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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | September 21, 2017

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Game Preview #54: Cleveland Indians (28-25) at Detroit Tigers (25-29)

By Mike Brandyberry

Each game is just one of 162. It’s still early. There is a long way to go. There is no reason to panic.

Insert any cliché you would like, but after the Tribe has dropped four of their last six games they take to the road to match up with the Detroit Tigers to start a pivotal nine-game, three city road trip that could be very important in regards to their summer plans. The Tribe is now two and one-half games out of first place and three and one-half games ahead of Detroit in the standings. A poor showing in Detroit could slide the Indians closer to third and be the spark necessary to light the Tigers’ fire.

Tonight is just one game of 162, but it’s the first game of a key road trip against three contenders in the Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.

Another reason tonight is not just another game is that Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4, 5.79 ERA) takes to the mound for the Indians. He hasn’t pitched since May 27, having his scheduled start pushed back, giving him a chance to work on mechanics. Despite beating the Tigers on May 22, Jimenez has struggled with control and pitching on the road. A season ago, the Tigers issued one of their knockout blows to the Tribe with Jimenez on the mound in Comerica Park. Signs of mechanical improvement and consistency is necessary to give the Indians a chance tonight, and the remainder of the season.

Jimenez will be opposed by Drew Smyly (2-1, 3.46 ERA) of the Tigers. Smyly will look to give the Indians struggles against left-handed starting pitchers. The Indians are 4-13 when southpaws start on the mound and are only hitting .214 against lefties on the season. The Tribe has to find a way to snap out of several streaks. The Tigers are a team with high expectations and most expect them to still wake up and go on a run. The Tribe needs to keep the Tigers quiet, and take advantage of a series that will not have Justin Verlander appear.

The Tribe gets Carlos Santana back in the lineup this evening. The Indians activated him from the 7-day disabled list from a concussion. Last night he was one for four, with a titanic home run, at Lake County on a rehab start. Tonight, he’ll be the designated hitter. Juan Diaz was optioned back to Double-A Akron. With both Lou Marson and Luke Carlin still on the roster, it appears Santana’s playing time could be as the designated hitter for this series before heading to St. Louis for interleague play this weekend.

Each game is just one of 162, but this one could go a long way in determining how a key road trip will go. Will the Tribe turn around their recent lackluster play, or will they fall further into their struggles? We begin to find out the answers this evening at 7:05 pm. All the action can be heard on the Indians Radio Network and SportsTime Ohio.

Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Carlos Santana, DH
5. Shelley Duncan, LF
6. Michael Brantley, CF
7. Matt LaPorta, 1B
8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
9. Lou Marson, C

Detroit Tigers Starting Lineup
1. Quinitin Berry, CF
2. Matt Young, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Brennan Boesch, RF
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

Photo: Getty Images