(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Indians try to get themselves closer in the
American League playoff chase on Tuesday when they kick off a three-game
interleague series with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
Cleveland may be 5 1/2 games back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, but
has won five of six and nine of 13 and is just two games back of the second
wild card spot.
The Indians rode a two-run homer from Drew Stubbs on Sunday and picked up a
3-1 win against Minnesota, despite committing four errors.
"We were trying every way we could to give it away," Stubbs said. "We played a
very sloppy game, but it says a lot about this team that we were able to hang
in there and pull out the win."
The Tribe, which is in the midst of playing 15 of 18 on the road, had lost six
in a row prior to their current run and following this set they head to
Detroit in a series that could ultimately decide their divisional fate.
But first things first, as Cleveland faces an Atlanta team that is 13 games up
in the National League East, but enters this series with just two wins in its
last six games after salvaging the finale of a three-game set with the St.
Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
"You don't want to get swept especially by a team that's a playoff team that
you have the potential of seeing," said outfielder Jordan Schafer. "You don't
want them to have confidence if you face them in the playoffs."
Getting the call for the Braves on Tuesday will be rookie left-hander Alex
Wood, who is 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA. Wood has not received a decision in any of
his last three starts, but has allowed just two runs in 18 1/3 innings of
Wood, whose 1.11 ERA in August is the fifth-lowest among starters with at
least 20 innings pitched, did not factor in a decision against the New York
Mets on Wednesday, despite giving up a run and six hits in six innings of his
team's 4-1 win.
"I thought I made some pitches when I needed to; that's all you can ask," Wood
said. "These kinds of days are the ones that test you, and you kind of show
your true colors if you battle through when you don't really have that great
Cleveland, meanwhile, will turn to a rookie of its own in righty Danny
Salazar, who is 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA. He did not get a decision in Anaheim last
Tuesday, but pitched well, surrendering a run in 5 1/3 innings of the Angels'
"He threw the ball really well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He gave
up a leadoff homer again, but other than that, he was really good."
Dating back to 1921, Salazar's 29 strikeouts are the second-most by an Indians
pitcher in his first four career games, trailing only Herb Score's 40 in 1955.
Atlanta took two of three from the Indians the last time these teams squared
off back in 2007.
The Sports Network