The Tampa Bay Rays are on a roll with the All-Star break
approaching. Facing a last-place team they have easily handled at
home over the past few seasons probably won’t slow them down.
The Rays look to continue their dominance of the Cleveland
Indians at Tropicana Field when the teams open a four-game series
Tampa Bay (51-33) has won five straight and seven of eight,
posting a 6-4 victory Wednesday night to sweep a three-game set
from Boston. The Rays have moved ahead of the Red Sox into second
place in the AL East and are two games behind the Yankees, who have
also won five in a row.
“Obviously a sweep against anybody is big, but when it comes
against a rival, it’s even bigger,” said left-hander David Price,
who pitched into the eighth inning to become the AL’s first 12-game
winner. “… We played good baseball for three days and we got
rewarded for it.”
The Rays will now get to face the Indians, who were swept in a
two-game series in Tampa from May 17-18 and have lost five straight
and eight of 10 at Tropicana Field. Cleveland (33-51) enters this
series having dropped nine of 11 on the road after falling 4-3 to
Texas on Wednesday night.
Jayson Nix homered for the fourth time in three games for the
Indians. Nix, claimed off waivers from the White Sox on June 24,
has five homers and eight RBIs in 12 games with the Indians after
batting .163 with a homer and five RBIs in 24 games for
“Last year, there were a couple times where I maybe played for a
week straight because somebody was hurt,” Nix told the Indians’
official website. “I’ve never had an opportunity like this. It’s a
long season, as everybody knows. It helps to get consistent
at-bats. That makes a huge difference.”
Wade Davis (5-9, 4.86 ERA) will take the mound for Tampa Bay
after not receiving a decision in his last start to end a stretch
of five straight losses. The rookie right-hander allowed four runs
and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings of an 8-6 win at Minnesota on
Davis is 2-8 with a 5.90 ERA over his last 11 starts after
opening 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA. He has never faced Cleveland.
“His last outing was pretty good,” manager Joe Maddon told the
Rays’ official website. “That’s the thing. He’s been pretty good at
times. … So we’ve got to get beyond that moment, but physically
he’s fine. His work is fabulous.”
Jake Westbrook (5-4, 4.59) gets the start for Cleveland after
consecutive strong outings. The right-hander allowed one run over
six innings to beat Toronto 2-1 on June 28 and gave up two earned
runs in six innings of a 5-4, 10-inning win over Oakland on
“It’s just about consistency with me right now,” Westbrook said.
“Hopefully, I can keep pitching well and put us in a position to
win, which is what I always try to do.”
Westbrook has pitched well against Tampa Bay, going 4-0 with a
2.81 ERA in his last six starts – with three of those wins coming
at Tropicana Field.