Winners of three straight and six of the last seven games, the New York Yankees will try to stay hot on Saturday afternoon as their weekend set with the Cleveland Indians continues in the Bronx.
The Indians will send their stopper to the hill to try and even the series, as Corey Kluber looks to continue his breakout campaign. On the season, he is 12-6 with a 2.55 ERA with 177 strikeouts and only 35 walks, and since the All- Star Break he's been arguably the best pitcher in baseball, going 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA over his last 34 innings.
Kluber's recent dominance continued on Aug. 4 in a win over Cincinnati, his fifth straight victory. He allowed one earned run in 7 1/3 innings while striking out seven.
"Klubes has pitched to the point where, heck yeah, you better play with confidence," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's one of the best pitchers in the league."
The 28-year-old right-hander is 0-1 in two career starts against the Yankees with a 4.09 ERA.
The Yankees will counter with Brandon McCarthy, who's won four of his five starts since coming over from the Diamondbacks last month, boasting a 2.08 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. His resurgence with a new team has helped an otherwise lackluster season (7-10, 4.37 ERA).
McCarthy was lights out in his latest outing, yielding just one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight in an Aug. 4 win over Detroit.
McCarthy has been especially dominant at Yankee Stadium since being traded, going 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA.
The Yankees got a leg up on the three-game series on Friday night, using the momentum of a five-run first inning to cruise to a 10-6 win.
Carlos Beltran shined out of the clean-up hole, going 2-for-5 with five RBI. The majority of his damage came on a sixth-inning grand slam, his 14th home run of the season. Derek Jeter's first-inning single was the 3,430th hit of his decorated career, which ties Hall of Famer Honus Wagner for sixth place on baseball's all-time list.
"Big names. I mean really big names," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's been fun to watch him go through it this season."
Seven starters finished with at least one hit for the Yankees, while Jacoby Ellsbury worked three walks and scored two runs.
The run support was plenty for Esmil Rogers (2-0), who allowed just one earned run in five innings.
Yankees catcher Brian McCann left the game with what was deemed a mild concussion and could miss Saturday. McCann, in his first year with the Yanks, took a foul ball off his face mask. Francisco Cervelli will most likely play behind the plate if McCann is unable to go.
Trevor Bauer (4-7) was on the losing end of things but toughed out 3 1/3 innings after the rough first inning.
Carlos Santana paced Cleveland, losers of four straight, with three hits and three RBI. David Murphy, Roberto Perez and Jason Kipnis collected two hits apiece.
New York, which sits five games behind Baltimore for the AL East lead and is a half-game out of a wild card spot, is 3-2 against the Tribe this season and will honor former Yankee great Paul O'Neill on Saturday. The club will present the outfielder with his own plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before today's game.
O'Neill currently serves as a game analyst for the YES Network and won four titles with the club.