CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians will attempt to run their winning streak to a season-high seven games Sunday against the slumping Detroit Tigers in the final game of a three-game series.
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, it’s also the end of a nine-game homestand in which they’ve gone 6-2.
The Tigers have lost four in a row and go into Sunday’s game with a 3-9 record against the Indians this year. They’re 6-28 since June 25, 2015.
The staggering Tigers made a flurry of roster moves before Saturday’s game, starting with activating pitcher Francisco Liriano off the 10-day disabled list. Liriano pitched four innings and took the loss Saturday in a 4-1 Cleveland victory.
The Tigers also optioned infielder Ronny Rodriguez to Triple-A Toledo. They placed pitcher Johnny Barbato on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis. To replace Barbato on the roster, Detroit recalled right-handed pitcher Artie Lewicki from Toledo.
The pitching matchup Sunday will be Detroit left-hander Matthew Boyd (4-5, 3.63 ERA) vs. Cleveland right-hander Adam Plutko (3-1, 5.04).
Boyd will make his second start against the Indians this year. His first one was a good one. On April 10, the Tigers lost to Cleveland 2-1. Boyd worked seven innings, giving up one run and three hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
Boyd comes into Sunday after a loss in his last start, 9-5 to Cincinnati on June 19. In that game, he pitched four innings, giving up five runs and six hits with five strikeouts and three walks. In six career appearances against the Indians Authentic Josh Allen Jersey
, Boyd is 1-2 with a 1.78 ERA.
Plutko’s last appearance was a two-inning relief stint during the Indians’ 9-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on June 16. In that game, Plutko pitched two innings, giving up one run and two hits with one strikeout and no walks.
Plutko’s last start was a 5-1 loss to the White Sox on June 12 in which he pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up five runs and eight hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
Sunday will be Plutko’s second career appearance against Detroit. He made a relief appearance against the Tigers on Sept. 27, 2016, allowing three runs and three hits, including a home run, with one walk and one strikeout in two innings.
Sunday was supposed to be Mike Clevinger’s day to start, but Indians manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Carl Willis decided to tweak the rotation. Clevinger will instead pitch Monday in St. Louis. Corey Kluber, who’s day to pitch would have been Monday, will now pitch Tuesday against the Cardinals.
“Somebody was going to get an extra day Antonio Callaway Color Rush Jersey
,” Francona said. “Just talking to Carl, we felt like Clev’s thrown 100 (or more) pitches in nine (of his last 10 starts). So giving him an extra day, we just thought it would help us more than anything. So that’s why we changed it.”
Plutko will be backed by a Cleveland bullpen that is much improved since the additions of newcomers Oliver Perez and Neil Ramirez. Ramirez has a 2.57 ERA in 16 games, and in his nine appearances with Cleveland Perez has a 1.17 ERA.
“The reliever world can be very volatile, so when you hit on guys like that, it sure helps,” Francona said.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are trying to get their offense started. Detroit has scored three runs or less in four of its last five games, being outscored 29-12 in those games.
Billy Connors, a three-time New York Yankees pitching coach and confidant of late owner George Steinbrenner Tyler Austin New York Yankees Jersey
, has died. He was 76.
The Yankees said Wednesday that Connors died Saturday. The team held a moment of silence before their game Wednesday night against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium.
”A close and trusted friend of my family for many years,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. ”Billy contributed to the organization in countless ways over his long career as a pitching coach, executive and advisor.”
Connors coached the Yankees from 1989-90, 1994-95 and 2000, and was vice president of player personnel from 1996-2012. He was instrumental in the development of Yankees pitchers Orlando Hernandez, Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang and Mariano Rivera.
Steinbrenner and Connors would go over pitching plans not only at the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Florida, but also while regularly watching Tampa Bay Lightning hockey games in the Boss’ suite.
A native of Schenectady, New York, Connors played baseball and basketball at Syracuse and was member of the Schenectady team that won the Little League World Series in 1954.
Connors spent three seasons in the major leagues Billy Price Color Rush Jersey
, starting with the Cubs in 1966 and then with the New York Mets the following two years. He was 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in one start and 25 relief appearances.
Connors became a Mets batting practice pitcher in 1971 and was a minor league pitching instructor for New York from 1972-76. He spent 17 years in the big leagues as a pitching coach, working for the Chicago Cubs from 1982-86, and also spent time with Kansas City and Seattle.
He was with the Cubs when they won the NL East championship in 1984, the teams’ first postseason trip since winning the 1945 NL pennant. Rick Sutcliffe, acquired in a mid-season trade from Cleveland, went 16-1 to capture the NL Cy Young Award.
Connors also helped the Royals win the 1980 AL pennant.
Former Yankees pitcher Jim Abbott shared a story about Connors’ on Twitter.
”Sadly, our family once lost a beloved dog in an accident,” Abbott wrote. ”I was with the Yankees and on the road in Anaheim when it happened. Our pitching coach, Billy Connors, told me I needed to be at the ballpark early the next day. I arrived to the Yankee clubhouse to find the cutest brown and white Springer Spaniel, ribbon around its neck Authentic Saquon Barkley Jersey
, frolicking with the players. Billy with a smile on his face. He had driven around Southern CA all morning in search of this puppy. We lived with `Billy’ the Springer Spaniel for 12 years, never forgetting the smile on Billy’s face that day in Anaheim.”
Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux, at his induction ceremony, discussed the important role Connors played in his career. Atlanta scout Tom ”T-Bone” Giordano scouted Connors as a high school player and the pair became long-time friends.
”Lost a dear friend and a heck of guy,” the 92-year-old Giordano said. ”A great baseball man.”