After three straight series against the top pitching in the league, facing the Mariners should be a welcome relief to Indians hitters. When I say top pitching, I'm not exaggerating. The Athletics, Rays and Angels are 1-2-3 in the AL in ERA, with the Indians following directly at number 4. Seattle is sixth, so they're no AAAA joke staff, but they also can't compare to the teams the Tribe just faced. Here's a look at the upcoming pitching match-ups.
Fausto Carmona (3-3, 3.83 ERA) v. Doug Fister (2-4, 3.40 ERA)
Fausto will be faced with the task of stopping a two game losing streak for the Tribe. It will be the first time he takes the mound after the team lost more than one game in a row, and hopefully he will be up to the task. Since the first game of the season, Carmona has been dominant, going at least 5 innings in each game and at least 7 in all but one. After starting with an ERA of 30.00, he has dropped it every game except the one he only went 5 innings, lowering it to an impressive 3.83. Fausto has been subject to some bad luck and poor run support this season, as he has only two starts with more than 2 earned runs allowed, but his record is only 3-3 in 8 games.
Doug Fister came into this season with low expectations, but has done his job well to this point, starting 7 games and only twice allowing more than 2 runs. Fister pitched against Cleveland in his second start of the season and played well, going 6 innings, while only allowing 1 earned run on 6 hits. Fister took the loss when the Indians won 2-1 behind the powerful arm of Justin Masterson.
Alex White (1-0, 3.75 ERA) v. Erik Bedard (1-4, 4.78 ERA)
Alex White will be making his third, and possibly last (for a while at least), start this season. With Mitch Talbot slated to come back from the disabled list soon, White is the obvious choice for demotion to AAA. White has pitched extremely well to this point, showing why he was a first round draft pick and hopefully showing the Indians that they don't always have to be so conservative with their prospects. Alex looked good in both starts and earned his first Major League win his last time out. After seeing both him and Jeanmar Gomez pitch this season, White will be the first on the list if another Indians pitcher goes down with an injury this year.
Erik Bedard has been a huge disappointment for the M's ever since they traded for him from the Orioles for future star outfielder, Adam Jones. Bedard is yet to pitch in more than 15 games in a season for Seattle, although it looks like he could this year. This is the first year since 2007 that Bedard has been healthy, but that alone has not produced results. Bedard's ERA is a full point higher this season than his career ERA (3.76) and his WHIP is 1.41. He has already allowed 7 home runs, two less than his most ever in a season with the Mariners. Last time Cleveland played against Bedard, they tagged him with a loss, pushing him out after 4 innings. Bedard has struggled all season and I wouldn't be surprised to see a repeat of his last performance.
Josh Tomlin (4-1, 2.70 ERA) v. Michael Pineda (4-2, 2.84 ERA)
Josh Tomlin has now pitched in at least 5 innings in 19 straight games to start his career. He had the Indians team record for the a few weeks ago, and is now working on the Major League record, held by Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Boston Red Sox. Tomlin was tagged for his first loss of the season against Oakland, but pitched well, going 7.2 innings and only allowing 2 earned runs. In his last start Josh didn't get a decision, but was integral in bringing Cleveland's home winning streak to 14 games.
Michael Pineda is a Mariner rookie and a big reason they are 6th in the league in team ERA. Pineda has made every start this season and doesn't deserve a record as bad as 4-2, since he has only allowed 4 runs once in a game, and never any more than that. Pineda missed the first series with the Tribe, but has pitched against two teams that beat the Indians, the Royals and the Athletics. In those two games he gave up a total of one run in 12 innings. Both of his losses have come against Texas and they are fourth in the AL in runs scored (right ahead of Cleveland).