Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 1:10pm EDT
The finale of a 2-game interleague set between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago cubs will take place Wednesday afternoon at 1:10 pm EST at Progressive Park in Cleveland. Currently, the Indians are slight favorites for this contest (-115) after opening at -106.
The Cubs held on to a 2-1 lead after after pushing a run across the plate in the 5th inning in the opener of this series; However, a 2-run home run by Cesar Hernandezin the bottom of the inning proved to be the game-winner as Hernandez blasted his 3rd of the year while Jose Ramirez also went yard in the win, his 10th. The Indians had a total of only 5 hits in the low-scoring contest while allowing 11 to the Cubs with Albert Alzolay allowing just 5 hits in his 6 innings on the mound. However, he received his 3rd losing decision in 2021 while giving up 3 earned runs during this time (2 home runs) along with striking out 6 batters. Cleveland are winners of 8 of their last 10 outings while going 5-2 in their last 7 at Progressive Park.
Shane Bieber lasted 6.2 frames as he gave up 2 runs during this time (HR, 3 BB) in addition to striking out 8 moving to 4-2 on the season. And while the Cubs out-hit the Indians in the loss, they were only able to bring one run across the plate with Wilson Contreras going 2-3 on the night with their lone RBI. Joc Pederson and Matt Duffy (.297 BA) each went 2-5 on the night as the Cubs fell to 17-18 on the season. After winning 5-straight, the Cubs have now dropped 2 in a row.
Davis seeks 2nd-straight winning decisionZack Davies (2-2, 6.30 ERA) has had his ups and down in this early MLB season. He opened the year allowing 9 earned runs (6 walks) and a homer in just over 6 innings in his first 2 starts while following this up with 6 runs (5 walks) along with a home run in 8 frames in his next 2 appearances. Furthermore, the right-hander gave up another 6 runs (7 walks) in his preceding 2 starts (HR) racking up a win, 2 losses, along with 3-straight no-decisions during this time. However, the veteran is coming off one of his most effective performances of the season as he picked up his 1st quality start of the year at home versus the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching 7 innings while allowing just 5 hits in 81 pitches in a 3-2 victory May 7th.
The former San Diego Padres pitcher is coming off a 2020 campaign to where he made 12 starts while racking up a 7-4 record along with a decent 2.73 ERA (21 ER, 19 BB, 9 HR's, 63 K's, 69 IP). And while this contest will be his first matchup versus the Indians' lineup, he has come face to face with many of the team's batters. For example, Cesar Hernandez (1-6) along with Eddie Rosario (1-5) has struggled at the plate versus the pitcher in addition to Jordan Luplow and Austin Hedges, who are each hitless in a combined 6 at bats.
On the other hand, Josh Naylor and Harold Ramirez are each 1-2 versus the right-hander lifetime while Franmil Reyes (2-2), Rene Rivera (2-3), along with Amed Rosario (4-7) have also had a bit of success versus Davies in their respective careers.
Hentges gets the start for IndiansSam Hentges (1-0, 5.00 ERA) has made 4 relief appearances for Cleveland this season pitching a combined 9 innings while giving up 5 earned runs on 14 hits while striking out 8 batters during this time. In fact, he gave up 2 earned runs for the 2nd-straight start May 4th in addition to striking out 2 in a 7-3 road win over the Kansas City Royals to where he received the no-decision, also his 2nd-straight. It should be mentioned, however, that while the Indians have picked up wins in 2 of Hentges' last 3 appearances, the left-hander has struggled preventing the long-ball at Progressive Park allowing a total of 3 in only 5.2 innings, including 2 in an April 28th start versus the Minnesota Twins where he pitched 3 frames while giving up 2 runs in a 10-2 defeat.
This will be the pitcher's first start versus the Cubs lineup as he is replaced struggling Logan Allen in the team's starting rotation, this according to SI.com. Allen went 1-4 along with racking up a less than stellar ERA of 9.19 in 5 starts this season and was ultimately optioned to the team's alternate site in Columbus late last month. It is unclear how many innings the Indians expect from Hentges in this matchup; However, they certainly hope that the left-hander can chew up some solid innings to add to a solid pitching unit that ranks in the top 10 in ERA, WHIP, along with quality starts. Important to note that Cleveland's pitching has given up an average of 2.5 runs in the team's last 7 outings.
Stats & Trends
- Cubs are 6-0 in their last 6 interleague road games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Cubs are 3-1 in Davies' last 4 starts.
- Indians are 1-4 in last 5 meetings
- Indians are 2-6 in last 8 home meetings.
While the Indians are slight favorites for this contest, I happen to like the road team to get the victory due to Davies' success of late as well as against many of the heavy hitters within the lineup for the Indians. Important to note that Cleveland ranks as one of the worst offensive teams in the MLB; On the other hand, the present version of Davies is much different than the pitcher who began the season allowing 20 earned runs in his first 5 starts. With this being the case, I like the Cubs to find some opportunities to put the ball in play in this contest as they will ultimately go on to win their 7th in 9 outings versus the Indians at Progressive Park. The Indians have dropped 2 of 3 at home with the pitcher on the mound.