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American League Wild Card Game: Rays @ Indians

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The playoff field is about to be cut to eight as the AL Wild Card game will eliminate either the Rays or Indians tonight.

Jared Wickerham

If you're looking for the team that has the best chance to beat Boston, you probably want Tampa to win tonight. In addition to Tampa's deeper pitching staff and experience in postseason games, the Indians are 56-18 against teams with a losing record (including going 36-9 against the lowly Twins, Astros and White Sox) but just 36-52 against teams with a winning record. Cleveland deserves credit for taking care of the bad teams (and that's probably a large reflection on Terry Francona), but it's also a smoking gun that they may not be ready to compete with the a 97 win Red Sox team.

Tonight's pitching matchup would seem to favor the Rays on paper with Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76) getting the ball for Florida's Gulf Cost team, but don't sleep on Cleveland's path to victory. Danny Salazar produced a 2.52 ERA in five September starts for the Indians and he could take advantage of the Rays lineup tonight if he can keep Evan Longoria, Wil Myers, and Ben Zobrist quiet. The Indians are also very likely to use Justin Masterson out of the bullpen at some point in this game as well.

Lineups

Rays

1. David DeJesus (L) LF

2. Wil Myers (R) RF

3. James Loney (L) 1B

4. Evan Longoria (R) 3B

5. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B

6. Desmond Jennings (R) CF

7. Delmon Young (R) DH

8. Yunel Escobar (R) SS

9. Jose Molina (R) C

Indians

1. Michael Bourn (L) CF

2. Nick Swisher (S) 1B

3. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B

4. Carlos Santana (S) DH

5. Michael Brantley (L) LF

6. Ryan Raburn (R) RF

7. Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS

8. Yan Gomes (R) C

9. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) 3B