Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians game preview
CLEVELAND -- In the final game of their three-game series with Tampa Bay on Wednesday night, the Cleveland Indians will attempt to complete a sweep -- not just of the series, but of the homestand.
The streaking Indians will also be attempting to complete a 6-0 homestand. The Indians began the homestand by sweeping a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox.
The Indians won five games in a row and they have won 10 home games in a row. That's the longest home winning streak in the majors this season. The Indians are 22-12 at Progressive Field this year. Their last loss at home was a 7-3 loss to Texas on May 31. The Indians are currently 10 games over .500 (40-30) for the first time since the end of the 2013 season, when they qualified for the playoffs as a wildcard with a record of 92-70.
"We're playing good baseball now. It's nothing earth shattering," said Corey Kluber, who pitched a three-hit 6-0 shutout over the Rays on Tuesday. "In all aspects of the game we're playing pretty well. Pitching, hitting and defense. The key to winning is putting together complete games."
In the final game of the homestand Wednesday night the Indians will send Trevor Bauer (4-2, 3.46) vs. Tampa Bay's Chris Archer (4-9, 4.60).
The Rays right now are the polar opposite of the Indians. Cleveland is in first place in the AL Central and has won five games in a row and 10 home games in a row. The Rays are in last place in the AL East and have lost six in a row.
Tampa Bay is not only having trouble winning games, the Rays are having trouble staying healthy. Prior to Tuesday's game they put two more players on the disabled list, outfielder Mikie Mahtook and utility man Steve Pearce. Both players suffered injuries in Monday's game. Mahtook has a broken left hand, after getting hit by a pitch and Pearce has a strained right hamstring.
Mahtook becomes the fourth Rays outfielder on the DL, joining Brandon Guyer, Steven Souza Jr. and Kevin Kiermaier. To replace Mahtook on the roster the Rays recalled from Triple-A Durham OF/INF Nick Franklin and RHP Ryan Garton.
All the injuries are taking a toll on the Tampa Bay offense. In their six-game losing streak the Rays have scored a total of just 14 runs. In Tuesday night's game the Rays only had two players in their starting lineup hitting over .238. The bottom five in the order were hitting a combined .197.
On the bright side, rookie Blake Snell produced a quality start Tuesday, despite losing 6-0 to Cleveland. In only his third major league start Snell pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs, two earned.
"Blake really threw well. The way he attacked hitters was very impressive. He's going to be a big part of our future," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
In Wednesday's pitching matchup, Bauer will try to extend his streak of good starts for the Indians. In his last four starts Bauer is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .204 batting average.
Archer was originally drafted by the Indians in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. In four career starts vs. Cleveland, Archer is 0-4 with a 4.91 ERA, although the Rays have been shutout in three of those four games. In his last six starts this year Archer is 1-5 with a 4.91 ERA.