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Indians' Clevinger seeks second straight win vs. Orioles

By
Jim Ingraham, The Sports Xchange
Mike Clevinger and the Cleveland Indians face the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. Photo by Lori Shepler/UPI.
Mike Clevinger and the Cleveland Indians face the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. Photo by Lori Shepler/UPI. | License Photo

CLEVELAND -- Mike Clevinger, who broke a long winless slide in his last start, will try to begin a winning streak Sunday afternoon when he takes the mound for the Cleveland Indians in the finale of a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field.

The teams split the first two games of the series, with Cleveland winning 2-1 on Friday and Baltimore prevailing 4-2 on Saturday, snapping the Indians' six-game winning streak.

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Clevinger (8-7, 3.38 ERA) is coming off his first win in more than a month, even though it was one of his worst starts of the season. On Monday in Cincinnati, Clevinger needed 101 pitches to get through five innings. He gave up two runs and five hits, with six walks and four strikeouts.

"He battled his (expletive) off," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He had traffic the whole game, but didn't back down. He competed and got the win because of it."

Fortunately for Clevinger, the Indians' offense had a big night, helping Clevinger get the 10-3 victory. That win was Clevinger's first since July 1. In six starts between wins, Clevinger was 0-4 with a 4.17 ERA, although he averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings during that span.

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The problem Clevinger had in his last start is one he will try to correct Sunday.

"I had a good fastball (in his last start) but no feel for anything else," he said. "But it's a long season and I'm trying to get better every start. I've got to get my breaking ball better."

Sunday will be Clevinger's first start against the Orioles since April 21, which was his best start of the season. In that game, Clevinger tossed a two-hit, 107-pitch shutout in a 4-0 victory. He struck out three and walked two.

Clevinger has made four career starts against Baltimore and is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA.

Baltimore's Sunday starter will be Yefry Ramirez (1-4, 5.40), who has split the 2018 season between Baltimore and Triple-A Norfolk.

In 14 starts at Norfolk, Ramirez was 3-5 with a 3.88 ERA. In eight starts with the Orioles, he is 1-4 with a 6.17 ERA. He made one relief appearance for Baltimore on June 28 against Seattle and pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and no walks.

Ramirez's only major league win was a 7-6 decision over Boston on July 24. He pitched five innings, allowing three runs and four hits, with six strikeouts and one walk.

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In three starts since, Ramirez is 0-1 with 10.03 ERA. Sunday will be Ramirez's first career appearance against Cleveland.

The Indians made a roster move Saturday that reduced their bullpen by one. Reliever Tyler Olson was optioned to Triple-A Columbus in order to clear a spot for right-hander Adam Plutko, who was recalled to start Saturday's game.

Plutko assumed the spot in the rotation previously held by Trevor Bauer, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Aug. 14 with a stress fracture in his right ankle.

The Orioles are playing without outfielder Adam Jones, who was placed on the bereavement list Friday.

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