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Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays series preview

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Baby come back.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Cleveland Indians Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images

After a split with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Indians are back stateside in St. Pete to face off against the Tampa Bay Rays once again.

Looking ahead

After finishing up in Florida, the Indians will head back to Progressive Field to welcome in the Detroit Tigers for the final time of the season. After that, the White Sox will be in town for their penultimate series against the Tribe. For the Rays, they’ll welcome in the Oakland Athletics for three games before packing up and heading to Texas to face off against the Rangers for three games.

Pitching match-ups

Monday, September 10 7:10 p.m. ET: Corey Kluber (RHP) v. Diego Castillo (RHP)

I’m thinking that Corey Kluber may be okay. He’s had a “down” year in comparison to last season, but most probably are having down years if you compare them to Kluber’s second Cy Young season. That being said, Corey’s been no slouch this season. Across 193.1 innings, Kluber has allowed 59 earned runs while walking 28 hitters and striking out 190 (which translates to an ERA+ of 159). His most recent start came against the Kansas City Royals; in that game, Kluber went 6.2 innings while allowing 1 earned run on 2 hits while walking 1 hitter and striking out 10.

You may recognize Diego Castillo as the “opener” from the game against Cleveland on September 2. He’s now been the opener for Tampa on five separate occasions, and his stats during those opens(?) have been great: 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 8 K. The 3 earned runs is deceiving, they all happened in one outing. He’s able to succeed in this role thanks in large part to his fastball (98 mph) and his sinker (99 mph) paired with a slider (89 mph). He throws hard and he gets a lot swings and misses. Who knows who will come in after he’s done, but expect Castillo to be hard to break through against for his 1-2 innings of work.

Tuesday, September 11 7:10 p.m. ET: Shane Bieber (RHP) v. Tyler Glasnow (RHP)

As pointed out by Stephen Loftus over on FanGraphs, Shane Bieber is the final piece to a dominant Cleveland rotation. Sure he’s not at the level of any of the other four starters, but he’s young, he’s got good control, and he’s with the Indians for years to come. In his rookie season this year, Bieber has thrown 91.1 innings and allowed 47 earned runs while walking 16 hitters and striking out 93 (which translates to an ERA+ of 94). His most recent start came on September 6 against the Blue Jays; in that game, Bieber went 6.1 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 7 hits while walking 1 hitter and striking out 6.

Hey look, an actual starter! The Rays will throw out Tyler Glasnow on Tuesday, who you may remember from that time he dominated the Indians back on August 31 (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K). Across 87.1 innings this year (split between Pittsburgh and Tampa), Glasnow has allowed 45 earned runs while walking 46 hitters and striking out 112 (which translates to an ERA+ of 86). His most recent start came on September 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays...wait, no, he was an “opener” in that one...no wait, he was just really, really bad. Against the Blue Jays, Glasnow lasted just 0.2 innings and allowed 7 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 2 hitters and striking out 2.

Wednesday, September 12 1:10 p.m. ET: Carlos Carrasco (RHP) v. probably an opener, who knows?

Carlos Carrasco, for the second year in a row and third time in four seasons, has hit the 200 K threshold. Across 169.0 innings this season, Cookie has allowed 64 earned runs while walking 34 hitters and striking out 201 (which translates to an ERA+ of 128). His most recent start came on September 7 against the Blue Jays; in that game, Carlos went 8.0 innings (for some reason) and allowed 1 earned run on 6 hits while walking 1 hitter and striking out a season-high 14(!!!).

Who knows who will start for Tampa on Wednesday. You can guess but truly it’s a mystery.

Storylines

The return of Andrew Miller

Miller reportedly wanted to be activated yesterday, but the team gave him an extra day and the plan is to have him activated for the series opener against the Rays. It’s been said before, but a healthy Andrew Miller will go a long way towards helping the Indians’ playoff chances. Watch for Miller to get into a couple of games this week to see how everything feels and get the fastball back to where it was a year ago (hopefully).

The debut of Josh Donaldson

Other teams can complain all they want, but Josh Donaldson is a member of the Cleveland Indians and the hope is that we will see him take the field for the Tribe this week. He looked pretty good in his rehab starts with Columbus and Akron, so here’s to hoping that that success translates to the major league club.

Tampa Bay Rays roster

FanGraphs

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the Rays?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    3
    (29 votes)
  • 54%
    2
    (65 votes)
  • 16%
    1
    (20 votes)
  • 5%
    0
    (6 votes)
120 votes total Vote Now