Both squads are currently third place in their respective divisions, and both feel like they could be doing better. Tampa Bay came off their third playoff berth in four seasons in 2011 but are well behind the Yankees and Orioles in the AL East; meanwhile, Cleveland had held the top spot in the AL Central for a long time before a dip in form saw them fall behind the surging White Sox and Tigers.
Neither team is giving their fans much confidence through their recent form. Tampa Bay has alternated wins and losses in their last six games, while the Indians are coming off a tough series loss to the Blue Jays. Both teams are a blissfully mediocre 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Zach McAllister (3-1, 3.40 ERA) will make his second straight start against the Rays in game one of the series. The rookie righty gave up four unearned runs to the Rays in the sixth inning in that last start, eventually earning no decision in a 7-6 loss right before the All-Star Break.
Tampa Bay will send out Alex Cobb (4-5, 4.89 ERA) to counter. Cobb helped lead Tampa to a 10-3 win in his last meeting against the Indians.
The game will be at Tropicana Field at 7:10 p.m. ET.
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