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Indians, Rays clash in AL Wild Card

Oct 2, 2013, 1:11 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

TAMPA BAY RAYS (92-71) vs. CLEVELAND INDIANS (92-70)

Where: Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH
Gametime: 8:07 p.m.
TV: TBS
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 69 degrees, wind 6 mph
Starting pitchers: TB – Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76) / CLE – Danny Salazar (2-3, 3.12)

After taking care of the Texas Rangers in a tiebreaker in Game 163, the Tampa Bay Rays now head to Cleveland for another one-and-done scenario. This time it’s the AL Wild Card game and the winner heads to Boston to battle the Red Sox in a five-game series starting Friday.

Though the Indians haven’t played in two days, they enter the playoffs the hottest team in the majors. They ran off ten straight wins to close the regular season, and took advantage of an easy schedule in September by winning 21 of their 27 games in the final month. The last team the Indians faced that is now in the playoffs was the Detroit Tigers whom they played Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

These teams saw each other six times during the regular season with the Rays winning four of those games. Tonight Tampa gives the ball to right-hander Alex Cobb who has enjoyed a breakout season, this his third year in the majors. The 25-year-old has faced the Indians three times in his career, and is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA against the club. He won the only game he pitched at Progressive Field – on July 6, 2012 – after allowing three runs through six innings.

The Indians are sending rookie Danny Salazar to the mound for just the 11th start of his young career. The 23-year-old was brought up to make his MLB debut in July, now he’s pitching in a playoff game.

Both these teams feature above average offenses, the Indians ranking fifth in the majors with 745 runs this year. Both teams are disciplined at the plate with the Rays leading MLB in walks with 589 on the season and the Indians placing fifth with 562.

If each team does have a weakness, however, it would be their bullpens. Both teams rank in the bottom half of the league in bullpen ERA. Cleveland’s closer Chris Perez sports a 4.33 ERA and blew five saves this season while Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney blew eight saves of his own. If this game is close, it could easily come down to who’s bullpen can hold on.

  1. Theophilus T.S. - Oct 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    The Mistake by the Lake. Boo. Hiss.

  2. natsfan1a - Oct 2, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Technically, I believe that would be “on” rather than “by.” At least, according to my hubby, who is from the general area. ;-)

    Gotta root for my 90-year-old aunt’s Tribe.

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 2, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Salazar is considered a top prospect, same guy who struck out Miguel Cabrera 3 times in one game (I don’t think many pitchers have done that). I just don’t see how Rays will get past him.

    • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      Thats why they play the game.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:53 PM

        I know but odds favor Indians.

      • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:57 PM

        Yes they do but clearly he can be had. I think Cleveland wins because they are more rested and playing at home.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:01 PM

        JV can be had too and Kershaw as well on a day.

      • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:07 PM

        “I just don’t see how Rays will get past him.” That’s your comment. Kind of a ridiculous statement. Thats why they play the game.

  4. Theophilus T.S. - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Salazar’s record in eleven starts is 2-3. That suggests he’s been responsible for a positive outcome 18.2 percent of the time. He’s not pitching today because he’s Francona’s pitcher of choice but because they had to go to the final day to clinch. The Rays can get by him.

  5. langleyclub - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    With Cobb, the Rays have the edge as he is 11-3 overall, and his last 3 starts (all against teams in contention – Rangers, Orioles and Yankees), he went 3-0, 7+ innings in every start, and had an overall pitching line of 23.1 IP 14 H 5 BB 26Ks 1.16 ERA 0.81 WHIP.

  6. David Proctor - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Kilgore reporting that Mike Rizzo will interview Randy Knorr for the job “soon.”

    • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      Shocker! Not a well kept secret that the top of the list is Matt Williams, Knorr, and Earl Weaver, and the 3rd guy is dead.

  7. melaniehallblog - Oct 2, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Reblogged this on melaniehallblog.

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 2, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Melanie, if you’re trying to do this for your own SEO, I don’t think Hummingbird will like it. Just saying.

    • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      I’ve been to that Korean restaurant. Its excellent!

  9. David Proctor - Oct 2, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Dan Uggla isn’t on the Braves NLDS roster. He’s their highest paid player. And BJ Upton is likely to be used as a pinch runner / defensive replacement. He’s their second highest paid player.

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    11-3 and 2-3? am I hearing this from NI crowd who dislikes w-l for our own pitchers so much? wait until Salazar no-hits Rays.

  11. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    DeJesus crushed that!

  12. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    That double pop when the ball hits the catchers mitt is annoying

    • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      you liked those Ks? electric stuff!

      • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        Loved them. Kid has heat and if he can locate he will be hard to beat.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:22 PM

        I know right. Hope he sticks around.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    a 1-2-3 top of the first with couple of Ks for Salazar. Yes, David crushed that pitch but he got his man.

  14. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Faraz, what did I say about locating his pitches? Its as if he knew it was a high fastball.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      ugh, that’s the only blemish to his game sometimes.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:46 PM

        Oh Faraz, that was like a relief pitcher going multiple innings. He was out of stuff the 2nd time through. That was textbook adjustments but also Salazar was over-throwing.

  15. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Salazar’s record in eleven starts is 2-3. That suggests he’s been responsible for a positive outcome 18.2 percent of the time.

    It suggests no such thing. First of all, this is his 11th start, so he’s only had 10 so far. The Indians record in games he started was 5-5. That’s a somewhat more meaningful stat, but still. In one of those games he gave up no runs in 6 innings. In another, 1 run in 5 1/3. I’d say he gets some credit for those games, even though he didn’t get the win.

    Kill the win!

  16. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    There goes the no hitter. Big time.

  17. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    DeJesus with a fine play in LF. That was a double if he doesnt get it and then scores on the single.

  18. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Faraz, thats why they play the game. Getting ugly in a Sudden Death game.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      Second time through the order and he’s now over-throwing which is taking movement off of his pitches.

      • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:48 PM

        The commentators on TBS just said what you said 30 minutes ago.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:10 PM

        I get lucky every once in a while.

  19. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Houdini act there by Cobb. Loney is a heck of a fielding 1st baseman. I think hes best in the Majors.

  20. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Indians are still in this game at 3-0 if they can hold ‘em and chip away.

  21. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    If the Rays win this, both leagues will have the playoffs set up with the WC winner facing the winner of its own division in the NLDS. That never used to happen, but I like it. A team that didn’t win the division has to get by its division winner in a 5 game series in order to advance. That makes a lot of sense, but it’s only happening here because the WC team comes from the division of the team with the best record in the league.

  22. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Really surprised Maddon didnt go to the lefty to face Kipnis

  23. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Cobb goes Houdini again. The Indians have had there opportunities. Horrible situational hitting. Where have we heard that before.

  24. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    “Faraz Shaikh – Oct 2, 2013 at 8:45 PM”

    We havent heard from you in almost 2 hours.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 3, 2013 at 5:41 AM

      I went to bed early after that HR by Young. hate it when bad hitters beat good pitchers.

  25. Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Maddon is rolling the dice here sticking with Cobb.

    • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:45 PM

      How many times can Cobb get away with multiple men on base and less than 2 outs?

  26. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Does Maddon realize that if you lose you go home?

  27. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Stupid. Bourn tries to hit the 500 foot HR and hits a long flyout to centerfield. Just horrible situational hitting.

  28. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    The Indians are choking so bad I feel sorry for him. Nobody is around to give them a Heimlich Maneuver.

  29. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Joel Peralta had the most appearances in the majors this year. I know he had a history of cheating, but he still seems like the one ex-Nats bullpen guy who got away.

    • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      Are you calling his history of cheating the pine tar in the glove or is there more.

      • Section 222 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:11 PM

        the pine tar thing, and apparently the Nats players knew he was doing it from his time here.

      • nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:18 PM

        Yah, I thought you had more on him. He was caught once for having a foreign substance in his glove. I wouldnt call that a history.

      • Section 222 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:43 PM

        Whatever. My main point was that he is a good pitcher and we let him go, I think because Rizzo thought he was too expensive. He’s one I’d like to have back. A few million to not have to rely on Ryan Mattheus would have been money well spent.

  30. nats128 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Nick Swisher is now hitting .165 in 158 career postseason AB

  31. natsfan1a - Oct 3, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    Oh, dear. I had a feeling when I went to bed after the 6th. Well, like I said, my 90-year-old aunt is a serious fan, but she doesn’t get too het up about it. That said, now I’ll need to send her the sympathy email. Le sigh.

  32. natsfan1a - Oct 3, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    My aunt is such a trip! She stayed up until the end and listened to the game via her computer (doesn’t have cable). She’s like, “eh, the better team won. I guess we’ll have to root for Pittsburgh now.” :-)

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