homer in one inning of work in a 2-1 setback versus Boston.
In his lone career start against Cleveland, the 25-year-old yielded seven runs on as many hits and walked five batters in three innings of an 8-0 loss on Aug. 19, 2018.
–Field Level Media