Found July 05, 2012 on
Fox Sports Ohio:
Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Angels
The Cleveland Indians' sizzling offense has been a major reason for the team's solid stretch over the last week.
The Tampa Bay Rays' struggling lineup may want to take notes.
Cleveland seeks its fifth victory in its last six games when it hosts Tampa Bay in the opener of a four-game series Thursday night.
The Indians (42-39) have outscored opponents 38-18 over their last five contests after beating the Los Angeles Angels 12-3 on Wednesday, as each starter recorded at least one hit.
Michael Brantley and Casey Kotchman each hit a three-run homer for Cleveland, which has averaged 7.6 runs while hitting .342 in its last seven games. Shin-Soo Choo is 12 for 27 (.444) over his last six.
Travis Hafner went 1 for 3 with two walks Wednesday in his first game since having right knee surgery May 31, and manager Manny Acta welcomed his presence in the lineup.
"We had a lot of quality at-bats and you could see Hafner's effect right away," Acta said.
Johnny Damon had a season-high three hits. The veteran batted .261 in 150 games for Tampa Bay in 2011, and his former team isn't playing nearly as well as his current squad lately.
The Rays (43-39) are averaging 3.1 runs and hitting .217 while dropping seven of their last 10, including a 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday.
Luke Scott went 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 36 at-bats - one short of the team record set by Jose Cruz Jr. in 2004.
Tampa Bay, though, has won 10 of the last 12 home meetings with Cleveland, and it will look to get its offense going against Indians starter Josh Tomlin, who hasn't pitched well recently.
Tomlin (4-5, 5.85 ERA) got a lift Saturday from his offense, which helped him score an 11-5 win over Baltimore after he allowed five runs and seven hits while issuing a season-high three walks in six innings.
The right-hander is 1-2 with an 8.24 ERA over his last four starts, allowing at least five runs in three of those outings. He went 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts versus the Rays in 2011 in his only career outings against them.
Jeremy Hellickson will oppose Tomlin hoping to stay healthy while getting back in the win column.
Hellickson (4-4, 3.44) is 0-4 with a 4.45 ERA in his last six starts since beating Boston on May 16. He left Saturday's 6-2 loss to Detroit in the third inning, when he took a line drive off his right shin.
Hellickson, who was making his first start since a stint on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, said he's ready for Thursday's outing despite some lingering pain.
"I wasn't too concerned," Hellickson told the Rays' official website. "I knew I was going to be sore, but it was just a bruise."
The right-hander allowed three hits in seven innings of a 7-0 win over the Indians on May 29, 2011, in his only career start against them, but he's well aware of Cleveland's recent hot hitting.
"It's a heavy left-handed lineup," Hellickson said. "They've got a lot of guys that put the ball in play and a few guys in there that hit for power. All in all, it's a very solid lineup."
BEST OF MAXIM
Each and every Wednesday, I try to bring you all of the news and notes from the Cleveland Indians minor league system. Enjoy.
Happy Fourth of July everyone! For this edition of the Wahoos, I’m going to spare you my usual introduction. Instead, I’ll later be passing the baton to some of the other great baseball writers out there with a new link roundup section. I’ve also got...
The Cleveland Indians are commemorating the 65th anniversary of Larry Doby breaking the AL's color barrier by re-naming a street in honor of the Hall of Famer.
The team will unveil street signs on Larry Doby Way - formerly known as Eagle Ave. - which runs adjacent to Progressive Field, following Friday's game against Tampa Bay. Members of Doby's family will be on hand...
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Former Indians star pitcher Jim "Mudcat" Grant says renaming a street for Larry Doby is an honor due the late Hall of Famer.
Grant participated in ceremonies Friday as the Cleveland Indians commemorated the 65th anniversary of Doby breaking the AL's color barrier.
Before the Indians' game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Grant along with Doby'...
Remember when the Indians played the Astros and the Yankees less then two weeks ago and looked like they would have to win every game 2-1 because the offense couldn’t string anything together? I know I do. So what do you make of them after yesterday’s 12-3 shellacking of the Los Angeles Angels?
Since that five-game losing skid, their worst of the season, the Indians have won...
The Cleveland Indians aren't making up any ground in the AL Central race, but they've been playing better of late.
The Tampa Bay Rays can't make that claim.
Cleveland will try to match a season high with a fourth consecutive win Friday night when it continues its four-game series against the visiting Rays.
Since totaling 11 runs during a season-worst five-game skid, the...
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Tampa Bay's designated hitter connected off Cleveland's Justin Masterson with one out and a runner on first in the fifth inning Friday night. Scott had to wait and see if center fielder Michael Brantley had the ball in his glove after trying to make a leaping catch at the wall.
It was Scott's first hit since June 1 and came after he struck out twice...
Solo homers and solid pitching were the order of the day for the Tribe. Choo, Brantley and Hafner all recorded solo bombs and Josh Tomlin pitched well. Chris Perez earned his 24th save.
Bot 1st: Cleveland
- S. Choo homered to deep right
Bot 2nd: Cleveland
- M. Brantley homered to deep right
Top 5th: Tampa Bay
- J. Molina grounded out to shortstop...
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Rookie Zach McAllister lasted six innings, overcoming a throwing error and two home runs in the fifth, and Shelley Duncan homered to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 9-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
McAllister (3-1) allowed three earned runs and eight hits, and he and the Indians recovered after blowing a four-run lead.
Duncan homered in the...
Derek Lowe won for the first time in more than a month and the Cleveland Indians beat the Los Angeles Angels 12-3 Wednesday.
Lowe (8-6) gave up three runs and 11 hits in six innings for his first win in six starts since June 1. The 39-year-old right-hander was 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in five outings between victories.
Michael Brantley hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Ervin...
Player of the Game
Shelley Duncan got lucky and played a short night, but still had enough time to win the Player of the Game. Duncan had 2 RBI from a sacrifice fly and a solo home run. The 4.47 score was good for his 4th award of the year, but just his first since May 25th.
Zach McAllister was wonderful against tonight as he has been every time out so far. This time...
A very impressive series win over the usually tough Angels has kept the Indians virtually where they were before at two games behind the Chicago White Sox. This isn't a bad place to be as the Tribe just got Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana back and are looking to make a move to bring in another offensive player within the coming weeks. The starting pitching has also gotten back...
Player of the Game
Casey Kotchman won today's Player of the Game in style as he hit a three run home run and added another single as well. His final score of 6.73 was just enough to beat out Michael Brantley who also hit a three run home run. The Indians total team score of 32.96 was the highest of any game this season.
Burning River Baseball spent the game with...
Baseball is such an amazing game. As I wrote yesterday, the beauty of the game is that there is no need to dwell on a loss because another game will be there before you know it. Last night at Progressive Field, 24 hours after looking like a they were attempting to hit a golf ball from Jeff Weaver, the Indians offense veered back into the Baltimore series mode and knocked around Angels...