The Indians hope to wash away the effects of having lost the last two games against the Red Sox earlier this week after having had a day off on Thursday, when they take on the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game set in Florida starting at 7:10 on Friday night.
The Tribe will be looking for a little payback against the Rays, who took two-of-three from Cleveland at Progressive Field earlier this month. Especially, the Indians will try to get even with Tampa Bay starter David Price in tonight's game after Price ended the Tribe's 14-game home winning streak on May 11.
In that game two weeks ago, Price (5-4, 3.89 ERA) went eight innings and allowed only two runs on five hits while walking none and fanning seven in an 8-2 Rays' win.
Price has struggled some since, giving up 10 runs in 11.2 innings in two starts, with a no-decision against the Yankees and a loss vs. the Marlins, but in his career against Cleveland, Price is 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA.
The Indians counter on Friday with Josh Tomlin (6-1, 2.41 ERA), who got a no-decision in the only Tribe win against the Rays, a 5-4 win on May 10. In that one Tomlin allowed three runs in six innings, walking one and striking out three in what was Tomlin's first career appearance against Tampa Bay.
The Rays come in to the weekend in third place in the AL East behind the Yankees and Red Sox, but only a game and a half out of first.
Tampa Bay is hitting .242 as a team, which ties them for 21st in the Majors. The Rays are led by Matt Joyce, who is tearing it up at a .367 clip. Joyce and Ben Zobrist have each belted eight home runs, and three players all have driven in 28 runs for the Rays.
The Indians, despite scuffling a little as of late with the exception of two blowouts -- a 19-1 win over Kansas City and a 12-4 triumph over the Reds -- are 4th in the Majors in average, at .262. Of players able to play this weekend, Asdrubal Cabrera leads in average at .306. Cabrera also leads the team in homers with ten, and with RBI with 34.
After tonight's game, the series will continue with a 4:10 game on Saturday and a 1:40 start-time on Sunday before the Indians move on to Toronto.
It is expected that Grady Sizemore will return some time this weekend, although Manny Acta has not made it clear which day of the weekend that may be.