Tribe Takes on Tampa
The Indians took the opener of this series Thursday night 3-1, their fifth win in their last six games. Tampa, on the other hand, has lost eight of its last 11.
So the Rays, at 43-40, sit in third place in the AL East, seven games behind the division-leading Yankees.
The Indians, meanwhile, at 43-39, are in second place in the AL Central, two games back of the first-place White Sox.
Justin Masterson (5-7, 3.92) will throw for Cleveland Friday against Alex Cobb (3-5, 4.94) for the Rays.
Cobb is just two-for-eight this season on quality starts, and the Rays are 3-5 in games he’s started. In his latest outing last Saturday vs. the Tigers he gave up four earned runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, and just before that he got bounced around for eight runs on 13 hits (!) in eight innings of a loss to the Royals.
For the year Cobb has allowed 53 hits in 51 innings, walked 14 and struck out 36.
This will be Cobb’s first-ever start vs. Cleveland.
Masterson, meanwhile, is eight-for-17 on quality starts this year, although the Indians are only 7-10 in games he’s started. His last time out Masterson held the Orioles to one ER on five hits through seven innings, and over his last five starts he’s allowed just six ER in 36 innings. So he’s been on a bit of a roll.
On the year Masterson has allowed fewer hits, 99, than innings pitched, 110, but his 43 walks have caused some problems.
Masterson started twice last year vs. the Rays and got clipped for 11 ER on 16 hits in just 10 2/3 innings. The Indians lost both those games.
In early betting on Friday’s game about 55 percent of play on the side has come in on Cleveland, while play on the total has split about even.
Tampa, playing without both Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce, has seen eight of its last nine games play ‘under’ on the totals.
Over in the other dugout the Indians have scored at least six runs in six of their last eight games.
Free MLB Pick
Cleveland is slightly hot, while the Rays are a bit cool. The lefty-heavy Indians are also having good luck against right-handed pitching this season, going 35-23 and averaging almost five runs per game vs. righties. So we’ll lay the favorite’s price and take the Tribe Friday.