Indians go for series win against reeling Orioles

MLB Baseball

At the moment, Aaron Civale is the rock of the Cleveland Indians’ piecemeal starting rotation.

Looking for a third straight winning decision Wednesday night, Civale aims to be more effective against Baltimore than the last time he faced an Orioles’ club that’s mired in a franchise-record 17-game road losing streak.

With Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac both on the injured list, Civale (9-2, 3.17 ERA) is the most dependable starter in Cleveland’s makeshift rotation. The right-hander allowed only a lead-off single to J.P. Crawford while striking out a career-high 11 with one walk through eight innings of a 7-0 win over Seattle on Friday.

Civale owns a 4-1 record with a 2.59 ERA in six home starts in 2021 for Cleveland, which took the first two contests of this four-game set with Baltimore and has won six of the last seven at home.

“He’s an easy kid to root for, I’ll tell you that right now,” manager Terry Francona told the Indians’ official website. “He’s pitching his fanny off and it’s fun to watch.”

Though Civale picked up the win in Cleveland’s 10-4 triumph at Baltimore on June 5, he allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings. Three of those runs came via solo homers — two from Cedric Mullins and the other by Ryan Mountcastle.

Mullins recorded three of his five hits on the day against Civale. Batting .321 and among the major league leaders with 80 hits, Mullins is 11-for-18 against the Indians this season.

While Mullins has been an obvious bright spot this season, the Orioles, as a collective, have averaged just 2.8 runs and hit .203 during her lengthy road skid. It also has not helped that Baltimore’s committed six errors in the first two games of this series and nine in the last four contests.

“You have to play defense in the big leagues to win,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.

Keegan Akin (0-1, 4.13) is slated to make his fourth consecutive start for the Orioles on Wednesday. The left-hander made his first four 2021 appearances out of the bullpen upon his major league call-up on May 10, but he is 0-1 with a 2.63 ERA in three starts since.

Akin has completed no more than five innings in any of those starts and looks for a better effort after he yielded three runs, five hits and three walks in four innings of a 4-2 loss at Tampa Bay on Friday. Another of his starts came against the Indians on June 4, when he was much more effective, allowing three hits and striking out four over five scoreless innings of a 3-1 win.

Akin did not face Bobby Bradley in the contest, but could on Wednesday.

Bradley was called up from Triple-A Columbus one day after Akin stymied the Indians. And since making his 2021 debut for Cleveland, Bradley is 11-for-25 (.440) with three home runs and 10 RBIs. One of those homers came during Tuesday’s 7-2 victory.

Teammate Amed Rosario had three hits Tuesday, and is batting .390 in his last 15 games.

–Field Level Media

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