Time to Worry?
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon insists it's not time to worry as his club continues to struggle heading toward the All-Star break.
The reeling Rays look to avoid extending their season-high losing streak while again trying to find a way to beat the Cleveland Indians on the road Saturday night.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Tampa Bay -138 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 85% of bets for this game have been placed on Tampa Bay -138 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
For the second time in four days, Tampa Bay (55-37) was shut out, falling 5-0 at Cleveland for its fifth consecutive loss after winning seven in a row. The Rays lost 4-0 to the New York Yankees on Tuesday to open their six-game road trip.
"It's surely messing up our seven-game winning streak," said manager Joe Maddon of the Rays, who have seen their lead over Boston in the AL East go from five games to 1 1/2 over this week.
"I'm not concerned. We'll get through this. You're not going to be void of these moments in a season. They're going to happen."
In order to snap out of the slump, Tampa Bay needs to find some offensive production after scoring a total of three runs in its last four contests and being outscored 32-7 during their slide.
On Friday, Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist each had two hits for the Rays, who are hitting .192 with 47 strikeouts and not getting production from the top of their order during the losing streak. Leadoff man Akinori Iwamura and No.2 hitter Carl Crawford are a combined 5-for-50 (.100) during their skid.
"When you don't hit, the whole team looks bad," Maddon said. "When you don't score runs, you put a lot of pressure on your pitching staff."
Though the Rays were stymied by Indians' All-Star Cliff Lee on Friday and have lost 11 in a row at Cleveland dating to 2005, they could catch a break Saturday.
Cleveland's Matt Ginter is expected to make his first start since 2005 on Saturday as he takes the spot in the rotation vacated when CC Sabathia was traded to Milwaukee earlier this week.
Ginter, who went 6-6 with a 4.14 ERA in 18 appearances - 17 starts - at Triple-A Buffalo in 2008, is 1-4 with a 4.90 ERA in 15 career starts in the majors. His last appearance came with Detroit on Sept. 18, 2005.
The right-hander, who will make his first start versus Tampa Bay, hopes the Indians' offense doesn't cool off entirely Saturday after outscoring the Rays 18-2 in the first two games of the series.
Jhonny Peralta went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, while Ben Francisco added three hits for Cleveland (39-53), which lost 10 in a row before this series.
Peralta is batting .364 (8-for-22) with three homers and nine RBIs in his last five games, while Francisco is 6-for-9 with five RBIs and four runs scored through the first two games of the series.
The Indians face Matt Garza (7-4, 3.51 ERA), who looks to help the Rays end their slide when he takes the ball Saturday.
Though he's won his last two decisions, Garza allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-4, 10-inning loss to Kansas City on Monday.
"First couple of innings, I was searching for something I didn't have, I just grinded it out," said Garza, who is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts against Cleveland.
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