Tribe Versus: Tampa Bay Rays 4/5-5/7
Now that, my friends, is how you start your season! A series win against a team favored by many to win the AL East, who traded the farm to Miami for most of their talent and then spent bookoos of cash in the free agent market, is the confidence boost our boys needed. The Tribe has a tough month of baseball ahead of them and wins like this We played scrappy baseball which at many points was anything but pretty, but we scratched and fought our way to victory over Toronto.
The wheels keep turning, and our Tribe rolls on. Next up, the bottom feeding Rays from inlet of Tampa.
Cleveland Indians (2-1) at Tampa Bay Rays (1-2)
At Tropicana Field, April 5-7, 2013
Game 1: RHP Zach McAllister vs. LHP Matt Moore
First pitch: 7:10pm EST
Game 2: RHP Trevor Bauer vs RHP Alex Cobb
First pitch: 7:10pm EST
Game 3: RHP Justin Masterson vs. LHP David Price
First pitch: 1:40pm EST
|Photo - Getty Images via Zimbio|
The Bay Rays aren't just about their rotation though. Ben Zobrist is on fire, hitting .455 with four RBI and a dinger. Superstar third baseman Evan Longoria has a .417 batting average with five hits in 12 at bats. We'll be facing good old Shelley Duncan who recently knocked the stitching off the ball
The series against the Blue Jays proved that although good, the Tribe has some weaknesses. One glaring failing is our inability to score runners on base. In three games, we're averaging 18.5 runners LOB, which ranks us third worst in the league. If we can't turn these opportunities into runs, we'll but up the proverbial creek without that paddle.
The Indians did prove that they can battle back and keep themselves in the game, which is something they couldn't do last year. Once they were down by three runs, the goose was cooked. But not this year. Every player but Drew Stubbs got a hit, we had back to back moonshots by Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds, and two ground rule doubles. It's a tough game to lose, but Toronto did exactly what they should have - take advantage of our mistakes.
Players to keep your eye on
Trevor Bauer - The youngster is slated to get his first major league start for the Tribe this Saturday. Bauer was the third pick overall in the 2011 draft by the Diamondbacks, but has limited exposure to the big leagues with only four starts. His artillery includes a 95 MPH fastball, a curveball which tops out around 77 MPH, and a slider which is in the mid 80s. Bauer was sent down to the Indian's triple-A club to work out some hiccups in his delivery, but the rib injury to Scott Kazmir has given Bauer an opportunity to make his debut sooner than expected.
Carlos Santana - Santana has benefited from this revamped lineup which has reduced the pressure to be our one lone power bat. He's more protected batting lower in the order, giving him plenty of opportunities to drive in some runs. In 13 at bats, Santana has posted a .462/.500/.846 stat line with six hits, two RBI, and one huge homer in last night's game. I expect him to keep up with these numbers in the warmer Florida weather.
Justin Johnston is a contributing writer to The Tribe Daily. You can follow him on Twitter @WahooJay.