Edwin Encarnacion looks to follow up a smashing debut with the team when his Cleveland Indians visit the Texas Rangers for the middle contest of their three-game series on Tuesday. Encarnacion, who signed a three-year, $60 million contract in the offseason, went 2-for-5 with a solo homer and two runs scored as the Indians rallied from a four-run deficit for an 8-5 victory in Monday’s season opener for both teams.
Even without injured regulars Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland looked dangerous with the bats, getting a pair of doubles and an RBI from Carlos Santana along with a two-run blast from Jose Ramirez. Rougned Odor belted homers in his first two at-bats to help stake the Rangers to a 5-1 lead after three innings, but starter Yu Darvish and the bullpen imploded. Nomar Mazara and Elvis Andrus also recorded two hits for Texas, which is without veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre due to a calf injury and saw his replacement, Joey Gallo, account for two of the team’s 12 strikeouts. Martin Perez will try to help get Texas its first victory of the season Tuesday while Cleveland will counter with Carlos Carrasco, whom the club missed in the playoffs last season.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), FSN Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Carlos Carrasco (2016: 11-8, 3.32 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Martin Perez (2016: 10-11, 4.39)
Carrasco returns to the rotation after missing the 2016 postseason when he was hit by a line drive that broke his right hand on Sept. 17 and being bothered by elbow swelling in spring training. The 30-year-old Venezuelan has been outstanding in 55 starts over the last two seasons, posting 25 wins and 366 strikeouts in 330 innings. Andrus is 5-for-14 and Mike Napoli 3-for-4 against Carrasco, who is 1-3 with a 5.73 ERA in seven career appearances (five starts) versus Texas.
Perez made a career-high 33 starts last year and reached double digits in wins for the second time in his career while coming within four outs of his first 200-inning campaign. The 25-year-old Venezuelan was much better at home (8-3, 3.24 ERA) than on the road (2-8, 5.78) last season, but he recorded only 103 strikeouts while issuing 76 walks. Abraham Almonte is 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs while Santana is 2-for-5 with a double against Perez, who is 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA in three career games (two starts) versus the Indians.
1. Napoli, who recorded career highs of 34 homers and 101 RBIs with the Indians last season, was 1-for-3 with a run scored Monday to start his third stint with the Rangers.
2. Cleveland LF Michael Brantley, who was limited to 11 games by a shoulder injury last season, went 1-for-5 with an RBI single in his 2017 debut.
3. Texas CF Carlos Gomez, who belted eight homers in 33 games after being signed as a free agent last season, hit a solo blast Monday.
PREDICTION: Indians 6, Rangers 2