Seattle Mariners (54-51) at Cleveland Indians (52-53)
Tuesday, July 29 - 7:05 PM EST
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
The Cleveland Indians kick off an eight-game homestand when they host the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, beginning a key three-game set with postseason implications. Seattle is two games behind Toronto for the final wild card spot in the American League while Cleveland sits four games off the pace. The Indians return to Progressive Field after losing four of their last five contests to complete a 5-6 road trip coming out of the All-Star break while the Mariners are 3-7 during that span.
While it is unclear whether Cleveland will be a buyer, seller or neither as Thursday's trade deadline approaches, it appears Seattle isn't done shopping after reacquiring Kendrys Morales on Thursday from Minnesota. "We're still in the Wild Card race here, and they've said all along that if we get a chance where we think we're in it, we're going to give you the resources," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told reporters after acquiring Morales. Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma was 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in four July starts before losing his last outing and opposes Trevor Bauer, who had a four-game unbeaten streak snapped in his last turn.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, ROOT (Seattle), STO (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Hisashi Iwakuma (8-5, 3.09 ERA) vs. Indians RH Trevor Bauer (4-5, 3.93)
Iwakuma allowed four runs - all in the third inning - and seven hits while striking out five in seven frames of a 4-0 loss to Baltimore on Thursday. The 33-year-old Japan native has not walked a batter in 35 2/3 frames covering a club-record five starts and the team record for innings is 38, set by Cliff Lee in 2010. Iwakuma, who has 33 strikeouts during that span and leads the majors with a 11:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, hasn't recorded a decision with a 4.02 ERA in three games (two starts) against Cleveland.
Bauer yielded three runs and struck out seven in six innings of a 3-1 loss at Minnesota on Wednesday. "He threw the ball well," catcher Roberto Perez told reporters of the 23-year-old California native. "Some of their hitters just found the hole. I don't think they hit the ball hard. ... You can't do anything about it when you make pitches." Bauer, 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA in seven home starts this season, lost 3-2 in Seattle on June 27 when he permitted three runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 frames.
1. Cleveland 1B Carlos Santana was named AL Player of the Week on Monday after going 15-for-27 with six homers and 10 RBIs during that span, inlcuding five long balls in his last three games.
2. Mariners 2B-OF Dustin Ackley is 17-for-40 in his last 10 contests, but recorded only three RBIs during that span with two hits in only six at-bats with runners in scoring position.
3. Seattle, which has lost six straight in Cleveland, won two of three against the Indians from June 27-29 and is in position to win a season series against the Indians for the first time since 2010.
PREDICTION: Indians 3, Mariners 2