Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Kluber, Moore set to square off in series opener

The Indians will be happy to see a roof when they arrive to Tropicana Field on Tuesday for the opener of a three-game series against the Rays.
Over the first week of the season, the Indians dealt with three postponements due to a mix of snow, rain and near-freezing conditions both in Cleveland and Chicago. Needless to say, ace Corey Kluber will enjoy taking the mound in short sleeves rather than working in the 34-degree temperature he faced in his Opening Day start on April 5 at Progressive Field.
In that outing, which came in the coldest season-opener on record in Indians history, Kluber allowed four runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Red Sox. He struck out five and walked two, picking up a loss.
Kluber will be opposed by Rays lefty Matt Moore, who picked up a no-decision against the Blue Jays in his season debut on April 6. Against Toronto, Moore struck out six, walked two and was charged with three runs on five hits in five innings for Tampa Bay.
Rays manager Kevin Cash -- Cleveland's bullpen coach under manager Terry Francona in 2013-14 -- is looking forward to having the Tribe in town.
"It's always special when you're playing a team that you have a lot of respect for," Cash said. "[I have] a lot of admiration, not just for Tito [Francona], but a lot of people over in that organization. Now they came in last year and beat us up pretty good, so we want to do kind of everything we can to repay the favor."
Things to know about this game
• Indians righty Carlos Carrrasco is scheduled to take the ball for the second game of this series. The last time Tampa Bay saw Carrasco, he nearly threw a no-hitter. The big right-hander was one strike away from a no-no on July 1 last season before Joey Butler delivered a two-out, two-strike single. As it happens, Butler is now in Cleveland's organization, playing for Triple-A Columbus.
• Rays third baseman Evan Longoria has done well against Kluber, hitting .357 (5-for-14) with one home run and three RBIs. Logan Morrison (.400 average in 10 at-bats) and Kevin Kiermaier (.375 in 10 at-bats) have also had success in a small sample against the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner.
• With Moore and lefty Drew Smyly scheduled to start the first two games for Tampa Bay, expect Indians rookie center fielder Tyler Naquin to start off on the bench. Naquin has only had one start this season as Cleveland has faced three lefties in its first four games. He is still an option as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement for the Tribe.

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