Series Preview: Welcome Back Damon and Kotchman

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 20: Casey Kotchman #35 celebrates with Johnny Damon #33 of the Cleveland Indians after Damon hit a two run home run during the fourth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during interleague play at Progressive Field on June 20, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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News you can use below the fold

  • The Rays were in first place on June 11th of this season and have gone 11-18 since that time.
  • The Indians are throwing four right-handed pitchers in this series; the Rays are 35-25 in games when the opponent starts a righty.
  • You have to like the Rays chances if (I know, that's a BIG if) they score five or more runs as they are 28-4 at home this season when they manage to score five runs.
  • The Rays are worst in baseball in making contact over the past 30 days as they have struck out in 25.2 percent of their 932 plate appearances Oakland is the next team in the rankings at 23.1 percent.
  • The Rays have this 6th-highest walk rate at 8.9 percent over the past month while the Indians have the 3rd-best at 9.5 percent.
  • The Rays are 13-6 against Cleveland since the start of the 2010 season after going 8-24 from 2006 to 2009. The home team has won the match-up between these two teams in 24 of the past 34 games dating back to the start of the 2008 season.
  • The Indians have a 84 wRC+ and a .295 wOBA when facing left-handed pitching this season. This split did not matter when they faced Matt Moore before the break but the have yet to face David Price this season. Those team efforts are the third-worst in the American League. Yes, even the Rays have handled lefties better with a 90 wRC+ and a .298 wOBA.
  • The Indians have permitted 11 stolen bases in 14 attempts in 11 starts in July including five this past weekend against Toronto. Meanwhile, the Rays attempted just one stolen base against Boston and Elliot Johnson was thrown out in that attempt.
  • In the series before the break, Indians pitchers piled up 40 strikeouts in the four-game series, 27 of which came over the final two games when Jimenez and tonight's starter, McAllister, were pitching.
  • There is a possibility that both Matt Joyce and Sam Fuld will return during this series if not this homestand.
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