Indians-Rays Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 16, 2012
The Cleveland Indians' Zach McAllister was in line for a third straight win earlier this month before running into trouble in his final inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. The rookie right-hander will try for a better outing in his second consecutive start against the Rays on Monday night, while Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb seeks to build off a win in Cleveland just before the All-Star break. McAllister (3-1, 3.40 ERA) yielded one hit over his first five innings while helping Cleveland build a 5-0 lead over Tampa Bay on July 8. However, he was unable to make it through the sixth. McAllister gave up four unearned runs and three hits while recording two outs in the sixth, and did not get a decision in an eventual 7-6 loss. Desmond Jennings and Luke Scott each hit two-run doubles off him. "It's part of the game," McAllister told the team's website. "As a pitcher, you want to pick up your guys, get outs, and not let the runs score. I was not able to do that." He'll try again for that third straight win in the opener of a four-game series at Tropicana Field and will pitch opposite Cobb (4-5, 4.89), who had a solid outing against Cleveland following a difficult stretch. The Rays right-hander gave up three runs and six hits over six innings during a 10-3 victory July 6 after going 1-5 with a 5.77 ERA in his six previous starts. "It's nice to know my stuff will work against them," Cobb told the team's website. "They're going to make adjustments, and you've got to adjust back to that. Every outing, it depends on you. It depends on if your stuff is working, if you can execute your pitches. If you can do that most of the game, you should be fine." Cobb will try to help Tampa Bay recover after losing two of three at home to Boston in its return from the All-Star break. The Rays (46-43) have alternated wins and losses over their last six games and split four in Cleveland to end the first half. The Indians (45-43), meanwhile, are 2-4 in their last six after dropping their final two games in Toronto over the weekend. They were limited to five hits in a 3-0 loss in Sunday's series finale, their 11th defeat in 16 road games. Cleveland's chances of ending those woes don't appear promising as it's dropped 10 of 12 at Tropicana Field and lost two of three in the lone visit last season. Michael Brantley will try to help his team produce a better result while adding to a 12-game hit streak. The outfielder, batting .460 with 10 RBIs during that run, was 7 for 14 in the four-game set against the Rays. A 3 for 4 performance in the series finale was the first of his four consecutive multihit games. Brantley is 11 for 15 (.733) over that stretch but went 0 for 2 against Cobb on July 6. The series will mark the return of Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman to Tampa Bay. The two players contributed to the Rays' third playoff berth in four years in 2011.
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