|TAMPA BAY ( COBB )|
CLEVELAND ( SALAZAR )
|** AL Wild Card Game|
|903||TAMPA BAY||-105||Ov 7,-115||-115||Ov 7,-110|
|904||CLEVELAND||-105||Un 7,-105||+105||Un 7,-110|
|vs Right-handed Starters||61-47||+2.1||53-50||4.2||0.256||0.326||4.2||0.243||0.300|
|Past 7 Games||5-2||+2||4-3||5.1||0.262||0.313||3.4||0.236||0.314|
|vs Right-handed Starters||56-49||+7.8||42-57||4.3||0.245||0.318||4.1||0.253||0.322|
|Past 7 Games||7-0||+7||5-2||7.0||0.304||0.353||3.0||0.254||0.304|
|9/24/2013||MOORE(L)||@ NY YANKEES||KURODA(R)||7-0||W||-105||7.5 un||U||9||6||0||4||11||2|
|9/25/2013||PRICE(L)||@ NY YANKEES||HUGHES(R)||8-3||W||-160||7.5 un||O||15||9||0||8||7||2|
|9/26/2013||COBB(R)||@ NY YANKEES||NOVA(R)||4-0||W||-130||7.5 un||U||11||6||0||3||3||0|
|9/27/2013||HELLICKSON(R)||@ TORONTO||DICKEY(R)||3-6||L||-130||7.5 ov||O||7||5||3||8||7||2|
|9/28/2013||ARCHER(R)||@ TORONTO||HAPP(L)||2-7||L||-165||7.5 ov||O||6||4||0||12||8||0|
|9/29/2013||MOORE(L)||@ TORONTO||REDMOND(R)||7-6||W||-180||7.5 ov||O||9||3||0||12||11||0|
|9/30/2013||PRICE(L)||@ TEXAS||PEREZ(L)||5-2||W||-120||7.5 un||U||7||8||0||7||4||1|
|10/2/2013||COBB(R)||@ CLEVELAND||SALAZAR(R)|| |
|9/18/2013||SALAZAR(R)||@ KANSAS CITY||CHEN(L)||2-7||L||-105||7.5 ov||O||5||4||1||10||8||1|
|9/24/2013||JIMENEZ(R)||CHI WHITE SOX||SANTIAGO(L)||5-4||W||-200||7.5 un||O||9||6||0||9||9||1|
|9/25/2013||SALAZAR(R)||CHI WHITE SOX||AXELROD(R)||7-2||W||-290||7 ev||O||9||6||0||8||7||2|
|9/26/2013||MCALLISTER(R)||@ MINNESOTA||ALBERS(L)||6-5||W||-145||8 ov||O||11||9||0||13||12||2|
|9/27/2013||KLUBER(R)||@ MINNESOTA||HERNANDEZ(L)||12-6||W||-185||8.5 ov||O||17||8||0||11||6||0|
|9/28/2013||KAZMIR(L)||@ MINNESOTA||DE VRIES(R)||5-1||W||-190||8.5 un||U||7||4||0||6||6||0|
|9/29/2013||JIMENEZ(R)||@ MINNESOTA||DIAMOND(L)||5-1||W||-220||8 un||U||10||8||0||5||6||3|
|10/2/2013||SALAZAR(R)||TAMPA BAY||COBB(R)|| |
|TAMPA BAY: HITTING: OF DESMOND JENNINGS' on-base skills will lead to tons of runs and SBs despite his mediocre batting average. 2B BEN ZOBRIST bounced back from a disappointing 2010, and will continue to produce near the top of the batting order. Though a series of nagging injuries plagued his 2011 season, 3B EVAN LONGORIA slugged 17 HR in his last 53 games. Fully healthy this season, he'll be an elite power-hitter with double-digit SB potential. OF B.J. UPTON's days in Tampa may be numbered. He's an elite athlete, but he just might lose his head if he's traded into a tough situation. After a hot start, OF MATT JOYCE settled in as the productive hitter he is. He should get to play every day in right field. SSs SEAN RODRIGUEZ and REID BRIGNAC will battle for ABs but neither hits on a consistent basis. C JOSE MOLINA was acquired for his defense much more than his hitting. DH LUKE SCOTT can also play some 1B when slugger CARLOS PENA, who is returning to Tampa after hitting 28 homers for the Cubs in 2011, needs a rest. |
STARTING PITCHING: DAVID PRICE was a little more hittable than in 2010, but he increased his already-high strikeout rate while cutting back on walks. His win total should rise from a disappointing 12 last year. JAMES SHIELDS put his 2010 disaster season behind him and became a Cy Young candidate. His peripheral stats and skills weren't all that different the past two years, it was a big swing of luck. Some people are putting out the Bust Alert on Rookie of the Year JEREMY HELLICKSON. He had the league's luckiest batting average on balls in play (.217), but he improved as last season progressed. MATT MOORE may be this year's R.O.Y. after a dominant late-season call up. He'll be among the league leaders in strikeouts for years to come. WADE DAVIS is a mediocre pitcher who eats innings at the back of the rotation.
RELIEF PITCHING: KYLE FARNSWORTH looked as strong as he has in years, converting 25 of 31 saves in his first season with the Rays. He's the closer again this year, but it won't take much for him to lose that job after an unsteady last third of the 2011 season. JOEL PERALTA may overtake Farnsworth for ninth-inning duties at some point this season. Peralta was 5-for-5 on saves in September when Farnsworth was hurt, and gave up only one run in his final 21.3 innings. Possible future closer JAKE McGEE progressed nicely after a tough start to 2011. He's got potentially lethal stuff. Former Angels hurler FERNANDO RODNEY is looking to bounce back after a wild season (28 walks, 26 strikeouts in 32 IP).
|CLEVELAND: HITTING: SS ASDRUBAL CABRERA's reinvented swing, modeled after Ben Zobrist, likely led to his power surge. OF GRADY SIZEMORE is back on a one-year deal, so he has plenty of financial incentive to stay healthy. But he will begin the season on the DL after back surgery. OF SHELLEY DUNCAN is expected to get more playing time in replacing Sizemore, but speedy OF EZEQUIEL CARRERA is also waiting for his shot. Injuries and off-the-field issues spoiled OF SHIN SOO-CHOO's 2011, but there's a good chance he bounces back . . . OF MICHAEL BRANTLEY does everything well enough to get a regular gig in center. C CARLOS SANTANA is developing into a middle-of-the-order run producer. DH TRAVIS HAFNER can't be trusted to stay healthy or to produce power numbers. After another down year, 1B MATT LaPORTA will have to sit and watch CASEY KOTCHMAN start at first more often than not. 3B LONNIE CHISENHALL will get his chance to play every day, but dwindling production the past two years is a concern. 2B JASON KIPNIS will get first crack at second base. He's got nice pop for a middle infielder. |
STARTING PITCHING: JUSTIN MASTERSON's strikeout rate continues to decline, and he still gets hit hard by lefties. Still, his strong groundball rate guarantees he's a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm at worst. His velocity dropped last year, and there's no telling if UBALDO JIMENEZ will ever regain his early 2010 form. He's the definition of high-risk, high-reward. DEREK LOWE was a decent middle-of-the-rotation arm in the National League, but now he must adjust to facing superior A.L. lineups . . . Healthy again, JOSH TOMLIN will remain in the rotation. He's hittable, throwing strikes and relying on his defense. Former Twins hurler KEVIN SLOWEY rounds out the staff. Although he posted a 6.67 ERA last year, Slowey has exhibited pinpoint control in his career with just 84 walks in 532.2 innings, tallying a .470 K-to-BB ratio. JEANMAR GOMEZ is a decent minor league arm, but his ceiling is low (long term and in the immediate future). CARLOS CARRASCO may not pitch in the bigs this year after Tommy John surgery.
RELIEF PITCHING: CHRIS PEREZ is entrenched as the closer, but he was a bit of a disappointment last season. His velocity dropped slightly, and his strikeout rate fell off a cliff. If Perez gets hurt, VINNIE PESTANO is next in line for saves. He may be undersized, but his stuff is overpowering. TONY SIPP proved he can get out righties too, but his value is as a lefty-on-lefty guy. Ditto for sidearmer JOE SMITH, who is deadly on righties. But it would be a surprise if he shut down lefties for a second straight year. RAFAEL PEREZ has been hampered by shoulder soreness in Spring Training, but the lefty should once again be serviceable in the late innings this year.
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER AL PREVIEW (TAMPA BAY-CLEVELAND) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(Updates. With AP Photos.)
*Rays-Indians Preview* ======================
By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
Tampa Bay (92-71) at Cleveland (92-70), 8:07 p.m. EDT
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Sporting sunglasses, a teal shirt and a backpack hanging from his shoulder, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon looked like a tourist as he arrived late for his news conference.
Maddon didn't have time to slip into his uniform and had a valid excuse. The Rays have been on the road.
In the past week, they've gone from Tampa to New York to Toronto to Texas to Cleveland, a journey covering 3,627 miles.
On Wednesday night, the Rays hope to book a trip to Boston.
Getting a complete game from starter David Price, Tampa Bay beat Texas 5-2 in a tiebreaker on Monday night, earning the Rays a wild-card spot for the third time in four years and a chance to face the Indians, making their first appearance in October since 2007.
Forced to win almost every day down the stretch as they went neck-and-neck-and-neck with the Indians and Rangers in a thrilling wild-card scramble in the final weeks of September, the Rays won in Toronto on Sunday before traveling deep in the heart of Texas and surviving a win-or-go-home scenario.
"I'll tell you what," said Maddon, whose team went 14-5 after Sept. 12. "We've already played this wild-card game a couple times. We did it in Toronto a couple days ago. We did it yesterday in Texas, and we're going to come here tomorrow and do it again. I don't know if there's a battle-tested component to that, if you get immune to whatever that pressure is and you go play."
Wednesday's winner will meet the Red Sox in Game 1 of the division series on Friday.
The Rays always believed they'd be in position to make a run at a first World Series title. And although they've racked up some frequent-flyer miles and lived out of their suitcases to keep their season alive, they're confident their season isn't about to end.
"When you get into this momentum kind of a thing on a daily basis and you're playing great competition and you're going from city to city to city and it's an adverse territory, all of this stuff is what you train for and you really dig and you love it," Maddon said. "You don't have time to get nervous or overthink, you've just got to get ready and go play - and for our guys, they kind of like that moment right now."
Like the Rays, the Indians had to scrap their way into the postseason. Cleveland ended a topsy-turvy regular season under manager Terry Francona by ripping off 10 wins in a row, playing error-free ball during the stretch.
Now, when every mistake is magnified and there's no room for lapses, the Indians want to keep rolling and will start rookie Danny Salazar in their biggest game in six seasons.
"This team wasn't expected to do anything," said right fielder Nick Swisher, one of the team's high-profile free-agent signings. "Just to be where we are right now is awesome, man."
Tampa won four of the six games against Cleveland this season, but the teams haven't met since early June.
Rays starter Alex Cobb (11-3) was asked what he learned about the Indians in his one start against them on April 6.
"That was so long ago, I don't know if that really applies anymore," he said.
"Plus," Maddon said, interrupting his young right-hander. "That was before you got hit in the head."
Fortunately, the Rays can now make light of the scary situation involving Cobb, who was struck in the head by a line drive hit by Kansas City's Eric Hosmer on June 15. Cobb missed 50 games with a concussion, but he's been a different pitcher since the injury, going 5-1 with a 2.41 ERA in nine starts.
Cobb said two months of rest may have helped, but he was also driven to pitch in the postseason after missing out in 2011 when he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his ribs.
"Watching the postseason and just the feeling of being left out is indescribable," he said. "It's a terrible feeling that you don't want to have again, so I think it was extra motivation to get back and it definitely fueled the fire even more to get back to the postseason and know that we have a special group that can go far."
The Indians feel just as strongly about making this an unforgettable season, perhaps even ending Cleveland's 65-year drought between World Series titles.
Francona has no hesitation in handing the ball to Salazar (2-3), an unflappable 23-year-old who began the season at Double-A Akron but zoomed to the majors and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his debut. The Rays have never faced him.
"Believe me, we wouldn't pitch him if we weren't confident in him giving us the best chance to win," Francona said. "Danny has done nothing to make us think he can't handle this. He's so poised. If I had stuff like him, I'd be poised, too. But there's a difference between throwing 100 mph and being able to get major league hitters out. Danny can do that."
NOTES: Indians CF and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn did some agility drills and ran the bases before working out with his teammates. He pulled up with a leg injury on Sunday in Minnesota, and his status for Wednesday is not yet known. ... The teams have to have their 25-man rosters set by 10 a.m. Wednesday. .... Francona followed up on his joke about the Indians avoiding chicken and beer during his September surge, a jab at his final days in Boston. "I lied about that," he said. "We have had some chicken."
|Last Updated: 9/22/2014 5:17:22 PM EST|