After being shut out last night by David Price and two relievers, it may not get any easier for the Indians this afternoon at 4:10 when the Tribe meets the Tampa Bay Rays in the middle game of a three-game series in Florida.
Tampa Bay will send James Shields to the hill. Shields (5-2, 2.00 ERA) already has one win to his credit against the Indians this season, having beaten Cleveland on May 12 for his first career victory over the Indians. In that game in Cleveland, Shields went seven innings and allowed two runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out seven in a 7-4 Rays’ win. Shields now has a career record of 1-4 against the Tribe, with a 3.83 ERA in 44.2 innings.
In his last outing, against the Florida Marlins last Sunday, Shields pitched a complete game shutout, winning 4-0 against Tampa Bay’s in-state rival while allowing only three hits.
Cleveland will send Carlos Carrasco to oppose Shields. Carrasco (3-2, 5.16 ERA) has won his last two starts to climb above the break-even mark for the season, and will be making his first-ever start at Tropicana Field.
In his only career appearance against the Rays, Carrasco was touched for four runs in only five innings in that 8-2 loss to Shields on May 11. Carrasco allowed three walks and six hits in that contest, and will have to probably be a whole lot better this afternoon to run his personal winning streak to three.
The series will wrap up on Sunday with a 1:40 game. Justin Masterson will be slated to start that one for the Tribe, and Masterson has been the victim of a decided lack of support as of late.
With that being said, it would be…helpful…if the Indians could break out of their recent offensive funk today and carry that over into Sunday’s game.