Game Preview: Cleveland (80-81) vs. Detroit (94-67)
By Matt Van Wormer
One-hundred sixty-one down, one to go. The Cleveland Indians will wrap up the 2011 campaign trying to hold second place in the division outright and finish at .500 while the Detroit Tigers will be playing as hard as they can to earn first round home field advantage in the playoffs. The Tigers need a win and a Texas Rangers loss to host the Wild Card instead of playing the Yankees in the first round.
After an April and half of May that had the Indians looking like the top dogs in the American League, injuries and bad luck befell the Tribe as the Tigers closed the gap and took hold of the Central Division. I’ll tell you what though, if you would have told me at the beginning of the year that the Indians would contend for 90% of the season, I would have taken that in a heartbeat.
So, tonight wraps things up with Zach McAllister (0-1, 8.53, 2.05 WHIP) taking the mound for the Tribe trying to earn his first career victory and get the Tribe to .500 on the year. McAllister pitched well in his last start, going six innings and giving up just two runs on six hits and a walk against the White Sox. He took a no-decision as the Indians lost the game, 5-4.
Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.76, 1.41 WHIP) will try to join Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in the 15 win club in 2011 as the Tigers wrap up the regular season. The Tigers will be going for their 10th straight win against the Indians after the Tribe took six of the first 10 games played between the two teams.
The Tigers have quite a bit to be playing for so don’t expect to see too many players being rested by manager Jim Leyland. The Indians will have to fight with everything they have left to close their season on a winning note.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank the readers who have read my game previews and want to encourage you to let me know if you have any thoughts, critiques or criticisms. Thank you for a wonderful season and I hope next year I get to write game previews into October!
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup:
1. Kosuke Fukudome, RF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Travis Hafner, DH
5. Carlos Santana, C
6. Shelley Duncan, LF
7. Jack Hannahan, 3B
8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
9. Ezequiel Carrera, CF
Detroit Tigers Starting Lineup:
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Wilson Betemit, 3B
3. Delmon Young, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Don Kelly, 3B
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images