Small Stories, Big Picture
Payback time – The Indians failed to capitalize on home field advantage in their previous meeting with Tampa Bay, dropping three of four at Progressive Field and being outscored 20-10 the last time these teams got together.
That series took place in late May, before the summer surge the Indians put together to climb back into contention. The Rays aren’t the same team they were back then, either, but in the opposite way.
Tampa Bay wrapped that four-game set up with a 31-19 record and looked every bit like they might give the Yankees a season-long run for their money in the AL East. Since the calendar turned to June, however, the Rays are just 42-38 with a negative run differential.
The Indians owe the Rays a taste of their own medicine as both teams look to hit the home stretch on a high note.
The return of an old friend – Carlos Carrasco is scheduled to be activated for Sunday’s game. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him as the first reliever out of the bullpen when Plutko’s day is done. Whatever results he’s able to provide if he plays are a distant secondary concern to the Indians. All that matters is that he’s healthy and reunited with his teammates.
The approaching storm – As was alluded to above, a hurricane is set to hit the east coast this weekend. Naturally, the state of Florida often takes the brunt of these tropical storms. As a result, we could be looking at some scheduling changes in a worst-case scenario.
Nothing has been determined one way or the other yet, but for those of you planning your weekend around catching Indians baseball, just be prepared for the possibility of a Saturday doubleheader or an earlier-than-usual Sunday start (or something along those lines).
First pitch is at 7:10 eastern time Friday, as Shane Bieber aims for his eighth straight quality start and a tone-setting victory.