Tampa Bay Rays set to face off against the Tribe
By Austin Reimann
The Tampa Bay Rays will head to the midwest for a 4 game set with the Cleveland Indians.
After earning a series split with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Rays will head to Cleveland to face the Tribe in a 4 game set that will feature a pair of great pitching matchups.
The opponent: Cleveland Indians
- Record: 25-23
- 2nd in AL Central
- Last 10 Games: 5-5
The Cleveland Indians, who have claimed the AL Central title the past three seasons, ar in 2nd place behind the young and powerful Minnesota Twins, who hold a sizable lead. On the mound, Cleveland’s staff is one of the best in the league but at the plate, Terry Francona’s team is looking for answers.
At the plate:
- 25th in MLB with .233 AVG
- 25th in MLB with 50 HR
On the bump:
- 6th in MLB with 3.61 ERA
*Stats are gathered prior to Wednesday’s games
Game 1: Thursday
Adam Plutko, RHP: 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 4 K
Thursday will mark only the second start of the year for Adam Plutko, who started the season on the Indians’ AAA injured list. As for the Rays, Thursday’s game will make the third straight game in which they will not send a traditional starter to the bump. Ryan Yarbrough may get the call from Durham to handle a majority of the innings for the Rays.
Game 2: Friday
Blake Snell, LHP: 3-4, 3.31 ERA, 49 IP, 71 K
Shane Bieber, RHP: 3-2, 3.22 ERA, 58.2 IP, 69 K
In what is the first of 2 marque pitching matchups this series, Blake Snell will take the mound looking to continue his recent streak of dominance in which he has struck out 30 batters in 17.2 IP. Shane Bieber will look to build off of his most recent start in which he struck out 15 and walked none over 9 shutout innings against the Orioles.
Game 3: Saturday
Charlie Morton, RHP: 4-0, 2.65 ERA, 54.1 IP, 67 K
Carlos Carrasco, RHP: 4-4, 4.30 ERA, 52.1 IP, 66 K
The second pitching duel of the series will take place between a pair of veterans. Charlie Morton will look to rebound from his last start against the Yankees in which he didn’t make it past the 4th, allowing 5 runs. Carlos Carrasco will also look for a rebound performance after throwing 100 pitches, only to get through 5 innings.
Game 4: Sunday
Not much to see here until we know more.
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Players to watch:
- Carlos Santana: Leads the CLE with 9 bombs
- Francisco Lindor: Leads CLE with .296 AVG
- Jose Ramirez: Perennial MVP candidate struggling mightily in 2019, hitting .196 with 4 HR
- Jake Bauers/Yandy Diaz: How will each perform against their former team?