new formula for success for the third straight game.MVP candidate Jose Ramirez provided a Cleveland highlight in Sunday’s lo

#1 von elaine95 , 12.12.2018 03:03

TORONTO – There is little suspense left in the American League Central race for the Cleveland Indians. It is just a matter of when they make it official.They can move another step closer to a division title Friday night when they play the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of a four-game series at the Rogers Centre.The Indians will start right-hander Carlos Carrasco (16-8 Reggie Jackson Jersey , 3.52 ERA) while the Blue Jays will send out right-hander Marco Estrada (7-11, 5.43).Article continues below ...The Indians (80-60) reduced their magic number to clinch to seven in the AL Central with a 9-4 win over the Blue Jays (63-77) on Thursday. Any combination of Indians wins or losses by the second-place Minnesota Twins that totals seven or more will clinch a third consecutive division title for Cleveland.“They’ve had some injury issues, but they’ve got a hell of a team, a real good lineup,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “Now they’ve added to that, of course. And they even brought back old Melky (Cabrera), who’s playing pretty well. And they’ve always had good pitching over there. They’ve had to battle to get a couple of their guys healthy, but you’ve got (Corey) Kluber and some other guys. And then their bullpen, they picked up (Andrew) Miller. They’ve added a few pieces over there. They got as good a shot as anybody.”The Indians defeated the Blue Jays in five games in the 2016 American League Championship Series.Both teams made some history on Thursday.Blue Jays first baseman Rowdy Tellez, who had doubled in his first major-league plate appearance Wednesday when used as a pinch hitter , made his first start in the majors at first base Thursday. He continued his double spree with three of them in the game and had an RBI.Tellez became the first player in the live-ball era (starting in 1920) to have an extra-base hit in each of his first three major-league plate appearances. He also became the first player with extra-base hits in four of his first five plate appearances.Not to be outdone, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor led off the game with his first of two home runs in the game. It was his seventh career leadoff home run of the season, tying Grady Sizemore for the club record. He has eight multi-homer games in his career and six this season. His six multi-homer games out of the leadoff spot this season are the most by any player in major league history.The Indians had 13 hits Thursday while playing without Michael Brantley, who sat out with a bruised left foot. It was the result of fouling a ball off the top of the foot during the third inning of the 3-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.“He finished off the game OK, but he got on the flight and it got stiff, so we’ll give him (Thursday off) to kind of let the trainers do their stuff, but he’ll be fine.”Friday will be the second time Carrasco has faced the Blue Jays this season. He did not factor in the decision May 3 at Progressive Field in the first game of the doubleheader, a 13-11 Blue Jays win. He allowed six runs, nine hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.His previous start at the Rogers Centre was May 9, 2017 C.C. Sabathia Jersey , when he pitched seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out seven in Cleveland’s 4-2 win.Carrasco is 3-1 with a 5.60 ERA in seven career outings (six starts) against the Blue Jays. In three games (two starts) at the Rogers Centre, he is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA. Estrada has struggled recently, partly because of back issues. He is 0-2 with a 15.63 ERA in his past two starts.This will be Estrada’s first start of the season against the Indians. In three career starts against them, he is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA. Corey Kluber can take another step toward a third Cy Young Award when he opens the Cleveland Indians‘ three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night at Tropicana Field.But the ace right-hander can do something else even more important — pitch his team even closer to clinching the American League Central.It won’t be easy against the red-hot Rays.Article continues below ...Tampa Bay, still a long-shot wild-card hopeful, completed a sweep of a three-game series with an 8-3 victory against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. The Rays have won seven of their last eight and 16 of their last 19 games, are 14 games above .500 for the first time this season and have won a franchise record-tying 11 straight in their building.They are 32-8 at the Trop since June 11.The Rays, who outscored the woeful Orioles 32-10 in three games, are 24-11 since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.“Good way to wrap up the series ,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said after Sunday’s game. “We had an opportunity to (get a three-game sweep) in Toronto and fell a little bit short. Today, the guys came out and put some pressure on their young pitcher (Josh Rogers), which is good to see. Brandon Lowe with the big (three-run) home run. Kind of the separator right there.”Despite losing in Toronto and the Twins winning at home Sunday, the Indians, running away with their division, are in position to clinch in St. Petersburg. Their magic number is five, so it’s clearly just a matter of time.The Rays went to Cleveland from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 and won twice, losing only to Kluber, who allowed no runs and two hits in seven innings.Kluber (18-7, 2.75 ERA) Andy Pettitte Jersey , who is 2-0 with an 0.66 ERA in his last two starts, goes for his MLB-leading 19th victory. He is 7-1 in his last nine starts as he tries to hold off other Cy contenders, including Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell.Kluber is 5-2 with a 2.17 ERA in nine career games against the Rays and 2-1 with a 3.38 in four starts at Tropicana Field.Reliever Diego Castillo will be the “opener” for the Rays on Monday night for the second time in three days as Tampa Bay goes to its new formula for success for the third straight game.MVP candidate Jose Ramirez provided a Cleveland highlight in Sunday’s loss, joining Joe Carter and Grady Sizemore as the only Indians players with 30 home runs and 30 steals in a season.“I feel really happy about that,” Ramirez said through a translator. “I kind of feel the same way about both (homers and steals).”Teammate Francisco Lindor, who hit his 34th homer of the season, said, “Not a lot of people do it in history. It’s a special number. He’s having a great season, and I’m very happy for him.”The current Rays roster is a combined 11-for-57 (.193) against Kluber. Carlos Gomez, who homered Sunday , is 1-for-8 (.125), but the hit was a home run. Ji-Man Choi is 1-for-7 (.143).The Indians are expected to activate Andrew Miller from the 10-day disabled list before Monday night’s game. He has been out — for the second time this season — with a left shoulder injury since Aug. 29.Tommy Pham, bothered by a hamstring, started at DH for the Rays on Sunday and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games.

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