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Indians Vs. Rays: Tampa Bay Visits For Final Series Before The Break

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.

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The Cleveland Indians begin a four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday, each team's final series before heading into the All-Star break.

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.

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Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.