Cleveland Indians (60-51 SU, 48-63 RL, 42-61-8 O/U) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (58-57 SU, 57-58 RL, 60-52-3 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, August 10, 2017, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida, 7:10 pm ET
Lines: Cleveland -142, Tampa Bay +132; Over/Under: 8
It’s the opener of a series between a pair of teams in the American League playoff race down in the Sunshine State. The Cleveland Indians play the first of four games against the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday night. Cleveland split a two game interleague set at home with the Rockies, losing the finale 3-2 in 12 innings Wednesday afternoon. Tampa Bay was swept in a two game set with the Red Sox, losing 8-2 Wednesday. The Rays took two of three in the first series between the teams this season, which was May 15-17 at Progressive Field.
Cleveland Indians Trying to Make Room in AL Central
Cleveland dropped the finale of their two game set with the Rockies and has lost three of their last four games. The Indians entered Wednesday with a four game lead over the Royals in the AL Central standings. Cleveland blew a one-run lead in the ninth and lost the game in the 12th on a solo homer. Abraham Almonte (run) was the lone Indian with two hits in the game while Francisco Lindor drove in both runs with his 19th homer of the year. Trevor Bauer recorded a no-decision despite a sparkling outing: he allowed one run on seven hits with no walks and nine strikeouts. Zach McAllister (1-2) took the loss after allowing a run on two hits win his one inning of work.
Danny Salazar takes the mound and makes his 16th appearance and 14th start of the year for the Indians. He is 4-5 with a 4.32 ERA, a 1.333 WHIP, 33 walks and 105 strikeouts over 75 innings of action. Salazar missed nearly seven weeks with soreness in his right shoulder. He recorded a no-decision in his last appearance, which was a start on the road against the White Sox last Friday. He threw seven innings, allowing one run on four hits with three walks and 12 strikeouts in a 2-1 Indians loss. Salazar is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, five walks and 28 strikeouts over 20 innings in his last three starts. He makes his fourth career start against the Rays in this contest: he is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA and a 0.964 WHIP over 18.2 innings against them. Salazar is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA and a 0.732 WHIP over 13.2 innings over his two career starts at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay Rays Fighting For Wild Card Spot
Tampa Bay dropped both games against the Red Sox, dropping them further back in the AL East standings. The Rays fell one game behind the Mariners in the wild card race, depending on what Seattle did Wednesday night. Tampa Bay had just four hits in the game with Brad Miller (run, RBI) accounting for two of them. Miller (his fifth) and Adeiny Hechevarria (his first) each hit a solo homer for the Rays in a losing effort. Jake Odorizzi (6-5) took the loss as he was tagged for two runs (one earned) on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in four innings of work.
Blake Snell is on the hill for the 15th time this season for the Rays still seeking his first victory. He comes into the game 0-6 with a 4.98 ERA, a 1.576 WHIP, 41 walks and 64 strikeouts over 72.1 innings of action. He was recalled in late June after spending six weeks in the minors. Snell recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came last Thursday on the road against Houston. He threw four innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Tampa Bay eventually won the game 5-3. Snell is 0-1 with a 4.96 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP, four walks and 13 strikeouts over 16.1 innings in his last three starts. He took a no-decision in his lone career start against the Indians, which came June 21, 2016 on the road. Snell threw 6.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in a game the Rays lost 6-0. He is 5-7 with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP over 79 innings in 15 career starts at Tropicana Field.
- Indians are 7-1 in their last 8 during game 1 of a series
- Indians are 8-3 in their last 11 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
- Rays are 1-4 in their last 5 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
- Rays are 0-6 in their last 6 during game 1 of a series
Cleveland has stumbled with three losses in their last four games but still holds the lead in the AL Central race. Tampa Bay has dropped behind the Royals and the Mariners in the race for the second wild card with their recent slide. Snell has yet to pick up a win this season and things don’t look overly promising here. Salazar has been pitching well in his last few turns and that gives the Indians the edge in this contest as they take the opener.
Pick: Cleveland Indians -142
Cleveland is stumbling right now as they are dealing with the loss of their key bullpen arm in Andrew Miller, who is dealing with knee tendinitis. The Indians have lost three of their last four games but still hold the advantage in the AL Central. Tampa Bay has to get back on track as they lost two straight to Boston. The Rays dropped 6.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East and they’re fading in the wild card picture as well. Tampa Bay has relied so heavily on their rotation that it’s time for the offense to get into gear and start carrying the load for a while.
Cleveland has seen the over go 3-1-1 in Salazar’s last 5 road starts and 5-2 in his last seven starts on four days of rest. The over is 4-1 in Snell’s last 5 starts on astroturf, 4-1 in Snell’s last 5 home starts vs. a team with a winning record, 6-2 in Snell’s last 8 starts during game 1 of a series, 8-3 in Snell’s last 11 home starts and 7-3-1 in Snell’s last 11 starts vs. a team with a winning record. The teams have combined to see the over go 7-3-1 in the last 11 meetings in Tampa Bay. Salazar is pitching well but Snell struggles and this one goes over the number.