Friday, August 19, 2011

No Kipnis? Big problem

It's still only August, but any series between the two top teams in the AL Central is a big series. That makes the Indians' three-game series that starts Friday in Detroit a big one. The second place Indians are 1 1/2 games behind the first place Tigers, but the two teams are tied in the loss column.

The Indians got some good news and some bad news on the eve of the series. The good news is the Indians won't face Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander in the series. The bad news is the Indians probably won't have Jason Kipnis in the series. They may not have him for the next two weeks, or perhaps even longer than that.

Kipnis has a strained oblique and a strained hamstring. Each of those injuries typically take three to four weeks to heal. Manager Manny Acta said after Thursday's game that Kipnis will likely be put on the disabled list, which means the Indians will have to play the next two weeks, if not longer, without their sparkplug rookie second baseman.

Even though he has only played in 18 games since being recalled from Columbus, Kipnis is sixth on the Indians in home runs, with six. For an Indians lineup that struggles to score runs on a nightly basis, the loss of Kipnis is huge.

The timing couldn't be worse for the Indians. Counting the series that begins Friday they have nine games remaining with the Tigers. All of them are big ones, obviously, especially if the Indians are going to have to play them without Kipnis.


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