Indians set to face off against Guillen, NL

Indians set to face off against Guillen, NL

Indians set to face off against Guillen, NL
As it turns out, the Indians haven't seen the last of Ozzie Guillen.

The former Chicago White Sox manager will return to Progressive Field for an Interleague series against the Indians on Friday, this time as the skipper for the Miami Marlins.

The outspoken Guillen, who has found himself in hot water many times over the years for his sometimes controversial comments, has had a good amount of success against Cleveland. The Indians were just 67-80 against Guillen's White Sox during his eight years as their manager.

"It feels like I just played against him when he was still in Chicago," Indians first baseman Casey Kotchman said, smiling. "He's been entertaining, we could say."

2012 INTERLEAGUE PLAY PREVIEW
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The Marlins started slow this season, but they have been one of the league's hottest teams in May. Led by Omar Infante's strong start at the plate and solid team pitching, Miami has gone an MLB-best 11-3 during the month.

After their first series of Interleague Play against Guillen and the Marlins over the weekend, the Indians will play 15 games against the National League Central, beginning June 8-10 against the St. Louis Cardinals. They have six games against the in-state rival Cincinnati Reds, who are battling the Cardinals for first place in the division.

The only NL Central teams the Indians won't play are the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers.

"It's good for the fans," Kotchman said of Interleague Play. "They get to see a variety of teams that don't normally come to Cleveland, so it keeps the energy level high [in the stadium]."

Players to watch
Travis Hafner, DH (.295, 18 HR, 60 RBI): Hafner has a .405 on-base percentage in 99 career Interleague games.
Johnny Damon, OF (.287, 19 HR, 108 RBI): Damon has played in more than twice as many Interleague games as anyone else on the Indians roster, and has been very productive. He has a .359 on-base percentage in 248 career Interleague games.
Derek Lowe, RHP (17-20, 4.21 ERA): While Lowe's overall Interleague record is fairly average, he has a 10-1 record against the Pirates and an 8-5 record against the Marlins.

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, who was with the team, but didn't play in an Interleague game last season, said he's excited to experience Interleague Play for the first time.

"It mixes things up, gives you a chance to play teams and play in cities you might not get to otherwise," Kipnis said. "And you get to see some of the other players, so there are some fun things about mixing it up and getting to see new faces."

Last year: The Indians played against the National League West, along with three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates and six games against the Cincinnati Reds. Cleveland's 11-7 Interleague record was the fourth best in baseball.

All-time: Cleveland is 129-136 in Interleague Play, the 10th best record in the American League. The Indians' best Interleague year was 2005 when they went 15-3, and their worst seasons were 2009 and 2010. The Indians were 5-13 in each of those years.

vs. Miami Marlins, May 18-20: Buy tickets
The Marlins, featuring shortstop Jose Reyes and third baseman Hanley Ramirez, have had an up-and-down start to the year under new manager Ozzie Guillen, but they're a hot 11-3 in the month of May. The Indians are 3-6 all-time against the Marlins, last playing them in 2007.

at St. Louis Cardinals, June 8-10: Buy tickets
The Indians have fared well against the Cardinals historically, going 12-5 in 17 total meetings. The Cardinals, led by last year's World Series MVP David Freese, are in first place in the National League Central despite losing star first baseman Albert Pujols to free agency.

at Cincinnati Reds, June 12-14: Buy tickets
The Indians went 5-1 against their in-state rivals last season, and they're 39-36 all-time against the Reds. The teams will meet a second time in Cleveland June 18-20.

vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, June 15-18: Buy tickets
The Pirates are hovering around the .500 mark and are currently in third place in the National League Central. The Indians swept Pittsburgh last season and they are 15-15 all-time against the Pirates.

at Houston Astros, June 22-24: Buy tickets
The Indians are just 7-8 all-time against the Astros, but they haven't played them since 2001.

Justin Albers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.