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Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays

I've never been so happy to see Tropicana Field.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

After way too many rainouts in the first week of the season, the Cleveland Indians will be playing in Florida... under a dome. Do your worst, weather, the Indians are playing baseball, damnit. And when they do, they will be playing the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that has had their fair share of struggles to start the season.

Matchups

  • Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Corey Kluber (RHP) vs. Matt Moore (LHP)
  • Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Carlos Carrasco (RHP), Drew Smyly (LHP)
  • Thursday, 1:10 p.m. ET: Danny Salazar (RHP) vs. Chris Archer (RHP)

The Indians' anti-lefty lineup will continue to be tested against the Rays. It performed well against the Chicago White Sox, even in Sunday's loss against Chris Sale, so hopefully there is still something left to take on Matt Moore and Drew Smyly. All the unfortunate postponements and off days means that the Indians get to use their top of the rotation on a lot of rest. I would be willing to call the first two games pretty easy wins, matchup-wise.

In the third game of the series, the Indians get to be reminded of the fact that they traded away Chris Archer every time he strikes out a batter. Fun.

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Upcoming schedule: After this series, the Indians will return home to host the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners before heading back on the road to take on division rival Detroit Tigers. The worst of the weather looks like it's finally behind us, so maybe I can stop being an amateur meteorologist.

Team in a Box

Tampa Bay Rays

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

Record

2-4

R/G

3.00

13th

ERA

4.15

8th

AL Central

5th

OBP

.283

14th

HR/9

.173

13th

Last 10

2-4

SLG

.381

8th

BB/9

2.25

3rd

Streak

L2

Steals

2

T-5th

SO/9

9.44

7th

The Rays ran face first into the red-hot Baltimore Orioles. Rays starting pitching has allowed three or fewer runs in only one game so far this season, their 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on April 5. If these bare rankings are any indication, we should be seeing a ton of home runs over the next three days. The Rays give up the 13th most home runs per nine innings in the American League, and the Indians give up the most.

Position players

  • C: Curt Casali
  • 1B: Logan Morrison
  • 2B: Logan Forsythe
  • SS: Brad Miller
  • 3B: Evan Longoria
  • LF: Desmond Jennings
  • CF: Kevin Kiermaier
  • RF: Steven Souza Jr.
  • DH: Steve Pearce
Bench
  • C: Hank Conger
  • IF: Tim Beckham
  • OF: Corey Dickerson
  • OF: Brandon Guyer
Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. has been the standout offensive player so far this season, with a team-leading eight hits and three home runs. He has also struck out the most on the team (8), though.

Starting rotation
  • RHP Chris Archer
  • LHP Drew Smyly
  • RHP Jake Odorizzi
  • LHP Matt Moore
The Rays' four-man rotation has not played well so far. Ace Chris Archer has allowed eight earned runs in his two starts as well as a team-worst 15 hits. You cannot expect this rotation to be bad all year long, we just have to hope they do not rebound for at least another four days.

Bullpen
  • LHP Xavier Cedeno
  • RHP Alex Colome
  • LHP Dana Eveland
  • RHP Danny Farquhar
  • RHP Steve Geltz
  • RHP Erasmo Ramirez
  • LHP Enny Romero
  • RHP Ryan Webb
With the exception of LGFT Ryan Webb, the Rays bullpen has been solid. Only Webb and Erasmo Ramirez have allowed any runs this season.