Indians Hoping to Host a Party at Comerica Park
Bob Toth | On 26, Sep 2016
Despite getting some help from a divisional rival, the Cleveland Indians were not able to secure the American League Central Division during their final homestand of the season. Instead of a Party at Napoli’s and a party at Progressive Field, the Indians will now have to hope to celebrate on the road as they head to Detroit for four with the Tigers.
The Indians (90-65) were unable to earn a series win over the Chicago White Sox. The one-game difference proved to be enough to delay the popping of any champagne bottles for at least one more day. Cleveland will look to wrap up an impressive season against Detroit, bringing a 13-2 record into the four-game weekday set.
At seven games out in the division, the Central is all but lost for the Tigers (83-72), who may have their focus more on a far more attainable AL Wild Card berth. The team will head into the series just a game and a half in back of Baltimore for the second spot.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Kluber will go in pursuit of a career-high 19th win in Monday’s start with his sights set on clinching the AL Central crown for the Indians. He can also potentially expand on an already impressive Cy Young resume that he has built over the course of the season, especially in the second half, when he has gone 9-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his 13 starts. Farmer will make his 14th appearance of the season and his first start. It will be the eighth start of his big league career, which dates back to 2014, and his second against the Indians. He is 0-1 in three appearances lifetime against them with a 7.20 ERA in ten innings.
Clevinger will make his first start and second career appearance against Detroit on Tuesday. The 25-year-old rookie has worked two innings of relief, giving up a hit and two walks while striking out one. He hopes to build off of an improving effort on the mound in his current starting role. Verlander has fallen below the .500 mark against the Indians in his career thanks to three losses in four starts this season and two losses in three starts last season. He is 18-21 with a 4.59 ERA in 47 starts, including three complete games and two shutouts.
Bauer is 2-1 on the season against the Tigers in three appearances (two starts) with a rocky 6.75 ERA. It mirrors his career numbers in ten games (nine starts), where he is 4-3 with a 6.89 ERA and 1.79 WHIP. The rookie Fulmer will look to build on his strong season, one that has put him at the top of the AL Rookie of the Year list. A first rounder with Bauer in 2011, Fulmer has put up his worst numbers this season against the Indians, going 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts. His 1.81 WHIP is compounded by a .349 batting average against.
Thursday, 9/29, 1:10 PM ET – TBD vs. LHP Daniel Norris (3-2, 3.59)
The Indians had yet to announce a formal starter for Thursday’s afternoon matinee. Norris, the 23-year-old southpaw, earned his first career win against the Indians in his last start against them, allowing six runs (three earned) on eight hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts and two walks.
TV (all games) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports Detroit; MLB Network (Monday, out-of-market); ESPN (Thursday)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 97.1 The Ticket
Michael Brantley (LF) – out for season (May 10) – recovery from right biceps surgery; out for season
Carlos Carrasco (SP) – out for season (September 17) – fractured fifth metacarpal
Yan Gomes (C) – out for season (July 17) – separated right shoulder; broken right wrist
Danny Salazar (SP) – out for season (September 12) – mild strain in right flexor musculature
Nick Castellanos (3B) – 15-day disabled list (August 7) – fractured metacarpal bone in left hand
Drew VerHagen (P) – 60-day disabled list (May 23) – right shoulder thoracic outlet syndrome
Jordan Zimmermann (SP) – day-to-day – neck strain
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
KINSLER KILLING THE BALL
Ian Kinsler, who knocked out Carrasco with his liner during his good series in Cleveland, has put together a solid month of September for the Tigers in their postseason push. He has slashed .358/.413/.507 over the course of 18 games this month with two doubles, a triple, two homers, and eight RBI while scoring 14 runs.
Kinsler is hitting .284 for the season with 27 doubles, 26 homers, and 78 RBI. His 169 hits for the year are second on the team, as are his 14 stolen bases in 20 attempts.
UPTON GOING DEEP
Justin Upton had a productive series against the Indians, going deep several times against their pitching. The tear at the plate is no new thing – he is hitting .289 for the month with a .372 on-base percentage and an even more impressive .737 slugging mark. He leads the club with ten homers and 23 RBI in September and has added in four doubles for good measure in his 21 games. The homer numbers for the month are tied for the most in MLB.
Upton’s stronger play down the stretch has bulked up his season numbers. In 147 games, he is hitting .244 with a .306 OBP with 27 doubles, 28 homers, and 82 RBI. He is also tops on the club with 172 strikeouts.
CAN’T WRITE ABOUT THE TIGERS AND NOT MENTION MIGGY
Miguel Cabrera has appeared in 152 games this season for the Tigers as he has remained on the field and largely productive. He is tops on the club with 175 hits on the season, including 30 doubles and 34 homers while driving in 95 runs. He is hitting .306 with a .386 OBP and .540 slugging percentage for the year.
RAMIREZ READY FOR OCTOBER
Jose Ramirez has shown all year long that he can be a versatile threat in the lineup, both in the field and at the plate. In September, that has continued as he has hit .356/.394/.533 with 32 hits – eleven of which are doubles. He is now the owner of the most doubles by a switch-hitter in Indians history, set over the weekend against Chicago.
Ramirez is the team’s leader in batting at .316. He is third in the Majors with his 45 doubles on the year and is eighth in the AL with 22 stolen bases in 29 attempts.
SANTANA SLUGGING WELL IN SEPTEMBER
The club’s monthly leader in slugging percentage is Carlos Santana, who ranks in with a .602 mark thanks to six doubles and six homers at the plate. He leads the club with 17 RBI and also with 20 walks, turning a solid .313 average at the plate into a robust .442 OBP.
Santana is tied with Mike Napoli for the team lead in homers with 34. He has added 28 doubles and 83 RBI to his contributions while drawing a nearly 1:1 ratio of walks-to-strikeouts with 94 free passes against 95 Ks.
Brandon Guyer has become that good guy on the club that you just can’t hate. A hard crash into the right field wall in Sunday’s game showed his diehard attitude, and he took his eighth hit by pitch with Cleveland and his 31st of the season overall over the weekend.
This month, he is hitting .393 in 15 games with a .452 on-base percentage. Working predominantly against left-handed pitching, he has eleven hits in 28 at bats, including two doubles, a homer, six RBI, and four runs scored. In 36 games for Cleveland overall, he is hitting .333 with a .435 OBP and .474 slugging.
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
The regular season schedule will conclude over the weekend as the Indians head to Kansas City for three with the Royals. The Tigers will get the bizarre Interleague ending when they head to Atlanta to close Turner Field with three games against the Braves.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images