The Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays will resume a four-game series when they clash at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Friday night. Tampa Bay took the opener on Thursday for its second win in succession. The Indians have lost four in a row.
Two standout hurlers will battle on Friday when the Tampa Bay Rays visit the Cleveland Indians for the second contest of their four-game series. Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays against Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, who recorded a career-best 15 strikeouts in his last outing. Tampa Bay posted a 7-2 victory in Thursday’s series opener as Willy Adames, Avisail Garcia and Tommy Pham hit traditional homers while Kevin Kiermaier delivered a three-run, inside-the-parker in the sixth inning as Cleveland center fielder Leonys Martin and left fielder Oscar Mercado collided. Mercado was down on the field for several minutes with a hip injury but initially stayed in the game before being lifted for a pinch-runner after he singled in the bottom of the inning.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 24, 2019
Snell (3-4, 3.31 ERA) has allowed three runs and notched 30 strikeouts over 17.2 innings in his last three outings. He settled for a no-decision in his last outing despite giving up one run and six hits with nine strikeouts in six innings against the Yankees. The 26-year-old has chalked up 71 strikeouts in 49.0 innings while posting a 1.00 WHIP (37 hits, 12 walks). Snell is 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA in four career starts against the Indians and has shut down Francisco Lindor (1-for-12) while struggling with Jose Ramirez (4-for-12, one homer).
Indians catcher Roberto Perez sat out his second game in a row with a head injury suffered when he was hit in the mask by a foul ball on Tuesday. Starter Adam Plutko allowed just one hit–a homer–while winning his season debut against Baltimore on May 18, but the right-hander was not nearly as effective this time around. He allowed eight hits in the first four innings and 12 in 5.1 total.
“Clearly, they were better than I was today,” Plutko said of the Rays. “They got to me early. Hung with them for a bit and they delivered the knockout blow there in the sixth. Not my best day.”
Bieber (3-2, 3.22 ERA), who will be looking to end the Indians’ four-game slide, scattered five hits without issuing a walk in the effort against Baltimore as he tossed the first complete game of his career. The right-hander was winless over his previous five starts, surrendering 17 earned runs in 28.2 innings during that stretch. He has recorded 69 strikeouts in 58.2 innings while limiting opponents to a .210 batting average. Bieber is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 12 innings in two career starts against the Rays.
The Tampa Bay Rays are:
- 24-10 in their last 34 road games
- 15-5 in their last 20 games against the American League Central
- 13-3 in their last 16 games against starters with WHIPs under 1.15
The Cleveland Indians are:
- 1-4 in their last five games that are the second of a series
- 1-4 in their last five games against Tampa Bay
- 1-4 in their last five home games against Tampa Bay