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Rays vs. Indians

MLB Betting Preview

7/5/12

After taking two of three games from the American League East-leading New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays will try to make up some more ground as they travel to Cleveland to take on the Indians at Progressive Field in the opener of a four-game series on Thursday.  Tampa Bay (43-39) trails the Yankees by 6.5 games in the AL East but has enjoyed success against the Indians recently, winning seven of the last 10 meetings, including two out of three at home between May 27-29.

The Rays entered their series against New York losing six of seven but hope winning a series against their division rivals will get them back on track.  They were actually in great position to sweep the Yankees until Robinson Cano hit a two-run single for the visitors during a three-run eighth en route to a 4-3 win on Wednesday, ending the team's nine-game road losing streak at Tampa.

Meanwhile, the Indians (42-39) are also in the hunt in the AL Central, trailing the Chicago White Sox by only two games for first place.  They also just took two out of three at home from the LA Angels, producing 21 runs in winning the final two games of the series. Wednesday's game was not even close, with Cleveland scoring nine runs in just the first two innings alone on its way to a 12-3 rout.  The team has now won four of five and five of seven following a season-high five-game losing streak.

The Tribe will give the ball to Josh Tomlin (4-5, 5.85 ERA) as he takes the mound for his 13th start of the season, going 7-5 in his previous 12.  Tomlin has really struggled in his last three starts, going 1-1 with a 6.89 ERA and allowing 11 earned runs in his last two outings combined.  Even though he has pitched poorly during that stretch, the Indians have won two of the three with the UNDER cashing twice as well. 

In six home starts on the season, Tomlin is 1-3 with a 5.19 ERA and the UNDER going 4-2.  He is 2-3 with a 4.78 ERA under the lights, but his team has gone 6-3 with the UNDER also cashing six times.  In two career starts against the Rays, he has struggled a bit in going 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA.

Tampa Bay will counter with reigning AL Rookie of Year Jeremy Hellickson (4-4, 3.44).  The Rays are 7-7 in his previous 14 starts with the UNDER going 9-3-2.  In Hellickson's last start Saturday against the Detroit Tigers, he was forced to leave after pitching just 2.2 innings when Prince Fielder hit him in the shin on a line drive.  He also struggled in his previous two starts before suffering the injury.  He failed to pitch five innings on both occasions and allowed nine earned runs total with eight walks, contributing to a disappointing 0-2 mark and 8.44 ERA in his past three outings.

This will be Hellickson's sixth road start of the season, and he has gone 1-0 with a 4.30 ERA in his first five.  He has been a better pitcher at night than during the day, going 3-2 with a 2.55 ERA in nine starts.  The UNDER is 6-1-2 in those games. In his only previous start against Cleveland, he earned the win by throwing seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and striking out six. 

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