NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Josh Tomlin #43 of the Cleveland Indians reacts after giving up a second home run to Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees on June 25, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Indians will host the Tampa Bay Rays in the final series before the All-Star Game. Currently two games back of Chicago, Cleveland can stay within striking distance -- or better -- against the struggling Rays.
The Indians will, for the second straight season, head into the break right in the thick of things. Cleveland is currently two games back of the division-leading Chicago White Sox, and 2.5 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers.
Still, the Indians rotation has been wobbly at times this season, and no one more so than Thursday starter Josh Tomlin. He is 4-5 with a 5.85 ERA, the highest ERA among Indians starters. Opponents are batting an even .300 against him.
This is Tomlin's third consecutive start against an AL East opponent. His past two outings, against the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, were brutal: six earned runs in 3.0 innings against New York, five earned runs in 6.0 innings against Baltimore.
The Rays, who are just 3-7 over their last 10 and who have fallen 6.5 games back of the division-leading Yankees, will start Jeremy Hellickson, who is 4-4 with a 3.44 ERA.