Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays fall to Indians, drop to 0-5 vs. Cleveland

ST. PETERSBURG — The Indians seem like a good group of guys. Hard-working manager, handful of stars, a bunch of nice little players.

There's just something that turns them from a last-place team against everyone else to a first-place team against the Rays.

Monday was the fifth time they played this season, and the Indians have won all five, this time 5-2.

It was the Indians who caused much of the Rays' problems before the All-Star break in sweeping a four-game series. And it was the Indians who halted the Rays' latest run, ending their five-game winning streak on Monday, though Tampa Bay retained a three-game lead in the American League East with Boston's loss.

"They're a big-league team, too," catcher Dioner Navarro said. "They can play, too. We just haven't been as good against them."

To find a reason why the Indians (44-62 against all others) have done so well, outscoring the Rays 36-10, it makes sense to start with the starters. The Indians used three lefties in Cleveland and started All-Star lefty Cliff Lee on Monday, with another slated for Wednesday, taking advantage of the Rays' weakness (18-16 vs. lefties). Plus, they make heavy use of lefty reliever Rafael Perez (6½ scoreless innings vs. the Rays).

"Their pitching matches up well with our offense, and we don't match up well with their pitching,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That's where they've gotten us. That's why you see the bad record."

The Rays (64-45) weren't in a very good position to start, with two of their key players out of the lineup — leftfielder Carl Crawford with a sore left hamstring (replaced by Eric Hinske) and shortstop Jason Bartlett with a bruised right index finger (replaced by Willy Aybar, who later had leg cramps). And three relievers were on Maddon's do-not-call list, Grant Balfour, J.P. Howell and Troy Percival.

Lee said he didn't have his "best stuff,'' but he was tough enough over seven innings, winning his major-league high-matching 15th game. And the Rays didn't help themselves, getting just one extra-base hit, going 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and leaving on nine, including the first two in the first, three in the second and two more in the seventh.

Rays starter Matt Garza was coming off a stellar start but wasn't as sharp, or as composed. Fastball command was the issue as he threw only seven of 22 first-pitch strikes.

He allowed runners in four of his five innings and was done in by two homers, a solo shot by No. 9 hitter Asdrubal Cabrera on a 2-and-2 pitch in the third and a two-out, two-run shot by Dave Dellucci in the fifth.

"Those are telltale signs kind of that he just wasn't right," Maddon said. "That shouldn't happen. When he's on he's not going to leave that changeup up there to Dellucci and he's not going to permit Cabrera to hit a two-strike homer against him, and pull it on top of that."

Garza pitched well against the Indians when he was with Minnesota but has struggled both times this season.

"I don't know if it was that I underestimated them because of their record or whatever," Garza said. "I know who I was going against. They still have a potent lineup."

Almost unstoppable it seems.

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Indians 5

Rays 2

Rays fall to Indians, drop to 0-5 vs. Cleveland 08/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 4:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why don't defensive players get more Heisman Trophy love?


    In a story we posted online earlier today (and coming to your doorstep in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times), I made my case for why Florida State safety Derwin James should be a preseason …

    Boston College defensive end Harold Landry didn't get any Heisman love last year, despite leading the country in sacks.
  2. On the defensive: Heisman history not in Derwin James' favor


    The lowdown on Derwin James? "No offense to (Michigan's Jabrill) Peppers (a Heisman finalist last year)," ESPN analyst Rex Ryan says, "but he only wished he was the player this kid was." (Monica Herndon, Times)
  3. Kevin Kiermaier: Return to action Thursday 'didn't set the world on fire'

    The Heater

    Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier's return from the hip injury that sidelined him since June 8 could have gone better Thursday in Port Charlotte. He broke two bats and went hitless in two at bats while playing for the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

    Kevin Kiermaier takes cuts in the cage during batting practice before the game between the Rays and Texas Rangers Saturday at Tropicana Field. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Live updates, what you need to know about Bucs training camp (w/photos, video)


    Bucs training camp is here.

    This morning was the first of 13 practices that are free and open to the general public, so we have all the details to answer your questions about where and when and so on.

    Dirk Koetter is nothing if not precise, with practices starting at 8:45 a.m. and running until 10:27. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Fennelly: It's high time for Bucs to take Tampa Bay back


    TAMPA — Welcome to the proving ground.

    Bucs training camp begins today.

    Hard Knocks and flop sweat.

    Work and more work.

    "We have a lot to prove,'' wide receiver Mike Evans (13) says. "We're good on paper, but we've got to do it." [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]