Just Isaac Paredes doing Isaac Paredes things. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After sweeping the Marlins in Miami, and winning eight of the last 10 games, the Tampa Bay Rays make their way to Cleveland, where they start a three-game series against the Guardians on Friday. The Guardians most recently took two of three from the Twins.

At 82-52 on the season, the Rays enter play a season-high 30 games over .500 with 28 games left to play. The Guardians enter play at 64-70, barely holding onto their slim, 7.6% chance of a postseason berth.

It was a tale of two games in Miami. In the first game of the series, the Rays pounded out 11 runs and defeated the Marlins 11-2. Then, in the second contest, Tampa Bay blanked Miami and scratched out three runs in the tenth inning. All told, the Rays averaged seven runs per game against the Marlins and didn’t allow any two-out runs. Over the last seven days, they continued to put up above-average numbers, slashing .275 BA/.345 OBP/.475 SLG/.820 OPS with a .200 ISO and a 130 wRC+.

Meanwhile, the Guardians have won consecutive series, although they are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Surprisingly, for a team that doesn’t hit many homers, they’ve put up a .431 SLG and a .198 ISO over the last seven days. On top of that, for a team that doesn’t strike out that much, Cleveland has struck out at a higher rate than the Rays over that stretch. Go figure.

The Rays enter play with an overall 3.83 ERA and 3.86 FIP (3.73 ERA and 3.57 FIP for the starters, 3.94 ERA, and 4.20 FIP for the relievers). Over the last seven days, Tampa Bay has put up an improved 2.45 ERA and 3.50 FIP (2.30 ERA and 3.90 FIP for the starters, and a 2.66 ERA and a 2.97 FIP for the relievers).

Meanwhile, Cleveland’s pitching staff has performed to an overall 3.85 ERA and 4.18 FIP (4.10 ERA and 4.19 FIP for the starters, 3.48 ERA, and 4.02 FIP for the relievers). The pitching staff has regressed over the last seven days, pitching to a combined 5.20 ERA and a 5.99 FIP (7.94 ERA and a 6.65 FIP for the starters, 3.03 ERA and a 4.75 FIP for the relievers).

The Rays are 2-1 against the Guardians this season with a +5 run differential.

Pitching Probables

Over the next three days, Kevin Cash will turn to Tyler Glasnow (7-4, 3.12 ERA, 3.10 FIP), Zack Littell (3-4, 4.20 ERA, 4.16 FIP), and Aaron Civale (7-3, 2.64 ERA, 3.32 FIP). Terry Francona will counter with Cal Quantrill (2-6, 6.45 ERA, 4.89 FIP), Logan Allen (6-7, 3.80 ERA, 4.11 FIP), and Xzavion Curry (3-3, 4.10 ERA, 4.27 FIP).

Tyler Glasnow allowed one hit and two walks over six scoreless innings against the Yankees. He struck out four. The only hit Glasnow allowed was a sixth-inning single, as the right-hander needed just 85 pitches to secure a quality start and win. He now owns a 5-1 record in seven starts since the All-Star break, posting a 2.20 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 4.55 K/BB across 45 innings during that stretch.

Cal Quantrill (shoulder) looked sharp in his fourth and final rehab start Saturday when he struck out six and allowed two runs on five hits and no walks over 7.1 innings. He tossed 89 pitches in the outing. Overall, Quantrill maintains a 6.45 ERA and a 4.89 FIP, with a 1.57 WHIP, and a 1.72 K/BB on the season. He relies primarily on a 94 mph sinker and an 88 mph cutter that has some natural sink and strong cutting action, while also mixing in a 94 mph fourseam fastball that has slight arm-side run, an 83 mph 12-6 curveball, an 86 mph changeup that has some natural sink to it, and an 87 mph worm-killer splitter.

Zack Littell allowed four runs on four hits and a walk while striking out four across six innings against the Yankees. Littell was punished by the long ball in Sunday’s outing, surrendering back-to-back homers in the third inning and then a two-run shot to Anthony Volpe in the fourth to allow the Yankees to go up 4-2. Yet, Tampa Bay scored four timely runs in the sixth inning to take the lead back and put Littell in line for the win. He’s surrendered a home run in each of his last four starts but has been surprisingly effective as a starter considering he’s spent his career as a reliever up until his current stint with the Rays. In six starts, Littell now maintains a 3.97 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and an 8.33 K/BB in 34 innings.

Logan Allen coughed up five runs on six hits and a walk over four innings against the Blue Jays. He struck out two. The rookie southpaw got staked to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks to a Jose Ramirez solo homer, but immediately squandered it. It’s the first time Allen hasn’t lasted at least five innings since late June, and despite Saturday’s stumble, he sports a 3.80 ERA and a 4.11 FIP, with a 1.22 WHIP, and a 2.29 K/BB through 45 innings since the All-Star Break. Allen relies primarily on a 92 mph fourseam fastball, a 79 mph slider that sweeps across the zone and has two-plane movement, and an 83 mph worm-killer changeup, while also mixing in an 86 mph cutter that has heavy sink and has sweeping cut action.

Aaron Civale allowed two runs on seven hits over five innings against Miami. He struck out five without issuing a walk. Civale found himself in a bases-loaded jam in the first inning but managed to escape the frame, limiting the damage to just a run. He also gave up a solo homer to Jazz Chisholm in the third inning and would eventually exit the game down 2-1 after five. In his nine second-half starts, the right-hander now owns a 2.72 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and a 4.88 K/BB across 49.2 frames.

Xzavion Curry allowed six runs on six hits and a walk over two innings Monday, striking out two. Curry surrendered all six runs during a brutal second inning highlighted by Royce Lewis’ grand slam. Over his last four turns, Curry has been tagged with 15 runs in 15 innings, driving his season ERA to 4.10 (with a 4.27 FIP) through 79 frames. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (1-3, 2B), Yandy Díaz (2-3, 2B, 2 RBI), Josh Lowe (1-2), Isaac Paredes (1-3, HR, 2 RBI).