video thumbnail

BOS@SEA: Wedge talks about Harang's rough start

A day after Justin Masterson carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, the Indians head west for an offensive showdown against one of baseball's hottest clubs. The Seattle Mariners are averaging 6.4 runs a game in July, while Cleveland is second in the Majors with 247 runs scored on the road.

Veteran right-hander Aaron Harang takes the hill for the Mariners on Monday.

Harang will be pitching on 11 days' rest due to the All-Star break. In his last start, July 10 against the Red Sox at Safeco Field, he gave up seven runs on eight hits in five innings.

Manager Eric Wedge said the break should benefit the 35-year-old Harang, who has gone 4-8 with a 5.38 ERA in 15 starts since being acquired in an early-season trade.

"I think it's a good thing to have that extra rest," Wedge said. "He knows how to handle that and get the most out of it. The All-Star break is a healthy thing for everybody. I think it's going to pay off for all our guys."

Harang is 4-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 10 career starts against the Indians, but he hasn't faced them since 2010.

He'll square off against Ubaldo Jimenez. The 29-year-old is 7-4 with a 4.56 ERA.

The Indians have gone 7-2 in Jimenez's previous nine starts, although he allowed four runs and eight hits in just four-plus innings in his last outing against the Royals.

"In the two innings that they scored a couple runs, for some reason they got the leadoff guy on base, and that got me a little bit out of rhythm. "It was a little bit uncomfortable to throw strikes from the stretch," Jimenez said.

Mariners: Zunino takes much-needed break
Rookie catcher Mike Zunino got the day off on Sunday, but he is expected to be back in the lineup on Monday. He has impressed Wedge in his first 26 games in the Majors.

"It's just everything. It's the mental. It's the physical. He's done a great job," Wedge said. "I love the fact he's in on every pitch. He doesn't take a pitch off. As a catcher, that's how you have to be, if you're going to be a championship-caliber player, and that's what he's shown us so far. Because we have put a lot on him so quickly, I've got to give him periodic days off."

Zunino has contributed with his bat in addition to his solid work behind the plate. While the catcher is batting just .213 in July, he has a .321 on-base percentage thanks to his ability to work counts and draw walks.

• The Mariners have won a season-high six straight games, sweeping the Angels and the Astros.

• The Mariners are tied with Toronto for second in the Majors with 120 home runs. Baltimore leads with 134.

Indians: Kipnis flaunts opposite-field skill
Harang will have to contend with Cleveland's Jason Kipnis, whose tendency to launch opposite-field blasts made him an All-Star. Kipnis, who has homered to left in consecutive games, has rebounded from early-season struggles to become a reliable piece of the Indians' lineup.

"He just has that stroke where when he hits the ball with authority the other way he gets rewarded for it," manager Terry Francona said. "It's created a ton of confidence. It should. Right now, he's keeping everything fair, and he's hitting it with authority. That's a good recipe for success."

• The Indians haven't allowed a home run in 85 consecutive innings, the longest stretch since the Tribe went 96 innings without giving up a homer in 1992. That streak will be tested against the Mariners, who have homered in 24 of their last 25 games.

Worth noting:

• Seattle's Michael Saunders hit a double in the eighth inning of Saturday's game to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.

• Over the last 66 1/3 innings, Cleveland starters have allowed just 14 earned runs.

MLB.com Comments