RAYS (28-18) AT INDIANS (25-23)
6:10 p.m. ET; ST-OH, FS-SUN, MLB.TV
The Cleveland Indians saw their offense go missing the past three days as they were swept in a home series for the first time in nearly two years.
The Indians aim to locate their bats on Thursday when they begin the final leg of their 11-game homestand with the opener of a four-game series versus the Tampa Bay Rays.
“If I had the magic potion, believe me, I’d give it to everybody,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of the team’s offensive woes. “The best thing I know is to not drag our heads, to not feel sorry for ourselves, because nobody cares. Especially the teams we’re playing. They’re probably thrilled.”
The Indians certainly weren’t thrilled with their lack of hitting on Wednesday afternoon, save for Jake Bauers’ mammoth two-run homer in the eighth inning in their 7-2 setback to the Oakland A’s. The loss marked the first time Cleveland was swept at home since falling three times to the Minnesota Twins from June 23-25, 2017.
Cleveland struggled to come through with the timely hit against the A’s, recording just nine runs while seeing its team batting average dip to .224 on the season.
There are positives, however. Francisco Lindor is 22-for-62 (.355) with three homers and eight RBIs in his past 15 contests. Jason Kipnis is riding an on-base streak of 17 games, and Carlos Santana is 9-for-21 (.429) with three homers and seven RBIs in his past seven outings.
“Fortunately, I think we have some grinders. And we have some guys that can lead the way,” Francona said. “We’ve got to get after it and keep getting after it and fight our way through it.”
Cleveland right-hander Adam Plutko, who will get the start on Thursday, allowed just one hit — albeit a solo homer — in six innings in his season debut Saturday during a 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Plutko (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will be making his 21st career appearance (14th start) overall and first versus Tampa Bay.
The Rays are expected to recall left-hander Ryan Yarbrough from Triple-A Durham to serve as the primary reliever behind their unannounced “opener” for Thursday’s game, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The need for Yarbrough, 27, came about after Tampa Bay elected to push back Blake Snell and Charlie Morton one day for rest purposes.
Yarbrough has posted a 2.14 ERA and a 30-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in four appearances (21 innings) with Durham. He was 2-1 with an 8.10 ERA in five relief outings for the Rays earlier this season.
Yarbrough won his lone career meeting with Cleveland after permitting one run on two hits in five innings of a 6-4 victory on Sept. 2, 2018.
Tommy Pham extended his hitting streak to eight games Wednesday by belting a solo homer in the Rays’ 8-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Avisail Garcia is enjoying a strong 10-game stretch. His three-run shot, which was part of a seven-run seventh inning vs. the Dodgers, gave him four homers and 10 RBIs in that span.
“It’s big for us. We’ve been losing a little bit, but that’s baseball,” Garcia said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “That happens, so we just have to keep our head up and do what we’ve been doing the whole year, never give up and try to win every day.”
–Field Level Media