Cleveland Indians Wild Card Game Preview: Tampa Bay Rays

Alex Cobb - Al Bello

The Indians try to keep their first postseason in six seasons alive with a one and done game with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Tribe opens their (hopefully, long) postseason ride with a visit from the Tampa Bay Rays. The one and done is scheduled for Wednesday October 2 at 8:07 PM. After the game, if/when they emerge victorious, they will head to Boston to take on the AL East champion Red Sox.

Team in a Box

Tampa Bay Rays

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2013 Record

92-71

Runs/Game

4.3

9th

Runs/Game

4.0

5th

AL East

2nd

OBP

.329

3rd

H/9

8.1

1st

Last 10

8-2

SLG

.408

9th

BB/9

3.0

8th

Last 30

17-13

Steals

73

12th

SO/9

8.1

3rd

The Rays entered September as one of the Wild Card leaders but had just lost a series in Oakland. They struggled against the Mariners and Red Sox before righting themselves over the past two weeks. They swept Baltimore and the Yankees, but two losses to the Blue Jays the final weekend bumped them down to the play-in game. The lineup gets on base decently enough (third in league), but the slugging is lacking or their "clutch" hitting has failed them as they are only ninth in runs scored. Pitching is their calling card with Price, Moore and Cobb leading the way. The bullpen is far from dominant, but overall effective. Their defense is very good, second fewest errors in league this year.

Projected Lineup

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

CF

Desmond Jennings

R

602

252

334

414

110

RF

Wil Myers

L

373

293

354

478

132

2B

Ben Zobrist

S

698

275

354

402

113

3B

Evan Longoria

R

693

269

343

498

134

DH

Luke Scott

L

291

241

326

415

108

LF

Matt Joyce

L

481

235

328

419

109

1B

James Loney

L

598

299

348

430

118

SS

Yunel Escobar

R

578

256

332

366

97

C

Jose Molina

R

313

233

290

304

68

The numbers here look pretty decent overall with only Molina having a poor season. Longoria is obviously the key guy here, but Myers has lived up to his hype. Loney resurrected his career this season. Jennings is fighting through an injury, so he might be limited. I expect Joe Maddon to stick with the left handed Scott and Joyce against Salazar. The bench appears to be set with David DeJesus (97 OPS+), Sean Rodriguez (98), either Kelly Johnson (99) or Delmon Young (97) and Jose Lobaton (100).

Projected Starters

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Game 1

Alex Cobb (Salazar)

R

2.76

143.1

138

7.5

2.8

8.4

Cobb was electric in his final two starts, pitching seven shutout innings against the Yankees with only three hits and two walks, striking out four; and one earned run in 8.1 innings against the Orioles with five hits, two walks and twelve punchouts. Overall in September he was 3-0 in five starts, 2.57 ERA, 35 innings, 1.057 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 with only one home run. He was on fire in April against us, allowing 4 hits, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts in 7.1 innings. In total, he has three starts in his career against us, 2-1, 2.70 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 7.0 K/9 in 16.2 innings.

Key Relievers

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Fernando Rodney

R

3.38

66.2

113

7.2

4.9

11.1

Joel Peralta

R

3.41

71.1

112

5.9

4.3

9.3

Jake McGee

L

4.02

62.2

95

7.5

3.2

10.8

Rodney's overall numbers look fairly pedestrian, but that is due to a rough April and May. Since August 1, he has had only three appearances where he has given up any runs, with eleven saves and a 2-2 record. He has a 1.174 WHIP and 9.0 K/9. He only made two appearances against Cleveland this year, 1.2 innings, three hits, two earned runs, no walks and a strikeout. Peralta has been a bit more uneven in the last two months. He has a 4.21 ERA covering 27 appearances, a 2-4 record, two blown saves, fourteen holds, 1.208 WHIP, and 9.5 K/9. He appeared in three Tribe games this year, one hit, two strikeouts in 2.2 innings. McGee has had a solid season. Since August 1, he has a 3.22 ERA in 22.1 innings covering 24 appearances, 1.164 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. He has only made two appearances versus Cleveland, two perfect innings with one strikeout. The other key relievers will most likely include righty LGFT Jamey Wright (124 ERA+), lefties Cesar Ramos (92) and Alex Torres (224), and righty Brandon Gomes (59). Jeff Niemann could be in line to replace Gomes.

On the Shelf

  • RP Juan Oviedo (Tommy John surgery) - 60-day DL

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2013

2

4

333

23

30

381

2012

4

4

500

34

39

438

Last 5*

18

20

474

183

185

495

Last 10*

44

34

564

393

344

561

All-Time

75

50

600

673

537

602

*Does not include 2013 stats

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