Tampa Bay Rays ( – ) at Cleveland Indians ( – )
Series 19, Games 54, 55 & 56
Progressive Field, Cleveland: Park Factor 96, Pitcher's Park.
Friday, May 31st 7:05 EDT (STO)
Matt Moore (8-0, 2.21) vs Corey Kluber (3-3, 4.57)
Brett Myers injury complications has granted Kluber a reprieve from the worry of being removed from the rotation, but the way he has pitched lately is really what earned him his place on the team. In his last three starts he has lowered his ERA a full run per nine innings while throwing 19 innings and striking out 23. He will face the difficult task of going against Moore, the best pitcher on an extremely good pitching team.
Moore's last time out was the first game his team as lost that he started all year, although he himself didn't actually take the loss. He has given up just two runs in his last two starts covering 14 innings. This type of performance is not atypical for Moore, who has only given up more than two runs in two games this year. He will definitely not provide a respite from the tough pitching the Indians have been facing against Cincinnati.
Saturday, June 1st 1:05 EDT (STO)
Alex Cobb (6-2, 2.66) vs Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 5.57)
Cobb was originally scheduled to pitch Friday, but was moved after dealing with an issue with his finger nail. Cobb is a young starter and is having a fantastic season to this point, much like Moore, Cobb has allowed more than three runs just a single time this year. One difference between him and Moore is that Cobb strikes out more batters, with 62 already in his ten starts.
Jimenez got back on track in his last start after a less than stellar appearance against the Tigers. In one of his best starts of the season against Cincinnati he allowed just two runs in seven innings, but didn't receive a decision. While he hasn't pitched well in Cleveland, Tampa should be a good fit as they are a free swinging team that hits the ball into the ground often.
Sunday, June 2nd 1:05 EDT (STO)
Jeremy Hellickson (2-2, 5.61) vs Zach McAllister (4-4, 3.08)
This match-up favors the Indians more than either of the other games. McAllister can be expected to throw a quality start in any game this year, but he has been particularly good against the Rays, against whom he has pitched three games and given up just three runs in 17.2 innings. Hellickson has been equally as good against the Indians, allowing just 5 runs in 19 innings with a WHIP around 1.00.
Predictions: This will be another tough series for the Tribe (and they don't get any easier for awhile) and they would be very lucky to get away with a series win. The series sets up best for the Indians in the final two games, after they have dealt with the Rays ace in game one.