MLB Game Preview - Braves v Indians

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4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 PM CT, April 19, 2019
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio

Indians hope to have Lindor back vs. Braves

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Braves at Cleveland Indians

  1. The last two series between these teams have resulted in sweeps - the Indians swept a three-game series in June 2016, and the Braves swept the Indians in three games in August 2013.
  2. Since the beginning of last season, the Braves have won one interleague series, tied with the Mets, Mariners and White Sox for fewest in MLB. That series win came in their first interleague set of 2018 - both the Braves and Indians will be playing their first interleague games of 2019.
  3. The Indians completed a three-game sweep of the Mariners yesterday, holding the M's to two and zero runs in their last two games, respectively. Cleveland has held opponents to two runs or fewer 10 times this season -- only the Rays (12) have more such games.
  4. Ronald Acuna Jr.'s nine-game active hitting streak is the second longest of his career, trailing an 11-game streak last August. Only Anthony Rendon (16) and Willy Adames (10) have longer active streaks. Acuna is seeing 4.70 pitches per plate appearance this season, second among MLB qualifiers (Rhys Hoskins, 4.91).
  5. In Carlos Santana's first off day of the season on Wednesday, Jake Bauers filled in at first base and hit a solo homer in a 1-0 Indians win. The Indians' .404 batting average and .521 OBP from first basemen both lead MLB in 2019.
  6. Corey Kluber's .305 opponent batting average in interleague games last season ranked last in MLB among the 27 pitchers to make at least five interleague starts.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 4/19/2019 thru 4/21/2019

The Cleveland Indians will see a familiar face on Friday when they return home to open a three-game interleague series against the Atlanta Braves.

Three-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor will be reassessed by the team's medical staff after his three-game stint with Triple-A Columbus Clippers.

Lindor, who sustained a left ankle injury near the end of spring training, will be driven back following the Clippers' contest on Thursday in Louisville, Ky.

"It just seems like it's an easier way to get him back to Cleveland," Indians manager Terry Francona said, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I think it's better than getting up in the morning and flying."

Whether the Indians activate Lindor from the injured list is anyone's guess, however the club could use his bat to aid an offense that has scored just 63 runs and is batting .201 in 18 games this season. The 25-year-old Lindor batted .277 last season with a career-high 38 home runs and 92 RBIs while adding 25 steals.

Despite Cleveland's considerable troubles at the plate, it has won three in a row and nine of 13 heading into the opener of its five-game homestand.

Jake Bauers provided the offense in Wednesday's victory, as he belted a one-out homer in the fifth inning in a 1-0 win over Seattle.

"All you can do is battle, hope you get something to hit and put a good swing on it," said the 23-year-old Bauers, who has hit safely in 10 of his last 14 games.

Two-time American League Cy Young Award recipient Corey Kluber (1-2, 6.16 ERA) will get the nod on Friday as he looks to rebound after allowing six runs for the second time in three starts. The right-hander also surrendered his first two homers of the season before exiting after 2 2/3 innings of a no-decision against Kansas City on Sunday.

Kluber put forth a dominant performance in his lone career start against Atlanta, yielding two runs on three hits while striking out seven to pick up the win in a 5-3 victory on June 28, 2016.

Josh Donaldson (7-for-19, homer, five RBIs) has fared well against the 33-year-old Kluber, while Brian McCann (3-for-12, six strikeouts), Nick Markakis (2-for-13) and Tyler Flowers (1-for-16, seven strikeouts) have struggled mightily versus the hurler.

Freddie Freeman, who is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Kluber, led off the eighth inning with a towering homer in Thursday afternoon's 4-1 setback to Arizona.

Ronald Acuna Jr. is 16-for-32 with four homers, 10 RBIs and nine runs scored during his nine-game hitting streak for the Braves, who were swept by the Diamondbacks and have dropped five of their last seven.

"We've just got to grind through it," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "I've always said, on the back end of things like this there's something really good if you handle it. Take responsibility for it, (take) ownership of what we're doing, and if you do that and we keep working, there's good things on the other end of that when you weather those storms."

Braves right-hander Touki Toussaint (1-0, 0.00) originally was scheduled to start on Thursday before having the outing pushed back for rest purposes.

Toussaint will make his sixth career start and first this season after permitting one run on four hits in six innings of relief in Saturday's 11-7 win over the New York Mets.

The 22-year-old has not faced the Indians or anyone on their current roster in his major league career.

--Field Level Media

Updated April 18, 2019

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