|10:10 AM PT11:10 AM MT12:10 PM CT1:10 PM ET13:10 ET17:10 GMT1:10 10:10 AM MST12:10 PM EST12:40 PM VEN21:10 UAE12:10 PM CT, August 13, 2017
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida Attendance: 17,775
Struggling Rays must face Indians' Kluber
Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays
- The Indians lost, 3-2, to the Rockies in 12 innings on Wednesday, finishing up a six-game homestand with a mark of 3-3. Cleveland is now 3-2 in extra-inning contests this season.
- Tampa Bay dropped an 8-2 decision to Boston at Tropicana Field last night, getting swept two straight by the Red Sox, and falling to 1-4 on the current homestand. Including getting shut out three times, the Rays have scored just four runs total in their last five games.
- Tampa Bay took two of three from Cleveland in these clubs' first series of the campaign at Progressive Field, banging out at least 10 hits in each game. Dating to May 11, 2014, the Indians are 7-1 in their last eight games at Tropicana Field, holding the Rays to fewer than 10 hits in each contest.
- Danny Salazar allowed just one run in 7.0 IP last Saturday against the Yankees, earning a no-decision for his efforts. Including three straight quality starts, Salazar is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA since returning from the DL on July 22.
- Blake Snell lasted just 4.0 innings and allowed three runs (all earned) a week ago in Houston, but the Rays' offense bailed him out, and he recorded his eighth no-decision on the year. Snell has been held winless in his first 14 starts of the 2017 campaign -- the second-longest streak to begin a season for any Tampa Bay hurler all-time (Tanyon Sturtze had 15 straight winless starts to begin 2002).
- Francisco Lindor went deep for the fourth time in his last nine games yesterday (had just one home run in his previous 32 games). Dating to the beginning of 2016, Lindor is batting .278 with three homers and six RBI in his last nine games against the Rays.
- Tampa Bay had 10 home runs in the first matchup of the season vs. Cleveland -- its most in any three-game series in franchise history.
- Verlander gem helps Astros force Game 7
- Baker won't return as Nationals manager
- Dodgers expect SS Seager to play in WS
- Tigers name ex-rival Gardenhire manager
- Yankees have backs to wall once again
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays are mired in the worst offensive slump in their history, scoring eight runs in eight games with five shutout losses in that stretch.
Now they have to face Cleveland's Corey Kluber.
The Rays (59-59) are back at .500 for the first time in nearly two months -- they were 35-35 on June 16 -- and as they struggle to stay in the American League wild-card chase, they'll close out a three-game series with the Indians against another All-Star pitcher.
"More of the same. I don't have any explanation," Rays manager Kevin Cash said after Saturday's 3-0 loss, their second straight shutout against Cleveland. "We are in an offensive funk. It is what it is. We are going to get out of it eventually. We need to turn things around. I think the guys know that. ... Get ready to face a good pitcher in Corey Kluber tomorrow."
Kluber is 10-3 with a 2.65 ERA, coming off back-to-back complete games, the last a three-hit, one-run gem in a win over Colorado. Kluber has struck out at least 11 batters in five straight starts as well.
Kluber is making his eighth career start against the Rays, with a 2.23 ERA and somehow only a 3-2 career record. He last faced the Rays in June 2016, tossing a three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts.
Cleveland's dominance on the mound has also gotten an assist behind the plate -- Roberto Perez not only called a strong game on Saturday but threw out a runner trying to steal third base, taking away a potential scoring threat. He worked with Mike Clevinger in taking away the Rays' bats again on Saturday.
"They both had a plan, they followed it and executed it, and that's how you get wins and how you throw shutouts," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said, "by following your catcher and executing the pitches that you have to execute."
The Rays, meanwhile, send rookie Austin Pruitt, who has moved from the bullpen and the minors in a recent rash of injuries to Tampa Bay starters. Pruitt is 6-3 but carries a 5.14 ERA. He pitched well in his last start, holding Boston to one run in six innings, getting the Red Sox to go 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Pruitt has fared much better as a starter than a reliever. His ERA in the bullpen was 6.91 in 17 appearances, but as a starter it's 2.66. He has made four starts and held opponents to one run or fewer in three of them.
Pruitt has never faced the Indians, but this will be the third All-Star he has faced in four starts, joining Houston's Dallas Keuchel and Boston's Chris Sale.
"Good pitching and us not having our timing at the plate right now -- those two things happening at one time, you are going to spiral offensively, and I think that's what we've done here in the last five, six games," Cash said. "It's unfortunate, but we have to have to bounce back somehow."
Updated August 12, 2017