Carlos Carrasco, who has not pitched in the bigs since April 24, is expected to make the start tonight as the Indians go for 15 in a row at home.
It won’t be easy, though, as Tampa Bay sends their ace David Price to the hill in a 7:05 game.
Price beat the Indians at Progressive Field last July to end Tampa Bay’s 18-game skid in Cleveland. Price (4-3, 3.26 ERA) is coming off of a win over Toronto in his last start. In that one, Price allowed only an unearned run in 8 2/3 innings, walking none and fanning ten in a 3-1 Rays win.
Against Cleveland in his career, Price is 2-0 in three starts, with a 2.76 ERA over 16 1/3 innings pitched.
Price has a fine career record of 33-16, with a 3.30 ERA in 400+ innings of work over three seasons.
Carrasco (1-1, 4.97 ERA) has never faced the Rays. He also was the losing pitcher in the last game the Tribe lost at home, back on April 2 against the White Sox. This will be Carrasco’s first appearance at Progressive Field since that start.
The Indians will have to do a better job with runners in scoring position than they did last night, when they were fortunate to eke out a 5-4 win on a walk-off free pass from Kyle Farnsworth to Michael Brantley to end it.
In last night’s contest the Indians were only 1-for-14 with runners in position to score, and the Tribe left 13 on base (although in fairness, the bases remaining loaded in the ninth added three runners to that total which were moot after the game-ending walk).
Grady Sizemore blasted his sixth homer of the season last night while Brantley delivered his second — both of which gave Cleveland one-run leads. But with the tough lefty Price on the hill, some production will be necessary from the right-hand batters’ box.
The Indians have a 5 1/2 game lead on both Kansas City and Detroit, with the Royals being percentage points ahead of the heating-up Tigers.
This series will end with a 12:05 game on Thursday afternoon, so — hopefully — the weather will not be a problem again tonight, as it was last night when lightning in the area pushed the start of the game back an hour and a half.