INDIANS (73-49) AT YANKEES (81-42)
7:05 p.m. ET; WPIX, MLBN, ST-OH, MLB.TV
After a sluggish start, the Cleveland Indians entered the summer with many wondering if the team — and slugger Jose Ramirez in particular — were in for a down year.
But Ramirez and the Indians have been rolling since June 14. Never was that more evident than on Thursday, when Ramirez homered twice and tied a career high with six RBIs in a 19-5 laugher at Yankee Stadium. Now, the Indians hope to keep the good times rolling Friday night against the Yankees in the second game of a four-game series.
Cleveland pounded out 24 hits, its most since April 18, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in a 22-4 win. The Indians also hit seven homers for the first time since April 30, 2013 at Philadelphia.
Leading the charge was Ramirez, who is hitting .320 (47-for-147) since July 4. Ramirez hit a grand slam and a two-run homer Thursday and has 52 RBIs in his last 53 games since June 14.
“When he gets hot, he’s something incredible to watch,” Cleveland center fielder Greg Allen told reporters.
On June 14, Ramirez was hitting .202 as the Indians were in the beginning stage of their 44-19 surge. His average was .218 by the All-Star break and is up to .248 entering Friday.
“When he gets on a tear, it’s one of the crazier things in the entire league to watch,” Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said.
The Yankees will attempt to rebound from one of their worst losses of the season. New York’s 42nd loss on the year was only its third in the last 17 games.
Aaron Judge was 0-for-5, and his 10-for-55 skid in the last 15 games has lowered his average to .257. Despite the slump, there are no plans to drop him from the second spot in the lineup.
“The game’s hard, and over the course of the season, it gets the greatest of players, which certainly ‘Judgie’ is,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told the media. “So, I’m confident he’ll grind his way through it, hopefully soon.”
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (8-6, 4.64 ERA), who has a 7.16 ERA in his last six outings, starts for New York and is coming one of his most dominant outings of the season. In Sunday’s 1-0 win at Toronto, he allowed three hits in eight-plus innings while throwing 94 pitches — two more than he did in 5 1/3 innings on Aug. 5 in Baltimore.
Tanaka is 1-2 with a 4.25 ERA in five career starts against Cleveland.
Fellow righty Aaron Civale (1-1, 1.00) will make his fourth career start for Cleveland.
Civale last pitched Sunday in Minnesota when he allowed one run on four hits in six innings and took a no-decision. It was the third straight start he allowed one run or less and pitched at least six innings, making him and Cody Anderson (2015) the only Cleveland starters since 1908 to pitch at least six innings and allow one or fewer runs in each of their first three career starts.
–Field Level Media