Tribe Heads to the Trop to Take on the Rays for Three
Bob Toth | On 10, Sep 2018
The Indians will try to wrap up the American League Central Division this week in Tampa as Cleveland concludes its seven-game road trip with three games against the Rays.
Cleveland (81-62) traded wins and losses with the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend to start its seven-game road trip before the final homestand of their year. September has been a rough one for the Tribe, as Cleveland is just 4-5 through the first nine days of the month. The pitching has provided some of the issue, as opposing players are hitting .272 against them this month, the second-worst mark in the American League. They do, however, lead the Bigs with 107 strikeouts and the league in walks with 17 in 81 1/3 innings. The Indians come into the series with a magic number to clinch the Central at five.
The Rays (78-64) opened the month with a pair of wins against the Indians to wrap up their three-game trip to Cleveland, then moved on to Toronto and took the first two of three with the Blue Jays there. Now 7-1 in the month after sweeping Baltimore over the weekend in a three-game set which saw them outscore the Orioles, 32-10, they will look to keep that hot stretch going and get manager Kevin Cash his first winning season as a Major League manager. The Rays are leading the MLB in September in all three triple-slash categories (.312 average, .382 on-base percentage, .546 slugging).
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Kluber will look for his Major League leading 19th win on Monday night as the series with the Rays kicks off from Tampa. The 32-year-old right-hander has gone 6-1 in his last eight starts since the end of July. One of those wins came against Tampa on August 31, when he fired seven scoreless two-hit innings with eight strikeouts. He followed it up with another solid effort on September 5 against Kansas City, working six and two-thirds innings with a run on two hits allowed.
Castillo will make his second opening effort against the Indians this month before turning the game over early to the next man up from the bullpen. The 24-year-old joined the Rays bullpen in early June, but only recently has he moved into a role coming into the game in the first inning. Five of his seven appearances since August 19 have been in an opener’s role. He has not allowed a run over three appearances and four innings this month, striking out five while allowing two hits and a walk.
Bieber earned his ninth win of the year on Thursday in a quality start against Toronto. He gave the Indians six and a third innings to get back into the win column, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts. He faced Tampa for the first time in his career on September 1, giving up four runs on nine hits in five and one-third innings. He will look to continue a perfect start to his road career, where he is 5-0 in nine starts with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
Glasnow pitched well against the Indians on August 31, but he took a tough loss after allowing just a run on two hits with a walk and six strikeouts in seven innings in his best start since joining the Rays from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was unable to carry over the momentum of that outing, however, as in his most recent start against Toronto on September 5, he lasted just two-thirds of an inning, lobbing 39 pitches while being charged with seven runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in a defeat.
Wednesday, September 12, 1:10 PM ET – RHP Carlos Carrasco (16-8, 3.41) vs. TBD
Carrasco appears ready for the postseason. His offense and defense cost him what should have been his 17th win of the campaign in his start on Friday in Toronto, when he limited the Blue Jays to two runs (one earned) on six hits with a walk and a season-high tying 14 strikeouts in eight strong innings of a no-decision. It extended a long run of dominance dating back to his July return from the disabled list. One of the few bad outings that he has had in that stretch, however, came against Tampa, when he lost his September 2 decision after giving up five runs on nine hits (including a pair of homers) in six and one-third innings.
The Rays have not announced a starter or opener for Wednesday afterrnoon’s getaway day start against Cleveland.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); Fox Sports Sun (all)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (CLE); WDAE 620 AM/95.3 FM (TB)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery; on rehab assignment
Trevor Bauer (SP) – 10-day disabled list (8/12) – right fibula stress fracture
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF) – 60-day disabled list (7/3) – strained left calf
Josh Donaldson (3B) – 10-day disabled list (9/1) – left calf strain; expected to be activated 9/11
Nick Goody (RP) – 60-day disabled list (5/3) – right elbow surgery
James Hoyt (RP) – 60-day disabled list (9/4) – right knee inflammation
Leonys Martin (OF) – 60-day disabled list (8/9) – non-baseball related issue
Andrew Miller (RP) – activated from 10-day disabled list (9/10)
Tyler Naquin (OF) – 60-day disabled list (7/26) – right hip surgery
Danny Salazar (P) – out for season (3/26) – recovery from right shoulder exploratory surgery
Jose De Leon (SP) – out for season (3/13) – recovery from March 2018 Tommy John surgery
Wilmer Font (P) – 60-day disabled list (6/30) – right lat strain
Jose Mujica (P) – 60-day disabled list (9/2) – undisclosed injury
Michael Perez (C) – 10-day disabled list (8/31) – left hamstring strain
Daniel Robertson (2B) – 60-day disabled list (8/4) – recovery from August 2018 left thumb surgery
RAYS NEWS AND NOTES
The Rays will be the last AL team to kick over the 1,000,000 fan mark this season during the series with the Tribe. They are second-to-last in attendance among all MLB teams with just 994,042 through 68 home dates. The Rays, despite the lack of fans present, are 44-24 at Tropicana Field this season.
Tommy Pham enters the series with a season-high 13-game hitting streak. He has been on a tear at the plate, averaging a run scored per game while knocking 22 hits with three homers and eleven RBI. That streak included hits in all three games against Cleveland earlier in the month, when he had a double, a triple, and two RBI against the Indians.
Kevin Kiermaier has finally found it at the plate over the last seven games, hitting .520 with a .556 on-base percentage in that stretch with 13 hits (including three homers), seven runs batted in, and eight runs scored. He was just 1-for-6 against the Indians earlier in the month with a single and one RBI.
Brandon Lowe was hot against the Indians in two starts and three games against them. He went 5-for-10 at the plate with two doubles, two homers, three runs scored, and four RBI.
Joey Wendle had a good series against his former organization, hitting .357 in three games with five hits in 14 at bats.
Jake Bauers was in a mighty slump when the Indians and Rays met earlier this month. He went 1-for-9 in eleven plate appearances in the series with a double, two walks, and six strikeouts.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
The Indians announced on Monday that they plan to activate Josh Donaldson from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday and start him at third base that game. It will cause a domino effect on the playing field for the Indians, as veteran second baseman Jason Kipnis will begin to log innings in center field while two-time AL All-Star starter Jose Ramirez will move over to second.
Kipnis struggled against the Rays during his three games against them a couple of weeks ago. He went 1-for-8 with a solo homer, hitting .125 in the set. Ramirez had a tough go of things as well, hitting a pair of singles, drawing two walks, and striking out three times in 12 plate appearances.
Francisco Lindor was 1-for-12 (.091) against Tampa with a single and a walk. He stole two bases and scored a pair of runs.
The Indians hit just .204 against the Rays in their three games against them while scoring just ten runs in the series. Melky Cabrera was the team’s hottest hitter in the series, going 4-for-11 with two doubles and three RBI.
ONE LAST (HOME)STAND
The Indians will take Thursday off before heading home for the final homestand of the season. The Tribe will host Detroit in three straight over the weekend before the Chicago White Sox come to town Tuesday for three. Boston will visit for three games the following weekend in a big playoff preview.
Tampa will wrap up its three-team, nine-game homestand over the weekend when the Oakland A’s come to town before the Rays depart on a seven-game road trip.
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images