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Cleveland Indians get: LHP Mike Gonzalez and RHP Kyle Lohse
Milwaukee Brewers get: RHP Kieran Lovegrove, SS/2B Ronny Rodriguez and RHP Jake Sisco
Even with Justin Verlander slumping for the Detroit Tigers, the Tribe doesn't have the pitching strength to leapfrog them in the standings.
One specific problem has been that their right-handers struggle when at a platoon disadvantage (Ubaldo Jimenez being the unlikely exception). Zach McAllister, for example, surrenders an .816 OPS to left-handed batters and doesn't confidently pound the strike zone against them.
The 34-year-old Lohse could remedy that problem. Since 2011, his performance has been completely unaffected by the opposition's handedness.
Moreover, the staff sorely needs a workhorse to spell the bullpen, which has thrown more pitches than any other American League contender, according to MLB.com. Excluding a rain-shortened outing on June 30, Lohse has lasted six-plus innings in every start for the past two months.
Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti admits that he wants the 'pen to be "a little more consistent," tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Southpaw Rich Hill has pitched himself onto the chopping block. His velocity has gradually risen, but Hill's inability to throw strikes makes him untrustworthy in high-leverage situations.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, has only issued one walk in the entire month of July. The Indians would just need to be careful calling his number on back-to-back days.
As Bleacher Report's own Mike Rosenbaum explains, "Rodriguez’s place in Cleveland’s long-term picture is fading fast" with Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis looking like the middle infield of the future. Both Lovegrove and Sisco are several years away from sniffing a major league mound.