When and where: May 26, 2019, Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH, 1:10 PM ET
The American League showdown between the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians will continue to highlight the Memorial Day weekend in Sunday’s closeout game. A turnaround series is in order for the Indians after they were swept at home by the Oakland Athletics. However, the Rays will have something to say about it after losing to the New York Yankees and splitting even with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer is expected to take the mound first for the Indians on Sunday opposite of a pitcher that has yet to be announced for the Rays.
Rays seeking a bounce-back series
Since losing the top spot in the AL East, the Rays have slowly slid further behind the Yankees in the standings. They were defeated on the road by the Yankees after losing a three-game series to them at home as well. Then they went on to split even with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which has left them currently sitting in second place, four games out from tying the Yankees’ win total (33).
After going into Cleveland and taking the series opener, they fell in defeat in Friday’s rematch after being held to only one run in the game.
The Rays’ pitching rotation still has the best-combined ERA in baseball (2.99), which gives them an advantage in nearly every game they play. However, there has been clear defensive slippage against some of the better offensive teams in the league like the Yankees and Dodgers. There is no getting over the hump if the Rays can’t keep the best teams in the league in check. The Rays haven’t made the playoffs in nearly six years.
Indians not where they thought they’d be
The Indians didn’t expect they’d be the ones looking up to the Minnesota Twins at this point in the season. Yet, they’re clinging as hard as they can to a 26-24 record, and the Twins are on pace to win 100-plus games this season. Injuries to two-time AL CY Young winner Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger has come with some serious defensive issues for the Indians. Those absences are even more magnified since defense is typically their bread and butter. Despite their offensive inefficiencies, they’ve typically been able to lean on their defense to force opponents into ugly, low-scoring games that benefit their style of play.
Bauer is hoping to make up for that loss to the best of his ability in Sunday’s game against the Rays. The 28-year-old veteran will step onto the mound with a 3.95 overall ERA and a 1.17 WHIP, which is more indicative of the success he’s had earlier in the season. However, he’s struggled in recent outings against the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox. Particularly in the game against the White Sox, he allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs, including two homers, in five innings.
- Rays are 19-7 in their last 26 games on grass
- Rays are 16-6 in their last 22 against teams in the American League Central
- Rays are 7-3 in their last 10 road games against a team with a winning home record
- Rays are 25-11 in their last 36 road games
- Indians are 1-4 in their last 5 overall
- Indians are 1-4 in their last 5 games on grass
- Indians are 1-4 in their last 5 home games