Indians look to sweep two-game set against Cubs

MLB Baseball

Injuries to the Cleveland pitching staff have added up while a .227 team batting average has kept the Indians down in the bottom third of the major leagues in that category.

Still, those hardships hardly have tripped up the Tribe, as Cleveland will seek its seventh win in nine games Tuesday in the finale of a two-game series against the host Chicago Cubs.

“Baseball is a beautiful game because of the struggle and the successes in it,” Indians right fielder Josh Naylor said. “You just have to keep grinding, man. That’s just the name of the game, just nose to the grind.

“Not every day is going to be great. Every day is not going to be perfect. As long as you put in the work behind the scenes, I feel like it’s going to click in a game. I think that’s what we do throughout our whole lineup. Everyone’s working, whether they’re struggling or not.”

Chicago and Cleveland each collected six hits Monday night, but the Indians won 4-0 behind a solo home run from Bobby Bradley and a two-run shot from Naylor.

Rookie right-hander Eli Morgan (0-1, 12.79 ERA) will try to keep the Indians rolling as he makes his third career start, his first in interleague play.

Morgan worked a career-best 3 2/3 innings Thursday in his most recent start, taking a no-decision against the Baltimore Orioles after scattering three runs and five hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks (9-4, 4.13 ERA) will aim to reach double-digit victories for the fourth time in his career as he gets the call for Chicago.

Hendricks has won each of his past seven starts, compiling a 2.54 ERA in that span with 35 strikeouts against just seven walks. In his lone career regular-season appearance against the Indians, on Aug. 12, 2020, he earned the win with six innings of one-run ball. He scattered seven hits while amassing five strikeouts without a walk.

Chicago has lost six of eight while scoring three runs or fewer in each game. On Monday, the Cubs went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position while stranding seven.

Shortstop Javier Baez was removed from the game following a mental lapse to end the Cubs’ turn at-bat in the fourth inning. Manager David Ross showed little patience after Baez lost count of the number of outs as he stood on first base with one away.

Baez ran all the way to third base on an Anthony Rizzo flyout to left, then barely sauntered back as he was doubled off to end the inning.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re focused and locked in during the game, and sometimes our frustrations can distract us a little bit,” said Ross, who did not share what he said to Baez in the dugout.

Baez said, “I respect his decision. He told me why it happened and I said, ‘OK, it’s your decision.'”

The Indians have won all three meetings between the teams this year after sweeping a two-game set in Cleveland last month.

–Field Level Media

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