Two of the most successful teams to start the 2017 season will meet this week in the desert southwest.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will host the Cleveland Indians for a three-game series with both teams having won 3 games to open the season.
It might have been expected that Cleveland, the defending champions in the American League, would sweep an opening series in Texas.
However, Arizona’s successful start could not have been predicted, especially given the opponent it faced to open the season. On Thursday, Arizona won 9-3 to win three of four from a playoff team in 2016 and a perennial contender in the National League West the San Francisco Giants.
San Francisco had won 12 of the past 13 series against Arizona at Chase Field.
A three-run home run by Jake Lamb broke the game wide open on Thursday. Lamb and slugger Paul Goldschmidt each have two of the six home runs by Arizona. The team batted .303 in its four game series against the Giants.
Robbie Ray a starting pitcher for Arizona said winning three of four games was huge to start the new season under a new manager.
Prior to having an off day Thursday, Cleveland swept its opening series with Texas. The three straight wins are the fastest start for an Indians team since 1998.
Francisco Lindor the Cleveland shortstop hit two home runs in one game for the first time and had a career high five runs batted in as the Indians swept the Rangers 9-6 using five runs in the ninth on Wednesday. Lindor, a switch hitter, homered from each side of the plate Wednesday.
Josh Tomlin a right-hander for Cleveland will oppose Shelby Miller a right hander for Arizona, which will be first starts for each on Friday.
Tomlin last season was 13-9 with an ERA of 4.40 when he established new highs for starts, victories and strikeouts. In two career starts versus Arizona, Tomlin has an ERA of 1.46.
Miller last season was 3-12 with an ERA of 6.15 in his 20 starts. This will be his first start against Cleveland.
This season the Indians added slugger Edwin Encarnacion and moved Carlos Santana to leadoff.
Santana has started well hitting .417 with a pair of doubles, one home run and four runs batted in.
Terry Francona the Cleveland manager said it was a luxury having someone like Santana that he can keep at the leadoff spot for the season.