Date/Time: October 2nd, 8:07 PM ET
Probable Starters: Cobb (Tampa Bay) vs. Salazar (Cleveland)
Moneyline: Rays -114
The Tampa Bay Rays have been on the road for the last week and a half, and they are going to hope to continue their season on Wednesday night in the AL Wild Card game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Tampa Bay was the slight favorite on Monday against the Texas Rangers in the tiebreaker game to determine who was going to take the trip to Cleveland for Wednesday. LHP David Price went the distance and really proved that he can be a horse. That gives a much needed rest to a bullpen that not only had been overworked, but it hadn’t really been playing at its best either in the last few weeks. RHP Alex Cobb is the man that is going to be tasked with winning this one, and he is one of the many young arms in this rotation that are key for not just this postseason run, but the future as well. Perhaps a bit surprisingly, Cobb went 11-3 this season with a 2.76 ERA, and there is no doubt that he is the best right-handed pitchers on this staff. He comes into this game having won his last three starts, and if he can make it four in a row, Tampa Bay might legitimately have a shot at winning the whole enchilada this year.
The Indians have at least had a few days off, which gave them a lot of options to turn to in the rotation. Instead of going to a more proven commodity, Manager Terry Francona is going to turn the ball over to his best rookie, RHP Danny Salazar. Salazar only went 2-3 in his first campaign in the bigs, and he only won his second game in his most recent start, but he has some nasty stuff. Remember when Tampa Bay opened up the postseason two years ago with LHP Matt Moore, who virtually no one had a chance to get a look at before the Rangers saw him in Arlington in Game 1 of the ALDS? That’s the same type of strategy that Cleveland is going with in this one. Francona has already said that he has LHP Justin Masterson ready in this game as well, and he will likely be used in relief, especially if a long reliever is needed.
The Indians have won 10 games in a row, but it has been a while since they have played against a team that is really in the caliber of Tampa Bay. The Rays just have that feel like a team that isn’t going to lose another game for at least a few more days, and in the end, they’ll advance into a showdown series with the Red Sox as the last two teams standing in the AL East.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Cleveland Indians Pick: Tampa Bay Rays -114
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.