video thumbnail

CLE@TEX: Ubaldo fans seven in Indians debut

Days like Wednesday are why the Indians parted with a number of their top prospects to acquire ace Ubaldo Jimenez. With his club now trailing the Tigers by three games in the American League Central following Tuesday night's walk-off hit-by-pitch in the 14th inning, Jimenez will take the mound at Progressive Field for the first time as a member of the Tribe, hoping he can continue to shave the Indians' deficit in the division and help build the necessary momentum to chase down the Tigers.

Jimenez also looks to bounce back from a rocky Cleveland debut in which he allowed five runs on seven hits over five innings in Texas on Friday. Despite his shaky debut and a 5.63 ERA in three career starts against Detroit, one of which came in Interleague Play on June 18, Indians manager Manny Acta expects a better performance out of his new right-hander.

"I had never seen him pitch from my dugout, so I'm not going to evaluate him after one outing. I think the second time around, he's probably going to be calmer," Acta said. "It was a big day for him, the first time pitching in a different uniform. It was a big trade, there was a lot of anticipation. So, I'm sure that he had a little bit of jitters."

However, Acta also recognized that after seizing the opener, his team needs to continue a steady march to catch Detroit.

"It's important, in a sense, that we can't let them get too far ahead," Acta said. "We showed how tough it is to make up so many games. We held a seven-game lead for over two months. But I've seen in baseball two seven-game leads disappear in 10 days."

Despite Jimenez's new shine in an Indians uniform, Tigers manager Jim Leyland believes his team will feel comfortable facing the right-hander and added that he respects the Indians for their aggressiveness in acquiring Jimenez.

"We've seen him before," Leyland said. "He's a power guy with really good stuff. I mean, they've got them lined up pretty good for us, and that's the way it should be.

"I think they sent a great message to their team and the players when they went out and made their deal. I thought that was a tremendous message. They're for real. They're not going away."

Leyland also sent a message to his own right-hander in Rick Porcello by moving him up to pitch on normal rest. Typically, Leyland would skip Porcello when moving up ace Justin Verlander. However, with Porcello pitching well of late, including winning five straight decisions and walking just five batters in his past 38 2/3 innings, the Tigers' skipper wanted to keep Porcello in rhythm.

Tigers: Cabrera crushing Cleveland
• Miguel Cabrera rarely lets his opposition off the hook, and that is particularly true when it comes to the Indians. The Tigers first baseman is a career .336 hitter (77-for-229) with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs in 59 games against the Indians. His home run and RBI totals lead all active Major Leaguers against Cleveland.

• Wednesday will be Porcello's second start against the Indians this season. The right-hander took a tough-luck no-decision on April 30 in Cleveland, when he allowed two earned runs on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one. Porcello owns a 4-0 record and a 2.32 ERA in eight career starts against the Tribe.

Indians: Asdrubal setting new marks
• Asrubal Cabrera continues to lead the Indians in the Triple Crown categories. Cabrera is hitting .290 with 19 home runs and 66 RBIs. In addition to being the first Indians shortstop to start an All-Star Game since Lou Boudreau in 1948, Cabrera's 19 home runs exceed his career total entering 2011.

Worth noting
• The Indians have won 12 consecutive games at home against the Tigers, dating back to last season.

• Starting Aug. 16, the Indians will play 44 games over the last 44 days of the season.

• The Tigers have feasted off Cleveland pitching of late. In its past 13 games against the Tribe, Detroit has reached double-digit hits 10 times, dating back to Aug. 20, 2010. The Tigers are hitting .296 with 52 runs scored and eight home runs in that span.

MLB.com Comments