Frustration and a perhaps a little bit of reality is
starting to set in for the Cleveland Indians.
Losers of three straight, and off to a 2-9 start in June, the Tribe hopes
to avoid the Yankees' brooms on Monday when the clubs finish out a 4-game set
in New York.
ESPN will have the broadcast starting at 7:05 PM (ET), and
it's an intriguing pitching matchup between Cleveland youngster Carlos Carrasco and Yanks
veteran AJ Burnett. Consensus numbers at MLB betting shops had New York moneyline around -170
with 9.5 for the total.
The darlings of the 2011 season at 30-15 on May 23, Cleveland was threatening
to run away from the rest of the AL Central Division. Owners of the top record in the majors at
that point, the Indians won 19 of their first 23 at home and looked every bit
like contenders for the postseason.
It's all gone bad since then, however. Cleveland
is 4-14 after reaching that season-best 15 games above .500, dropping the first
three of this series following a pitiful 1-6 homestand. A lack of offense has
been a key reason for the slide. Indians
hitters did rake for seven runs in Friday's series opener, but crossed the
plate just once on Saturday and Sunday combined and have been shut out three
times already this month.
Just 1-9 their last 10, the lone win for the Indians in that
span came last Tuesday with Carrasco (5-3, 4.52) on the hill at Progressive
Field. The 24-year-old Venezuelan worked
into the ninth before needing relief help to complete the 1-0 Cleveland victory.
Carrasco was -125 chalk in that contest and the final score
broke a string of five consecutive OVER winners on the MLB odds board. Monday's contest will be his first ever vs.
Three straight wins to begin this series have helped ease
the pain New York
suffered last week when the Red Sox came to town and swept a 3-game set. Boston
(39-26) remains red hot atop the AL East standings, the Yankees (36-27)
beginning play Monday two games back.
Burnett (6-4, 4.37) was pummeled in the middle game of that Boston broom job, allowing eight runs (seven earned) in
5.2 innings of New York's
11-6 loss. It was the fifth time in his
last seven starts the Yanks took a hit in the loss column. Overall in 2011, New York is off 3.6 units with Burnett on
The Yankees are 3-0 when he has started against the Indians
since joining New York
in 2009. Burnett won both assignments
vs. the Indians a season ago, sporting a 0.63 ERA in 14.1 innings.
The loss of starter Bartolo Colon to the disabled list with
a hamstring pull has Joe Girardi and the Yankees scrambling to fill his
rotation for the upcoming week when the Rangers come to town. All signs point to Hector Noesi filling in
for the couple of starts that Colon
The last thing Girardi needs right now is to have to worry
about Burnett falling apart and reverting to his putrid 2010 form, something
that would further thin the Yankees rotation.
That puts the pressure Monday night squarely on Burnett, and the New York tabloids will
have a field day if he implodes against an Indians lineup that is slumping.
Mike Muchlinski is in line to call the plate in this game,
but that could change. Muchlinski is
working with this crew in relief of veteran Jerry Meals, and there's no info
available for how long Meals will be MIA.
The Indians head to Detroit
for three following this contest. New York welcomes Texas
to town for a crucial American League series that begins Tuesday.