Cleveland Indians vs. Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview, Betting Odds
This week will feature a battle of American League second-place teams as the Cleveland Indians (42-39, 2nd in the AL Central) take on the Tampa Bay Rays (48-36, 2nd in AL East) in a three-game series. The Rays will host this one at Tropicana Field starting on Monday.
Cleveland has really struggled as of late, going 2-8 over their last 10 games. In fact, over the weekend, they were swept by the Houston Astros in a four-game series. Cleveland now sits six games out of first in the AL Central
The Rays also struggled a bit over the weekend, dropping two of three to the Toronto Blue Jays, but they did manage to salvage the finale Sunday. The Rays now sit 4.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
The schedule for the three-game series at Tropicana Field is as follows:
- Monday, July 5 - 7:10 pm ET
- Tuesday, July 6 - 7:10 pm ET
- Wednesday, July 7 - 12:10 pm ET
Here is the pitching matchup for each game of the series:
- Monday: Logan Allen (1-5, 8.38 ERA) vs. Rich Hill (6-3, 3.70 ERA)
- Tuesday: JC Mejia (1-3, 6.18 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (1-2, 5.26 ERA)
- Wednesday: Sam Hentges (1-3, 8.22 ERA) vs. TBD
Looking At Odds
Sitting six games back in the AL Central, the Indians are currently +500 to win the division. They are +4800 to win the World Series this year.
The Rays have a bit better odds in both regards. They are +280 to win the AL East while they are +1400 to win the World Series this year.
By The Number
The Rays find themselves in the top ten in both runs scored per game and runs allowed per game as they sit in ninth in both categories. They currently average 4.83 runs while giving up an average of 4.08 runs.
The Indians trail the Rays in both categories. They rank 16th in runs per game (4.30) and 18th in runs allowed per game (4.49).
Indians Try To Stop The Bleeding
With their losing streak now up to six, the Cleveland Indians would do anything to just make the bleeding stop. Unfortunately, the injury bug has not given them any breaks.
Already without their top three starters (Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac), the Indians have also been without their best hitter in Jose Ramirez. He is considered day-to-day, but he has been out of the lineup the last several games with an elbow injury.
To this point, Ramirez has hit .265/.345/.537 with 18 home runs, 50 runs batted in, and 54 runs scored.
Over the last week, Cesar Hernandez has been the Indians’ best hitter. In that span, he is hitting .296/.367/.704 with three home runs and six runs batted in.
Rays Hope To Continue Solid Play At Home
At 48-36, the Rays have the fourth-best record in the American League, and that is in large part thanks to really solid play at home. Coming into Monday, the Rays are 23-16 when playing at Tropicana Field.
Offensively, the Rays have gotten plenty of pop throughout the lineup. Mike Zunino (18), Brandon Lowe (16), Austin Meadows (16), and Randy Arozarena (10) lead the team as they all have double-digit home runs.
The Rays have also been happy to see Wander Franco start to turn it around. After a rough start to his career, the top-ranked prospect is hitting .333/.333/524 with a home run over the last week.
Still, for a team that is in the top ten in scoring, they don’t hit particularly well as they rank just 25th with a team batting average of .228.
Indians Need Starters To Step Up
It is never easy to replace guys like Bieber, Civale, and Plesac, but the Indians really need to get better outings from their starters.
Over the weekend, the Indians’ bullpen had to pitch 20 innings in just four games. Having your starters averaging just four innings per game is never a good thing for a team trying to get back on track.
With the All-Star break and trade deadline approaching, this could be a make-or-break time of the season for Cleveland. This series with the Tampa Bay Rays could give us a better indication of which way they will go.
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