Winners of a franchise-best 17 straight contests, the Cleveland Indians look to bring out the brooms for the fifth consecutive series on Sunday night when they play the finale of their three-game set against the visiting Baltimore Orioles. Trevor Bauer, who will vie for an American League-best 16th victory, has won a career-best eight straight decisions and owns a 2.47 ERA in his last 10 appearances.
Francisco Lindor belted his second solo homer in three contests during Saturday’s 4-2 victory, improving to 6-for-13 with five runs scored in that stretch. The 23-year-old is 9-for-27 with two homers, six RBIs in five games against the Orioles this season. While Cleveland hasn’t lost since Aug. 23 and has outscored its foes 118-30 during its gaudy win streak, Baltimore has been outscored 18-3 during its three-game skid to fall three games behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot. Manny Machado has hit safely in seven of his last nine contests and is 6-for-9 with three homers and four RBIs in his career versus Bauer.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-8, 5.26 ERA) vs. Indians RH Trevor Bauer (15-8, 4.39)
Hellickson owns a 2-3 mark with a 6.87 ERA in seven starts with Baltimore and was fortunate to walk away with a no-decision on Tuesday after allowing five runs in 2 1/3 innings versus the New York Yankees. The 30-year-old issued four free passes for the second straight outing to drive up his pitch count on Tuesday, although he kept the ball in the park after yielding eight homers in his previous four trips to the mound. Hellickson owns a 2-1 mark with a 3.00 ERA in four career starts versus Cleveland.
Bauer has made seven quality starts in his last eight outings and has struck out 65 batters in his last 58 1/3 innings spanning 10 appearances (nine starts). The 26-year-old won his fourth consecutive start on Monday after striking out nine and limiting the damage to two runs on three hits in a 5-3 victory at the Chicago White Sox. Bauer hasn’t been as fortunate in his career versus Baltimore, posting an 0-3 mark with a 6.75 ERA.
1. Cleveland’s franchise-record win streak is the longest in the majors since Oakland emerged victorious in 20 straight in 2002.
2. Baltimore SS Tim Beckham, who belted his 20th homer on Saturday, is batting .350 with eight HRs and 21 RBIs since being acquired from Tampa Bay on July 31.
3. Indians DH Edwin Encarnacion, who had an infield single in the seventh on Saturday, has reached base in a majors-best 32 consecutive games.
PREDICTION: Orioles 3, Indians 2