The Cleveland Guardians (86-67, 40-32 home) begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays (84-69, 33-39 away), with both teams squarely in the mix for a postseason berth. Cleveland has already clinched the division, while the Rays hold the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
The first pitch of Tuesday’s contest is at 6:10 p.m. EST at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland is the betting favorite at -155, and the over/under total is seven runs.
What to Know – Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay is holding on to one of three Wild Card spots as we near the end of the regular season. The Rays sit in third place in the American League East, well behind the leading New York Yankees.
The probable starter for the Rays is former Guardian Corey Kluber (10-9, 4.30 ERA, 1.30 WHIP). Kluber spent his first nine seasons in the majors as a member of the Cleveland organization. The 36-year-old righty will try to mimic his last outing, where he surrendered one earned run over seven innings in a no-decision against the Houston Astros.
Outfielder Randy Arozarena leads Tampa’s offensive charge with 20 home runs and 88 runs driven in and 69 runs scored. Third baseman Isaac Paredes is tied with Arozarena for a team-high 20 home runs. Yandy Diaz paces the Rays with a .292 batting average and .399 on-base percentage.
Tampa Bay is 15th in the majors batting .242 as a team and scoring 4.2 runs per game. The Rays pitching staff ranks fourth in the MLB with an impressive 3.40 team earned run average.
What to Know – Cleveland Guardians
Cleveland has already locked up the division and will return to the postseason for the second time in four seasons. The Guardians have seven in a row and own a ten-game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
Looking to keep the winning streak alive is expected starter Shane Bieber (12-8, 2.81 ERA, 1.03 WHIP). The right-hander has dominated his last four outings, allowing five earned runs over 30 innings and picking up victories in all four. Bieber hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in an outing since mid-August.
Cleveland’s offense has stepped up as a whole this season, but third baseman Jose Ramirez continues to play as an All-Star at the dish. Ramirez leads the team in home runs (28) and RBIs (117) by a wide margin and has a .351 OBP. First baseman Josh Naylor adds 19 home runs and 73 RBIs, continuing his best season at the plate.
The Guardians score 4.3 runs per contest behind a .252 team batting average that sits 10th in the league. Cleveland’s pitching staff sports a 3.52 team ERA, sixth-best in the MLB.
The Pick is In
The Rays could really use a victory after dropping two in a row and holding a narrow lead in the Wild Card race. Bieber has been lights out on the mound, and he’s going to create problems for this Tampa offense.
The Pick: Cleveland Guardians ML