CLEVELAND — Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera’s bid to play in all of the Indians’ 162 games this season came to an end Sunday.
Cabrera, who started Cleveland’s first 88 games, was not in the lineup for the series finale with Toronto, and did not make an appearance in his team’s final game before the All-Star break.
After missing a large part of last season, then returning prematurely from a broken forearm, Cabrera listed playing every day during the regular season as one of this goals in 2011.
“That’s tough to do,” said Cleveland manager Manny Acta after hinting early in the week that Cabrera would likely get a day off during the four-game series against the Blue Jays.
Cabrera left Friday’s game with a sprained ankle, but was back in the lineup Saturday, and has been the Indians’ best position player during the first half — hitting .293 with the club lead in home runs (14), RBIs (51), runs (55), hits (105) and stolen bases (12).
He will be back in a starting role Tuesday night, when he opens the All-Star Game for the American League at Arizona’s Chase Field in place of Derek Jeter.
No ordinary Joe
The streak goes on for right-hander Joe Smith, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning Sunday and has not allowed an earned run in his last 25 games — the longest current streak in the majors.
Smith’s scoreless streak is the third-longest by a Cleveland pitcher since 1919, trailing only Paul Assenmacher (31 games in 1997) and Jose Mesa (29 games in 1995).
His season ERA of 0.85 is the second-lowest among big league relievers behind Philadelphia’s Antonio Bastardo (0.82).
For much of the first half, reliever Vinnie Pestano was the picture of consistency, but the right-hander has hit a rough patch.
Though he struck out the side in order in the eighth inning Sunday, Pestano (1-0, 2.97 ERA, 37 games) has allowed seven runs on nine hits over his last seven appearances (5 1/3 innings).
“This is interesting, because he hasn’t struggled yet,” Acta said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to find out how he’s going to react.”
Pestano, who owns more strikeouts (47 in 33 1/3 innings) than any Cleveland reliever, is viewing it as a bump in the road.
“You’re going to go through stretches like that,” he said. “You just have to get to a point where you have to let it go.”
The Indians open the second half with a four-game series at Baltimore that begins Thursday at 7:05.
Justin Masterson (7-6, 2.64 ERA) opens the set, opposing RHP Jeremy Guthrie (3-11, 4.23), while Josh Tomlin (10-4, 3.81) starts Friday (7:05) against RHP Jake Arrieta (9-6, 4.90).
Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 4.28) will go Saturday (7:05) for Cleveland, while Baltimore counters with RHP Alfredo Simon (1-2, 4.85). Mitch Talbot (2-6, 6.33) is scheduled to start the series finale Sunday (1:35), with the Orioles yet to name a pitcher.
Both Triple-A Columbus infielder Jason Kipnis and High-A Kinston pitcher Drew Pomeranz played in the Futures Game on Sunday night, as part of the All-Star Game festivities. Kipnis is batting .297 with 11 homers and 51 RBIs in 83 games for the Clippers, while Pomeranz is 3-2 with a 1.87 ERA in 15 starts for Kinston. Pomeranz, Cleveland’s first-round draft choice (fifth overall) last year, will be promoted to Double-A Akron after the game. … Right fielder Ezequiel Carrera and shortstop Jason Donald combined for all five of Columbus’ hits in a 5-2 loss to Toledo on Saturday. Carrera had three hits and scored both of the Clippers’ runs. LHP David Huff (8-2, 3.70) didn’t figure in the decision, allowing a run on five hits, while striking out five in six innings.
The Indians enter the All-Star break with a 47-42 record, their best start after 89 games since 2007 (53-36). … Cleveland ended the first half with a 27-18 record at Progressive Field. The Indians didn’t win their 27th game at home until Aug. 15 of last year.
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