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Sep 15, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler (5) tags Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) and completes a double play during the sixth inning at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Cleveland Indians

With injuries hitting Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre, and struggles hitting Nelson Cruz, the Rangers struggled in their three game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. For the Rangers, it doesn’t get any easier as they go to Cleveland to face off against the first-place Indians.

The Rangers are throwing out their top three starters and anything short of a series win will likely be disappointing for the Rangers. Keep one eye on the games and another on the health of the two Rangers stars.

Probable Starters:

Friday 6:05 CDT TEX: RHP Colby Lewis (3-0, 1.93 ERA/3.33 FIP) – CLE: RHP Jeanmar Gomez (1-1, 2.35 ERA/2.90 FIP)

Lewis once again had a great start and will have a challenge against a good Cleveland lineup. Lewis has not allowed any hits against when there are runners in scoring position. That is bound to change but if he can continue to not walk hitters, he will be golden.

Gomez is the young fifth starter for the Indians. He is not a top prospect but should have a good career as a major leaguer. His debut last year was unspectacular, however, this year, he seems to have turned a corner. He is striking out more people, walking less people and almost doubled his swinging strikes. As a number five starter, that is more than you can ask for, especially for a young pitcher.

Saturday 6:05 CDT TEX: LHP Derek Holland (2-2, 5.13 ERA/3.47 FIP) – CLE: RHP Derek Lowe (4-0, 2.27 ERA/4.16 FIP)

It was only last week we were talking about Holland coming back down to earth. Now, it’s the opposite. He has had such bad luck the last two starts, he should be turning around to better luck and regress for the good.

On the surface, it looks like quite the resurgence for Lowe after a bad season with the Braves last year. However, it’s not quite that sustainable. His FIP is actually up from last year, and his K rate is worse than his walk rate. Those things don’t lend itself to a successful season, but it shows that last year Lowe wasn’t as bad as he showed in Atlanta (with his 5.05 NL ERA). Cleveland gambled and so far seem to be getting some quick rewards. Expect a lot of groundballs if Lowe is on his game.

Sunday 12:35 CDT TEX: RHP Yu Darvish (4-0, 2.18 ERA/3.18 FIP) – CLE: LHP Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2, 5.02 ERA/6.35 FIP)

Darvish now has two great starts in a row. Can he make it three? He went from being the worst Ranger pitcher to the best. And the scary thing is that he’s only 25 years old. Cleveland has an all-left handed lineup though, which will be an interesting challenge for Yu (although he did well against the Yankees when he had to deal with that last time.)

Jimenez is not the pitcher Cleveland thought they were getting from Colorado and needs to find his form in order for that trade to pay off for the Indians. Although they seem to be doing quite well anyways. Jimenez has a low BABIP so it’s not like he’s having bad luck which doesn’t bode well either. He has a 4.4 K/9 and a 6.38 BB/9 which is also not very good at all. What also doesn’t help is the fact that 13% of flyballs against Jimenez go for homeruns. Yikes.

Projected Cleveland Lineup

1 LF Johnny Damon (L)
2 2B Jason Kipnis (L)
3 SS Asdrubal Cabrera (S)
4 C Carlos Santana (S)
5 DH Travis Hafner (L)
6 RF Shin-Soo Choo (L)
7 CF Michael Brantley (L)
8 1B Casey Kotchman (L)
9 3B Jack Hannahan (L)

(source MLBDepthCharts)

Hot/Cold (Last 7 Days)

Jason Kipnis (Hot-CLE) .417/.462/.667 (10/24) 1 HR, 6 RBI
Astrubal Cabrera (Hot-CLE) .318/.423/.591 (7/22) 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB
Shin-Soo Choo (Cold-CLE) 0/8, 1 BB
Shelley Duncan (Cold-CLE) 4/18, 1 HR, 2 RBI (.222/.250/.444)
Elvis Andrus (Hot-TEX) .440/.481/.560 (11/25), 5 RBI
Mitch Moreland (Hot-TEX) .333/.368/.611 (6/18), 1 HR, 1 RBI
Yorvit Torrealba (Cold-TEX) 1/11 (.091/.167/.091)
Nelson Cruz (Cold-TEX) 4/25 (.160/.160/.200), 1 RBI

For more information on the Indians see FanSided’s Indians page, Wahoo’s On First.

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Tags: Cleveland Indians Colby Lewis Derek Holland Derek Lowe Jeanmar Gomez Texas Rangers Ubaldo Jimenez Yu Darvish

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