CLEVELAND — The Indians are no longer waiting for Jose Ramirez to heat up.
They’re expecting it.
Ramirez, who hit home runs in each of Cleveland’s wins over Texas in a doubleheader Wednesday, is batting .327 (48-for-147) with 11 of his 16 homers and 32 of his 60 RBIs since June 21.
The extended hot spell has raised Ramirez’s batting average from .201 to .245.
“He’s been doing it for a while now, which is really good,” manager Terry Francona said of Ramirez. “He’s a great player. He just got caught up in some bad habits hitting and it took him a while, and his confidence took a hit. But he’s a great player.”
The Indians are 13-2 when Ramirez homers and 33-5 when he drives in a run.
“It’s so good to see him hit,” said Game 1 starter Zach Plesac. “It seems like more times than not he’s hitting the ball hard, just some times at people. For him to come up with that big two-run homer that put us in the lead, it’s kind of like you felt the energy that our relievers were gonna come in and do the job.”
On the mend
- Right-hander Corey Kluber (right forearm fracture) is scheduled to make his rehab debut tonight at Triple-A Columbus. He’s been sidelined since May 2.
- Right-hander Dan Otero (right shoulder) resumed his rehab assignment Tuesday night, pitching a scoreless inning without allowing a hit and striking out one in Columbus’ 5-4 loss to Pawtucket.
He is expected to pitch for the Clippers again tonight.
Franmil Reyes made his first start in the field for the Indians, opening the second game of the doubleheader in right field. It didn’t help him at the plate, where he went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and is 2-for-25 with 10 strikeouts over his first seven games for Cleveland.
The Indians are on the road for a big four-game series at Minnesota before returning home for a three-game set against Boston.
Mike Clevinger (6-2, 3.07 ERA) opens the series with the Twins tonight at 8:10, opposing right-hander Kyle Gibson (11-4, 4.02), while Shane Bieber (11-4, 3.31) goes for Cleveland on Friday (8:10 p.m.) against left-hander Devin Smeltzer (1-1, 2.28).
Adam Plutko (4-2, 4.55) goes for the Indians on Saturday (7:10 p.m.) against right-hander Jake Odorizzi (12-6, 3.61), while Aaron Civale (1-1, 0.75) starts for Cleveland in the series finale Sunday (2:10 p.m) against right-hander Jose Berrios (10-6, 3.24).
The Indians are 4-5 against the Twins — 1-2 at Target Field. After the series is complete, the teams will meet six more times before the end of the regular season. The first three are in Minnesota (Sept. 6-8), followed by a three-game series at Progressive Field (Sept. 13-15).
Recently-demoted outfielder Jake Bauers went 2-for-4 with his first homer for Columbus in the loss to Pawtucket on Tuesday. Bauers went 5-for-12 over his first three games for the Clippers.
- Closer Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth inning of Game 1 to notch his 28th save in just his third appearance since July 31. It was the left-hander’s first save since July 27.
- Ramirez recorded his 23rd stolen base in the second inning. It moved him into a tie for fourth in the American League with Texas’ Elvis Andrus.
- Right-hander Phil Maton was recalled from Columbus to serve as the 26th man for the doubleheader. He did not appear and will be optioned back to the minors today.