Preview: Indians vs. Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bays Rays are in Cleveland to take on the Indians in what will be a one-game Wild Card game – the winner advances to play Boston in the ALDS on Friday and the loser starts their off-season.

Tonight’s pitching matchup will be Danny Salazar (2-3, 3.12 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76 ERA).

Indians’ lineup:
Bourn CF
Swisher 1B
Kipnis 2B
Santana DH
Brantley LF
Raburn RF
Cabrera SS
Gomes C
Chisenhall 3B

Rays’ lineup:
DeJesus LF
Myers RF
Loney 1B
Longoria 3B
Zobrist 2B
Jennings CF
Young DH
Escobar SS
Molina C

The Indians lost 4 of 6 against Tampa Bay during the regular season, but the teams have not played since June 2nd.

If Cleveland wants to win, they most likely will have to get to Cobb early and get into Tampa Bay’s bullpen.  With a 2.76 ERA, Cobb was the Rays’ best starting pitcher throughout the regular season (when he was healthy).

The city of Cleveland has been electric in preparation for tonight’s game.  I hope the 43,000+ fans in the sold out Progressive Field are loud from the start.  Not only will an loud and electric crowd help the Indians’ players, but the fans can negatively affect the Rays’ players (as we saw last night when Pittsburgh’s crowd dramatically affected the Reds’ players).  Seeing a sold out stadium and playoff baseball in Cleveland again will be incredible.

I predict the Indians to win 5-3 tonight and advance to the ALDS.

First pitch is set for 8:07 on TBS.

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The Indians’ 25-man roster can be re-done after every series.  So if they win tonight, they can change it (which is why Ubaldo Jimenez is not on the roster because he will be starting Friday if Cleveland wins tonight and they can therefore use his spot for the game tonight for another reliever).  The 25-man roster can be seen below:

Pitchers (11)
Matt Albers
Cody Allen
Rich Hill
Scott Kazmir
Corey Kluber
Justin Masterson
Chris Perez
Marc Rzepcynski
Danny Salazar
Bryan Shaw
Joe Smith
Catchers (2)
Yan Gomes
Carlos Santana
Infielders (7)
Mike Aviles
Asdrubal Cabrera
Lonnie Chisenhall
Jason Giambi
Jason Kipnis
Jose Ramirez
Nick Swisher
Outfielders (5)
Michael Bourn
Michael Brantley
Matt Carson
Drew Stubbs
Ryan Raburn

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