Indians Lose Finale of Homestand 7-4 to Rays to Drop to 20-19; Three Takeaways from the Loss

Matt Loede

CLEVELAND - It was another ugly outing for Indians starter Josh Tomlin on Wednesday, as the Tribe starter went just 2.1 innings as the Tampa Bay Rays took two of three from the Indians in a 7-4 win.

All series long it looked like Tampa Bay was playing home run derby, slamming nine homers in the three games against Tribe pitching in dropping the Indians to 20-19.

The Indians now go on the road for five before coming home for their longest homestand thus far in 2017 - a nine game affair with the Reds, Royals and A's.

For now, here's three takeaways from the 7-4 loss along with a homestand that saw the Indians lose four of six games.

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1. Tomlin's Troubles

It looked like it could be a historically good day for Indians starter Josh Tomlin, as the first five outs of the game he recorded all came via strikeout.

Not bad for a guy who had averaged just 3.8 K's per game in his first seven starts. Then though, the wheels came totally off, and with it the hopes of an Indians win.

Tomlin got shelled for his second shortest outing of 2017, going just 2.1 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits with no walks and five K's.

His ERA, which he had gotten down to 5.87 after a couple early awful starts, jumped right back to 6.86 after the poor outing.

It looked like the Tomlin of last August, as he gave up a three-run blast to Corey Dickerson with two outs in the second, then in the third allowed a solo shot to Logan Morrison.

Tampa feasted on both Tomlin and Salazar this series, and Carlos Carrasco kept them in the game enough for a win on Monday night.

Tomlin will get a chance to get back on track against the Reds on Monday in Cincinnati.

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2. State of the Starters

Just how much trouble is this baseball team in when it comes to the starting pitching?

You have to wonder with their ace in Corey Kluber on the DL, Carlos Carrasco getting pushed back a few days after getting pulled early due to his pec, and the other three starters in Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer all being big question marks.

When you look at the numbers the three Indians starters put up in the three games against the Rays, the Tribe was lucky to win any of the three.

Overall the threesome of Carrasco, Salazar and Tomlin went 11 innings allowing 16 runs, 19 hits, 5 walks, 19 strikeouts and a crazy seven homers.

With the way this pitching staff is set up right now, they could use a day off, and hopefully they can find a way to get on track as they head to Houston to take on the red-hot Astros.

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3. Home Cooking Still Sour

It looked like the Indians might have turned the corner in their last homestand, winning 4 of 6 games against the very good Astros and Seattle Mariners, but this homestand the struggles at home reared their heads again.

In six games against the Twins the Rays, the Indians dropped four of six, and were outscored in those six games 27-24.

The two series' were very different, the Twins got a couple solid pitching performances, and the Rays used the long ball, hitting nine homers in three games.

With the pitching struggles from the starters, now would be a great time for some of the Tribe hitters to get hot, but until that happens, it will be up to the patchwork of a starting rotation and the pen to keep the team in games.

The club now sits at 20-19, their high water mark this season has been four games over .500. They take on the best team in the AL right now in Houston this weekend, then get two vs the Reds in Cincy before coming home for nine games.

With the way the team has been up and down right now, it would be nice to see either the starting pitching return to form, or for the bats to suddenly get and stay hot.