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)
When: 7:10 PM EDT, Friday, August 11, 2017
Where: Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida
Lines: Cleveland -130/ Tampa Bay +120
Tonight the American League Central will square off with the American League East as the Cleveland Indians grapple with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida in game two of their four-game series. Pitching Probables: The Indians will be sending out Carlos Carrasco (10-5, 4.06 ERA) in this one and the Rays will counter with Jacob Faria (5-2, 2.81 ERA).
Cleveland Is Widening The Gap In The Central
The Cleveland Indians spent much of the first half of the season in 2nd place in the American League Central, but they turned it on the Twins faltered right around the break and the Indians have held the top spot ever since. They were getting a push from the Royals, but Kansas City has struggled of late and now the Indians have opened up a four-game lead in the division. They were picked to win it and now they are starting to take control, plus they have added a big bat in Jay Bruce, who led the Mets in homers with 29 on the year. He also has 61 RBIs and makes this offense even better than it was. They did fall in in their finale against the Rockies by a score of 3-2 in 12 innings and they are now just 6-14 against the National League, but have gone a strong 54-37 against the American League so far. The Tribe has played well on the road where they are 29-24 on the year so far. Taking the hill for the Tribe in this one will be Carlos Carrasco and he has gone 10-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 22 starts on the year, including 0-1 with a 7.90 ERA in his last three starts and 7-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 12 starts on the road. Carrasco has gone 7-5 with a 3.51 ERA in 24 games (18 starts) during the month of August in his career and he is 3-3 with a 3.23 ERA in eight games (seven starts) against the Rays, including 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA in four games (three starts) here at the Trop.
Cleveland has been a solid offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 8th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.83 rpg, while also ranking 8th in hitting at .260 and 21st in homers with 131. On the mound, they have been strong so far this year as they come in ranked 4th in the league in ERA at 3.73, while also ranking 2nd in WHIP at 1.21.
Where Has The Offense Gone?
The Tampa Bay Rays are not a great offensive team, but they do hit a lot of homers and they had been better than average for most of the year at the plate, but that was then and this is now. The Rays lost their finale against the Reds Sox by a score of 8-2 and they have now scored a total of four runs in their last five games. The Rays are hitting just .169 and have been shut out three times over that stretch. The Rays are currently in a battle for one of the wildcard slots in the American League, so their offensive struggles couldn’t have come at a worse time. They are now 7.5 games out of first in the division, but despite the fact that they have lost four of their last five games, they are still just one game out of the 2nd wild card slot. They need to find their offense or they will continue to slide, even though they have allowed just 2.71 rpg over their last seven games. The Rays have gone 30-27 here at home for the year. The Rays will send to the mound Jacob Faria and he has gone 5-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 11 starts in this his first year in the league, including 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA in his last three starts and 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA in five starts here at home. Faria will be making his first career start against the Indians. He was 6-1 with a 3.07 ERA in 11 starts at Durham (AAA) this year.
Tampa Bay has been a bit below average on offense this year so far as they come in ranked 21st in the league in scoring, putting up 4.43 rpg, while also ranking 20th in hitting at .249 and 9th in homers with 162. On the mound, they have been solid so far as they come in ranked 8th in the league in ERA at 4.10, while also ranking 11th in WHIP at 1.29.
- 9-3 in their last 12 games vs. a right-handed starter
- 23-11 in Carrasco’s last 34 road starts
Tampa Bay is:
- 2-7 in their last nine home games vs. a right-handed starter
- 3-11 the last 14 games in the series
This is a very important series for the Rays are they came into having lost four of their last five, but despite that they are still just one game out of a wildcard slot in the American League. The big problem for them of late as been an offense that has scored just four runs in their last five games. Carlos Carrasco has struggled in his last two start, but that was vs Boston and New York, who both have far superior offense than that of the Rays, plus he is 7-2 with a 3.44 ERA on the road this year. Carrasco is also 3-0 with a 1.58 ERA in three career starts here at the Trop. Jacob Faria has been solid for the Rays so far and he is 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA here at home, but his mates have also scored just 3.00 rpg for him at home and the Cleveland offense has been solid this year. Take the Indians in this one.
Pick: Cleveland -130
The Rays will be battling to stay in the wildcard race in this series, while the Indians will be looking to expand their lead in the American League Central. The big issue for the Rays of late has been their offense, which has averaged just 0.80 rpg in their last five games and they will be facing Carlos Carrasco, who has a 1.58 ERA in three career starts in this park. He has struggled of late, but has a solid 3.44 ERA on the road and he will be able to keep his offense down. The Indians have not been lighting it up offensively of late as they have averaged just 3.80 rpg in their last 10 games. And Jacob Faria has been solid for the Rays, especially at home where he has a 2.46 ERA so far, with his home starts averaging just 6.20 rpg, He also has a 1.99 ERA at night and his seven night starts have averaged just 6.00 rpg. This should be a classic pitcher’s duel.