CLEVELAND: Interleague play for the Indians moves into the home stretch on Friday, when the Tribe begins a nine-game trip in Pittsburgh to play the Pirates.
Going into tonight's game against the Mets at Progressive Field, Cleveland is 3-3 against the National League. Considering the club's problems in interleague play over the past three seasons (14-28), the Indians are way ahead of the game this season.
Moreover, even though interleague play will conclude for the Tribe with nine games on the road, the Pirates are not one of the formidable teams in the NL. Unfortunately, for Cleveland, the Phillies and the Reds are contenders in their divisions. After the weekend series in Pittsburgh, the Tribe goes to Philadelphia for three games Tuesday through Thursday before taking on Cincinnati June 25-27.
And just when designated hitter Travis Hafner was beginning to swing the bat with authority, he is being relegated to a pinch hitter for the entire trip. Hafner continued his hot hitting with a solo homer to begin the second inning against the Mets. It was his fourth home run in the past six games.
""So many of our (AL) teams are built around the DH,'' manager Manny Acta said today. ""But it's the same thing when they (NL teams) come here, and their DH is a guy coming off the bench.''