6/30/2013 5:35 A.M. ET
Tribe enjoying great success at home
By Mark Emery / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- After sweeping a two-game series with Cincinnati, the Indians couldn't keep their current homestand perfect against Tampa Bay, dropping a 9-2 decision after nearly five hours of rain delays.
Still, the Tribe has won 15 of its past 20 home games, including four-game sweeps of Oakland and Seattle, outscoring opponents 107-73 in that stretch. Cleveland has also hit 40 home runs in its own yard, more than any other team in baseball.
"You're supposed to be better at home," manager Terry Francona said. "I know I like it more. You get used to your routines and everything."
Aside from the power, which is obviously a plus for Francona's club, the skipper said the luxury of batting last plays a large role in the Tribe's success at Progressive Field.
"You can use your bullpen different," he said. "That's a big advantage. When you have a good bullpen, it's a big advantage."
Entering Friday, Cleveland's relievers have a 4.11 ERA and are 9-for-18 in save opportunities. Of the 77 runners they've inherited, 26 have scored.
Indians love having Aviles, Gomes around
CLEVELAND -- To say the Indians are happy with the November trade that brought Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes to Cleveland wouldn't do their feelings justice. They're thrilled.
Although neither Aviles nor Gomes is a lineup regular, both have played key roles in the Tribe's early success. Both players were in the lineup on Friday against Tampa Bay -- a 9-2 loss that finished well into Saturday morning due to nearly five hours of rain delays -- with Aviles at second base and hitting second and Gomes catching and batting seventh.
Indians manager Terry Francona gushed about Aviles before the game, just as he recently has about Gomes.
"I think you have to have guys like that, that want to play every day, are good enough to play every day, but accept their role," Francona said. "[Aviles] can play second, short, third, left and right, he can hit a fastball, he could hit anywhere in the order, he can steal a base -- very valuable.
"And when he's not playing, he makes your team better by being a good teammate. So, those are very important people to have. And that's probably exactly what I thought we were getting. That's why I was so excited when he was part of that trade."
To acquire Aviles and Gomes, the Tribe had to part with right-hander Esmil Rogers, who's 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA in 23 games for Toronto this season.
In 36 games with Cleveland, Aviles is batting .263 (25-for-95) with three homers and 15 RBIs, and is 3-for-4 in stolen-base attempts. He's appeared at each of the positions Francona mentioned, with most of his starts coming at shortstop.
As for Gomes, he's batting .310 (22-for-71) with five homers and 14 RBIs over 22 games. He's also thrown out eight of 13 base stealers.
On Thursday, Gomes went 3-for-4 while driving in a run and scoring another, starting at catcher while Carlos Santana filled the designated hitter's role.
"It's impressive," Francona said. "Any time we can keep Carlos' bat in the lineup and not have him catch, it's just like saving gas in the tank. [Gomes has] given us offense, he's given us defense, and it allows us to have both guys in the lineup. It's great. That's why we can do what we're doing now, having a three-man bench, because we're versatile and guys produce."
Raburn starts after cramping the day before
CLEVELAND -- With the Indians facing a left-hander on Friday in Rays starter Matt Moore, Tribe manager Terry Francona wanted to make sure right-handed hitting Ryan Raburn was ready to start.
That's why he sent Drew Stubbs out to right field for the fifth inning of Thursday's win over Cincinnati to replace Raburn, who was overcome with "miserable" cramping in his calf. A similar discomfort plagued Raburn last week, but he said it's not a pain he's used to feeling.
"That's why it's kind of weird right now," Raburn said after the game. "[We're] just trying to deal with it and get it taken care of."
Raburn was penciled into the eighth spot in the lineup on Friday, playing left field. A night earlier, he drilled an RBI double and scored in the Tribe's seven-run fourth inning against Cincinnati.
Raburn went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the 9-2 loss that went deep into Saturday morning.
In 32 games, Raburn is hitting .296 (29-for-98) with eight doubles, five homers and 16 RBIs. Against left-handers, the veteran was batting .308 (12-for-39) with one homer and four RBIs entering Friday.
Quote to note
"During the game, it's always the same. That'll never change and I don't want it to. But it's more baseball and less soap opera, however you want to say it." -- Francona, on whether the atmosphere in Cleveland is calmer than Boston's.
• Pitching prospect Trevor Bauer has been knocked around on the mound lately, but Francona isn't worried. He said when considering up-and-comers, it's important to look beyond the box score, which in Bauer's case includes an 0-2 record and 10.45 ERA over the past two outings for Triple-A Columbus.
"We're trying to develop guys for when they get to the Major League level, they can execute what they're supposed to," Francona said. "He's progressing, and I think he's excited about where he's getting."
• Francona said there were no changes regarding the timetables of return for injured right-handers Chris Perez and Brett Myers. Both are dealing with tendinitis -- Myers in the elbow, Perez in the shoulder -- and will be evaluated on Sunday.
• The Indians signed right-hander Chris Jakubauskas on Thursday to a Minor League contract and assigned him to Columbus. Jakubauskas, 34, is 8-10 with a 5.58 ERA over 69 big league appearances from 2009-11. He was released by the Brewers on May 21.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.