Former Indians coach Kevin Cash has done some interesting things with the Tampa Bay Rays. Those Rays are on pace for their best win total in his four years as manager and will look to build towards that end result as the club returns to Cleveland for the first time since the middle of May of last season.
The Indians (76-57) edged out a series win over the Minnesota Twins to take the season series from the second place team of the American League Central during the week. It gave the Indians season series victories over the Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers, while having a sizable lead over the Kansas City Royals (8-4) prior to their visit at the beginning of next week as they go for the AL Central sweep.
The Rays (71-62) are one of seven teams above .500 in the American League, but are lost in the AL East behind the front-running Boston Red Sox and the Wild Card leading New York Yankees. They come into the series eight games in back of the Oakland A’s for the second spot in the Wild Card battle. The Rays’ eight-game winning streak came to an end during a short week with the Atlanta Braves, when they split a pair of games. Tampa will host the Tribe two series from now from September 10 to 12.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Friday, August 31, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-3, 4.18 ERA) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (16-7, 2.91)
The 25-year-old Glasnow has returned to the rotation for the Rays after spending the rest of the year in the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen. He went 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP in 34 games in the Pirates’ ‘pen, striking out 72 batters in 56 innings of work along the way. Back in a starting role for the Rays after coming to Tampa in the Chris Archer trade, Glasnow has made five starts, going 0-1 with a 3.80 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP with 32 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings.
Kluber is coming off of his shortest and worst outing of the month his last time out, when he allowed five runs on nine hits with two walks and six strikeouts in five and one-third innings of work in a loss to the Kansas City Royals, his first defeat of the month. It ended a four-game winning streak for the two-time Cy Young Award winning right-hander, whose struggles this season have been a focal point of concern for those watching the Tribe. He will look to conclude August on the right note, hoping to build on his 3-1 mark with a 3.38 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, and a .256 batting average against in the month.
Saturday, September 1, 7:10 PM ET – LHP Blake Snell (16-5, 2.05) vs. RHP Shane Bieber (8-2, 4.52)
Snell, 25 has come into his own this season in his seventh pro season after being selected with the 52nd overall pick in the 2011 draft. Now in his third season in the Majors with the Rays, he was an American League All-Star and has posted career highs across the board. He has gone 11-2 with a 1.36 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP over his last 15 starts and put together a perfect month of August, when he posted a 4-0 mark with a 1.04 ERA in five starts with a 0.65 WHIP and a .131 batting average against. Two of the three runs that he allowed in the month came on the long ball, but surprisingly, he made just two quality starts in those five outings.
Bieber survived a battle with the long ball on Sunday in the finale with the Royals. He allowed a career-high three bombs, but just four runs in total on the three drives as he earned his third win of the month and eighth of the season. The 23-year-old rookie right-hander lasted five and one-third innings in the outing, allowing four runs on six hits while issuing no walks for the second straight start. It will be his first home start since August 5, when he defeated the Los Angeles Angels.
Sunday, September 2, 4:10 PM ET – TBA vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (16-7, 3.38)
The Rays had not formally announced a starter for the series finale from Cleveland on Sunday afternoon.
The 31-year-old Carrasco bounced back after a rough start in Boston with a gem against Minnesota. He lasted two outs into the eighth inning in the win, giving up four hits and two walks in his scoreless effort while striking out eleven. He has handled the Rays with ease over the last three years, posting a 3-1 record in five starts with a 2.57 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP, and 42 strikeouts in 35 innings of work.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (8/31, 9/2); Fox Sports Sun (8/31, 9/2); FS1 (9/1)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (CLE); WDAE 620 AM/95.3 FM
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
Rajai Davis (OF) – 10-day disabled list (8/20) – non-baseball medical condition; on rehab assignment
Nick Goody (RP) – 60-day disabled list (5/3) – right elbow surgery
Evan Marshall (RP) – 10-day disabled list (8/23) – lower back spasms; on rehab assignment
Leonys Martin (OF) – out for season (8/9) – non-baseball related issue
Andrew Miller (RP) – 10-day disabled list (8/30) – left shoulder issues
Tyler Naquin (OF) – 10-day disabled list (7/26) – right hip surgery
Tyler Olson (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (8/30)
Danny Salazar (P) – out for season (3/26) – recovery from right shoulder exploratory surgery
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – out for season (7/21) – right shoulder labrum 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
Adam Moore (C) – recalled from Triple-A Durham (8/31)
Vidal Nuno (P) – 10-day disabled list (7/4) – right hamstring strain; on rehab assignment
Michael Perez (C) – 10-day disabled list (8/31) – left hamstring strain
Daniel Robertson (2B) – 10-day disabled list (8/4) – recovery from August 2018 left thumb surgery
Mallex Smith (OF) – 10-day disabled list (8/25) – viral illness; on rehab assignment
RAYS NEWS AND NOTES
Cash, the former Indians bullpen coach, is looking for his first winning season as a skipper in his fourth season at the helm of the Rays. He had two close calls along the way, finishing 80-82 in both 2015 and 2017 around a rough 68-94 season in 2016.
Joey Wendle, the former Indians prospect, has tallied nine hits over his last five games. He has hit .409 in that span with four runs scored and three runs batted in. In 113 games this season in his first full year in the Majors, he has put together a .296/.346/.424 slash with 19 doubles, five triples, seven homers, and 48 RBI while stealing 12 bases in 16 chances. He has been a versatile piece for Cash’s lineup, playing second, third, short, left, and right fields. He was a sixth round pick by the Indians in the 2012 draft and was traded to Oakland in December of 2014 for Brandon Moss.
Matt Duffy has had a steady season for the Rays at the plate, slashing .298/.356/.372 with 18 doubles, four homers, and 35 RBI on the year.
Twenty-two-year-old rookie Willy Adames has picked it up over the last month, hitting .304 in his last 30 games with five homers and 14 RBI in that span. He was added to the 40-man roster prior to last season, but did not make his big league debut until this May. After a couple of options, he has been up since July 22.
Tommy Pham returned to the Rays lineup two weeks ago after fracturing his right foot in the days after he was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals. In his 12 games with Tampa, he has hit .289 with two doubles, two homers, and six RBI. He was hitting .248 with the Cardinals through his first 98 games with 11 doubles, 14 homers, and 41 RBI.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
Yan Gomes has hit in six straight games. He has several multi-hit games in that stretch and has eleven hits in those games while hitting .478.
Edwin Encarnacion extended his hitting streak to five straight games on Thursday afternoon. He has six hits in that stretch with a homer, four walks, and six RBI while putting up a .353/.476/.588 slash.
Playing time has dwindled for Yandy Diaz of late, but as manager Terry Francona works to get his starters rest, playing time should increase for him at first and third in addition to DH. He has hit .320 in 17 second half contests with two doubles, a triple, and eight RBI.
Melky Cabrera may have performed well enough to talk the Tribe brass out of making an upgrade for the injured outfield prior to the August 31 deadline. In the second half, he has hit .313 with a .379 on-base percentage and a .518 slugging percentage in 36 games with five doubles, six homers, and 17 RBI.
Greg Allen has hit .299 in the second half with 23 hits, including two doubles and a triple, and seven stolen bases.
Jose Ramirez has had to deal with shifts of all sorts and a chance in diet on pitch options in the second half. He has hit just .258 since the break with a .406 on-base percentage, drawing nearly twice as many walks than his teammates. He is second on the team in second half homers with eight and RBI with 24.
ONE MORE BEFORE THE ROAD
The Indians will wrap up their nine-game homestand with a three-game set against the Royals, the first of two September series with the last place club. The Rays will complete their eight-game road trip with three games in Toronto against the Blue Jays before heading back home for their longest remaining home stretch of the year.
Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images