The Cleveland Indians will try to snap a six-game losing streak when they visit the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday to start a two-game series.
Cleveland (26-21) finds itself in third place in the American League Central, behind both the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. The Indians still could make the postseason if they finish in third place, but they feel a sense of urgency to turn things around as October approaches.
“Every team struggles,” Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor recently said to reporters. “It’s a question of, are you going to struggle five games, 10 games, 15 games or 100 games?
“We don’t have that many games to be struggling.”
The mood is lighter for Chicago (28-20), which sits atop the NL Central and likely will reach the playoffs in the first season with David Ross as manager. The Cubs are coming off a history-making performance Sunday as 28-year-old starter Alec Mills threw the 16th no-hitter in franchise history.
Mills dominated the Milwaukee Brewers on the road for the team’s first no-hitter since April 21, 2016, when Jake Arrieta achieved the feat against the Cincinnati Reds.
“It’s just a proud parent moment,” said Ross, who was the Cubs catcher for Arrieta’s last no-hitter and watched as Mills did the same. “That’s how you feel. You see the adversity somebody’s been through, and to work hard and get an opportunity and make the most of it is really rewarding from my seat.”
Chicago next will turn to right-hander Yu Darvish (7-2, 1.77 ERA), who will make his 10th start. He is coming off a loss to the Cincinnati Reds during which he allowed three runs in six innings.
Darvish has 72 strikeouts compared with only 11 walks in 56 innings this season. He has faced Cleveland six times in his career, posting a 1-3 record with a 3.52 ERA.
For the Indians, right-hander Carlos Carrasco (2-4, 3.12) will go for his first victory in more than a month. He is winless in his last six starts, including a hard-luck loss in his most recent outing as he limited the Kansas City Royals to one run on seven hits in seven innings.
Carrasco is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in his only start against the Cubs, which came Aug. 12. He gave up three runs on four hits and five walks while striking out seven.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo went deep against Carrasco in the pair’s first meeting of the season. Rizzo ranks third on the team with nine homers, which trails Ian Happ (12) and Kyle Schwarber (10).
Jose Ramirez is Cleveland’s top power threat with 11 homers. Franmil Reyes (8) and Lindor (7) rank second and third on the team, respectively.
The Cubs are 2-0 against the Indians heading into this week’s series. In a two-game series Aug. 11-12 in Cleveland, Chicago rolled to a 7-1 win in the opener and a 7-2 win in the second contest.
–Field Level Media