The Rockies and Indians don't have a ton of history -- Friday night's 5-2 Cleveland win was just their 19th meeting all-time -- but Colorado's starter on Saturday is a little more familiar with the host Indians than most of his teammates.
Franklin Morales, who will take to the Progressive Field mound at 3:05 p.m. ET for the second of three games, spent the majority of the last three seasons playing in Boston and has matched up against the Indians in seven games (one start). Despite a 6.10 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, Morales limited Cleveland batters to a .250 average while striking out 11 in 10 1/3 innings.
Morales will take any potential advantage into Saturday's start given his season thus far. Since re-joining the Rockies -- the organization with which he started his career -- he has a 5.56 ERA through 11 games (10 starts). His most recent outing -- the left-hander's third loss of the month -- was an ugly one: five runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Braves. Three of Atlanta's five hits went over the fence.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss thinks Morales might be better off this time around, however.
"It could be a better matchup because Cleveland is very left-handed," Weiss said. "But you've still got to go out there and make pitches, be in good counts and all those things we talk about with Frankie. He's certainly capable of doing it. He's had some dominant performances this year. Command is typically what it comes down to with a pitcher that's taking the mound that night."
Trevor Bauer knows what that's like. The Indians' right-hander has walked eight batters in 16 1/3 Major League innings (three starts) this season, including three in just 4 1/3 innings his last time out against Baltimore. Bauer also averaged two free passes per start with Triple-A Columbus.
"Right from the get-go, he was having a tough time commanding his fastball. You saw a lot of deep counts," manager Terry Francona said after Bauer's most recent start. "Stuff was good, just a lot of it was elevated."
This will be the third time through the rotation for Bauer, whose fastball has averaged 96.6 mph this season after sitting at 93 in past years. Early payoffs for Cleveland have been decent -- 3.86 ERA, 1.53 WHIP -- but another step up to bring Bauer closer to realizing the potential that once made him one of the top pitching prospects in the game would be significant for a struggling rotation.
The Rockies, though, might not be the best team to do that against. Colorado has the second highest-scoring offense in baseball (273 runs) thanks to a team batting average (.286), on-base percentage (.337) and slugging percentage (.468) that all rank tops in baseball.
With the loss Friday, the Rockies are losers of six of their last eight games. The Indians are just 4-5 in that same stretch, and a win Saturday would give them their first series win in their last three tries.
Indians: Base thief Bourn still working toward full strength
For Michael Bourn, who has averaged 47 steals in six full seasons, 2014 has been different. He's swiped only four bases -- including two this month -- on seven tries. Since getting caught twice on April 23 by the Royals, Bourn has attempted to steal just twice (both times successfully).
His left hamstring is mostly to blame for that trend. He missed the first half of April with the balky hammy, on which he had surgery over the offseason. Still now, a month and a half later, it's not quite 100 percent.
"I'm getting close to it," Bourn said. "I just have to let it heal when it's healed. I can't try to push it, to try to force it into healing. It just doesn't work like that. They've been doing a good job. [Francona] has [told] me to let him know how it feels. If something happens to it, I can say, 'Hey, I did everything I could.'"
Rockies: Stubbs back in Cleveland
Drew Stubbs' short tenure as an Indian was forgettable -- he hit .233 with a .305 on-base percentage, .360 slugging mark and a career-low 17 stolen bases -- and concluded when Cleveland sent him to Colorado for lefty Josh Outman last winer.
Now, though, he's back in Cleveland with Colorado -- and playing well, albeit in a more limited role. As the Rockies' backup center fielder, Stubbs is batting .330/.373/.490 with six stolen bases in as many tries.
Francona said he is happy to see his former outfielder playing well.
"I don't want him to [play well] the next three days," Francona half-joked. "Yeah, he's doing a good job. He was a pretty popular teammate when he was over here, not just in the clubhouse, but in the coaches' room. We all liked him."
• Jason Kipnis is not expected to play for the Indians. He was 2-for-4 out of the cleanup spot Friday, his second game back from an oblique strain.
• Count Corey Dickerson, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez among those who have enjoyed May. Entering the last day of the month, their May averages stand at .354, .357 and .295, respectively. Gonzalez's month in particular has been strong relative to his season overall, as he hit .241 in April.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.