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Series Preview: 5/14-5/17 Cleveland Indians @ Tampa Bay Rays

5/14: Fausto Carmona vs. James Shields (7:08 FSF)

5/15: Anthony Reyes vs. Scott Kazmir (7:38 SS)

5/16: Carl Pavano vs. Matt Garza (4:10 FOX)

5/17:? (David Huff/Zach Jackson) vs. Andy Sonnanstine (1:38 FSF)

Well, back-to-back series of four games is better than a pair of two-game series, even if they do come against teams better than their current records.

Since his illustrious 2007 season, Carmona hasn't been quite the same. As Carmona control has went wayward, so to have his strikeout rates. In 2007, Carmona used his sinking fastball and slider in combination with a split-fingered pitch. Nowadays, Carmona barely throws the slider and the splitter has been replaced by a change-up. Carmona is only locating about 45% of his pitches inside of the strike zone, but he has done a fairly decent job of getting first-pitch strikes, meaning the Rays batters are going to fall behind 0-1, but should be able to work the count into their favor with some discipline.

Reyes is an odd story. For no apparent reason other than being in Dave Duncan's doghouse, Reyes has spent the past three seasons toiling in the minor leagues, posting impressive numbers at each stop and finally being liberated by the Indians last July. Also odd, his fastball velocity:

2005 91.4 MPH

2006 89.7 MPH

2007 89.6 MPH

2008 90.9 MPH

2009 87.8 MPH

Perhaps this is a radar gun or small sample size, but either way, you usually don't see velocities record so much noise on a year-to-year basis.

Everyone knows Pavano's background. Pavano just might be the best pitcher we face this series. He's looking a lot like the pre-Yankees days right now, which makes him a prudent signing for GM Mark Shapiro if he keeps this up throughout most of the season.

The Indians signed Luis Vizcaino and demoted the scheduled starter Jeremy Sowers. Instead, it seems like the Indians will give Huff or Jackson the call.

C  Victor Martinez/Kelly Shoppach

1B Martinez/Ryan Garko

2B Asdrubal Cabrera

3B Mark DeRosa

SS Jhonny Peralta

LF Ben Francisco/Matt LaPorta

CF Grady Sizemore

RF Shin-Soo Choo

DH David Dellucci

With Travis Hafner out there's a ton of moving parts in this lineup, so you may or may not see something to this effect.

Playoff Odds

Pre-Baltimore: 37%

Post-Baltimore: 37%