Carlos Carrasco faced Tampa Bay less than two weeks ago and was about as hittable as he's been all season.
The way the Rays are batting entering Wednesday night's game at Tropicana Field, it looks as though the Cleveland Indians right-hander might have a decent shot at getting back at them and becoming the third AL pitcher to reach 10 wins.
After Tuesday's 6-2 victory, Cleveland (35-41) has taken the first two of the four-game set and three straight over Tampa Bay (42-37).
The Rays have scored three runs while batting .132 in those games, and the first four in the order - Kevin Kiermaier, Grady Sizemore, Evan Longoria and David DeJesus - are a combined 2 for 29 to open this series. Tampa Bay has also dropped seven of nine while scoring 2.4 runs per game.
"We'll get out of this funk," manager Kevin Cash said. "The bats, they're going to come alive. We're in one of those ruts."
It's also been a simple matter of location for Tampa Bay, which is 21-25 at Tropicana compared to 21-12 on the road.
Jason Kipnis continued to be a menace to Rays pitching with a home run. The second baseman, who's batting an MLB-leading .397 since the start of May, is 10 for 19 in the season series.
Carrasco (9-6, 4.16 ERA) is coming off one of his better starts, limiting Detroit to two runs and five hits in eight innings of last Wednesday's 8-2 home win. The right-hander came away with the decision to improve to 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA in his last seven starts after beginning the season 4-4 with a 4.98 mark through eight.
At least in the latest start, he credited the success to using more of the plate.
"I think it was important to throw inside," Carrasco told MLB's official website. "That's what I did from the beginning of the inning to the last one. I think that's more important to start throwing inside so all of the pitches down and away, they can't get."
The previous one came June 19 against Tampa Bay and Carrasco was stuck with the decision in a 4-1 loss after giving up three runs and a season high-matching 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings. Joey Butler and former Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera both homered off Carrasco and are 2 for 3 against him.
In the time Carrasco has racked up five wins, Alex Colome has zero. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.30 ERA in his last seven starts. The team has lost all seven, though Colome (3-3, 4.50) has at times deserved better with three runs and five hits allowed in 13 innings over his last two starts.
That was certainly the case in a 1-0 loss in Cleveland on June 21 in which Colome gave up a hit in seven scoreless innings for his longest and best start of the year.
He's 1-0 without allowing a run in 13 1-3 innings of two career starts against the Indians while holding Carlos Santana (0 for 6), Mike Aviles (0 for 4), David Murphy (0 for 4) and Yan Gomes (0 for 3 with three strikeouts) hitless.
Control, however, is becoming more of an issue. Colome gave up three runs and four hits with five walks in six innings of Friday's 4-3 home loss to Boston. He didn't receive the decision, though he's walked at least two batters in each start on the winless stretch for a rate of 4.78 per nine innings after posting a 1.11 over his first five.