Apr 22, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher (33) reacts in the dugout prior to the game against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Series #12 Preview: Tampa Bay Rays host Cleveland Indians


If asked to describe the Tampa Bay Rays’ performance against the Baltimore Orioles in one word or less…TURRIBLE. After putting together two quality series against AL East opponents (Rays took 2 of 3 against the Sox & Yankees), the Rays were swept by the division leading O’s. While they lost all three games by a grand total of 5 runs, it seemed that the Rays could not capitalize on the opportunities that presented themselves throughout the mid-week series. The bullpen took the loss in the first two games of the series, while David Price, the team’s ace, was unable to win the battle against Ubaldo Jimenez.

AL East Standings

AL East
W
L
GB
Run Diff.
Streak
Baltimore Orioles5242-+26W1
Toronto Blue Jays49474+19L2
New York Yankees47475-37L1
Tampa Bay Rays44539.5-26W2
Boston Red Sox43529.5-38W1

The Rays have now lost 10 of their last 15 games and are currently 4.5 games out of first place in the AL East. They sport the worst run differential in the division and are only 4 games ahead of the Houston Astros for the worst record in the American League (you read that correctly…the Rays are closer to the worst team in all of baseball than to the AL East division leader).

Keep in mind that the season is only 20% complete–there are still 127 games left in the regular season, which is more than enough time to make up some ground. Baseball Prospectus projects Tampa Bay to have a 28.9% chance at making the playoffs; the Rays dropped -7.6% with their loss last night to the Orioles and their odds decreased 14% over the past seven days. Again, given how young the season is, these percentages are extremely volatile and it is worth noting that BP still has the Rays with a .526 expected win percentage (2nd best in the division).

Tampa Bay welcomes the Cleveland Indians, winners of three straight over the Minnesota Twins. The Tribe is currently in 4th place in the AL Central, 6.5 games back from the first place Detroit Tigers. This is the first meeting since the Rays eliminated the Indians from the post-season in last year’s Wild Card game and the Rays will look to end their five game losing streak at Tropicana Field.

 

Series Preview:

Game 1: Cleveland Indians vs. Tampa Bay Rays 

Friday, May 9th@ 7:10 p.m. EST

TV: Sun Sports

Radio: WDAE 620 AM /95.3 FM, WGES 680 (Sp.)

Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 6.83 ERA/4.60 FIP) vs. Corey Kluber (2-3, 3.60 ERA/2.69 FIP )

Three Facts: 

  1. Opposing hitters are batting .376 against Jake Odorizzi on balls put in play and .313 overall. He is also walking 4.55 batters per nine innings.
  2. Odorizzi needs to avoid falling behind hitters. The opposition is slashing .375/.688/.625 against him when he falls behind 1-0 compared to .226/.266/.379 when he goes up 0-1.
  3. Corey Kluber has a K/9 of 9.60 through 45 innings this season and in his last start against the White Sox, he fanned 13 batters.

 

Game 2: Cleveland Indians vs. Tampa Bay Rays 

Saturday, May 10th @ 7:10 p.m. EST

TV: FoxSports1

Radio: WDAE 620 AM /95.3 FM, WGES 680 (Sp.)

Erik Bedard (1-1, 4.35 ERA/3.42 FIP) vs. Zach McAllister (3-2, 3.18 ERA/2.58 FIP )

Three Facts:

  1. Erik Bedard earned his first win in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform in his last outing against the New York Yankees. He pitched 6 innings of one-run ball, walking one and striking out three.
  2. Per Baseball Reference, the team leaders in WAR are Ben Zobrist (1.3), Desmond Jennings (1.2), and Ryan Hanigan (1.1). Wil Myers and Evan Longoria combined have a WAR of 1.1.

    May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) gestures on stage after being selected as the number twenty-two overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) gestures on stage after being selected as the number twenty-two overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

  3. Most people know that God hates Cleveland, but I have to admit that I was happy when they took Johnny Manziel with the 22nd pick in last night’s NFL Draft.

 

Game 3: Cleveland Indians vs. Tampa Bay Rays 

Sunday, May 11th @ 1:40 p.m. EST

TV: Sun Sports, MLB Network

Radio: WDAE 620 AM /95.3 FM, WGES 680 (Sp.)

Chris Archer (3-2, 4.91ERA/2.94 FIP) vs. Josh Tomlin (1-0, 1.35 ERA/4.29 FIP )

Three Facts:

  1. Chris Archer still sports a .339 batting average on balls in play. While there is some bad luck involved, the 24.2% line drive rate against Archer doesn’t help this stat.
  2. Josh Tomlin will be making only his second start of the season after winning his season debut by tossing 6.2 innings of four-hit, one-run ball.
  3. Archer struggled with his pitch count in his last outing, throwing only 62% of his pitches for strikes. He only walked one batter, but danced all around the zone:

Source: Brooks Baseball

 
For more information on the upcoming series, visit the Fansided team pages for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Indians.

 

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Tags: Major League Baseball Rays