Indians and Tigers Reunite for Second Straight Weekend
Bob Toth | On 07, Jul 2017
The schedule has worked out in bizarre ways for the Cleveland Indians this season as several times, they have played teams on back-to-back weeks. Such is the case this weekend, when the Indians host the Tigers at Progressive Field, just one weekend after the Motor City Kitties welcomed the Indians to Detroit for a rain-shortened three-game set.
The Indians (45-39) may welcome a familiar opponent after struggling during the week with the unfamiliar San Diego Padres, who proved records means nothing when playing a lengthy 162-game schedule. The young Padres took each of the first two games of the series with the Indians before the Tribe bats awoke in a well-pitched game by Josh Tomlin to avoid the sweep in a much-needed way. When the Indians and Tigers met last weekend, Cleveland took the final two games of the set after Detroit took game one of Saturday’s doubleheader and Mother Nature claimed a win over both clubs last Friday.
Trade rumors have begun swirling around the Tigers (38-46), who are starring down an eight-game deficit in the American League Central Division and are at risk of being pushed completely out of the divisional race with a bad showing in Cleveland this weekend. They took two of three from the San Francisco Giants during the week to inch a bit closer back to the .500 mark.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Zimmermann shut the Indians down…for a while…before the Indians woke up and tagged him in the sixth inning. He finished the outing with five and two-thirds innings worked, allowing four runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He has now faced the Indians three times in his career and has allowed four, six, and seven runs against them in the three outings.
Carrasco’s last start came against the Tigers and it was a good one. He pitched seven innings, allowing a run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts while throwing a season-high 114 pitches in the 4-1 victory. He is now 2-1 against Detroit this season and 8-7 in his career with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP over 22 appearances (17 starts).
Saturday will be a rematch of last Sunday’s contest between Clevinger and Verlander. The second-year right-hander got the better of the Tigers ace in that game as the Indians jumped on Verlander for seven runs on nine hits in three and one-third innings. It was the second time this season that he has failed to complete five innings against the Tribe. Verlander has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the week as the Chicago Cubs were reportedly one team sniffing around for the services of the 13-year big leaguer.
Clevinger shut down the Tigers bats in his win on Sunday, allowing just one run on two hits. He walked five, which was the biggest blemish on his stat line, and struck out seven. He has now faced the Tigers three times in his career and owns a 1-1 record with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP. He has allowed two runs or less in each of his last four starts.
Fulmer was selected as the Tigers lone All-Star representative before he backed out of the game because of his Sunday night start. He has struggled when facing the Indians in his career and will get to face them on a national scene in the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecast. Last season’s Rookie of the Year has squared up with the Indians four times in his career (all last season) and has come away with a 1-2 record with a 6.98 ERA (his worst ERA against any opponent by plenty) and a 1.97 WHIP. He has pitched deep into his last few starts and has made four straight quality starts. He allowed three runs on five hits in eight innings in his last outing, a win over the San Francisco Giants.
Like Fulmer, Kluber’s start on Sunday night costs him an opportunity to pitch in the 88th Midsummer Classic on Tuesday, as he will forgo the opportunity to pitch for the American League All-Stars in the exhibition. He has continued to dominate the opposition since returning from the disabled list, holding the San Diego Padres to just one run on five hits with a walk and ten strikeouts. He expanded his franchise record of consecutive games with at least ten strikeouts to five straight in that outing. He has faced the Tigers twice this season, coming away with one win and one loss.
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (7/7); Fox Sports Detroit (7/7); Fox (7/8); ESPN (7/9)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 97.1 The Ticket (Detroit)
Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – right elbow surgery
Austin Jackson (OF) – 10-day disabled list (6/27) – left quad sprain
Danny Salazar (P) – 10-day disabled list (6/4) – right shoulder soreness; on rehab assignment
Carlos Santana (1B) – paternity list (7/5) – expected to be activated 7/8
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
TIGERS BY THE NUMBERS
Carrasco has been able to limit several members of the Tigers lineup during his career. James McCann is 0-for-10 with four strikeouts. Andrew Romine is 1-for-11 with a double. Justin Upton, who was named an injury replacement to the All-Star team for Mike Trout on Friday, has struck out seven times against him in 15 plate appearances. Ian Kinsler has hit just .158 against him. Victor Martinez has a .176 average off of him with a double and three RBI.
J.D. Martinez has had quite a bit of success against Carrasco, hitting .364 with two doubles, two homers, and seven RBI, the most runs knocked in by any member of the Tigers against him. Jose Iglesias has hit .316 with three doubles and a pair of walks against him. Miguel Cabrera has a .303 career average off of Carrasco with one double, a homer, and three RBI while striking out nine times in 35 trips.
Clevinger’s biggest foes in the Tigers lineup in his brief interaction with them have been Cabrera and the outfielder Martinez. Cabrera is 2-for-4 with a double, a homer, and five runs knocked in, but he has struck out in two of his five trips to the plate against him. Martinez is 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He walked in a fourth plate appearance against him.
The big bats in the Tigers lineup have done the most damage to Kluber, as would be expected. Cabrera is 23-for-52 (.442) with three doubles, six homers, and 12 RBI. The former Indian Martinez has hit .341 in 45 plate appearances with three homers and seven RBI. Upton is a .385 hitter in 17 trips against him with two doubles, three homers, and six RBI.
INDIANS IN DEPTH
Jason Kipnis has punished Zimmermann throughout his career, racking up five hits in nine plate appearances (.625 average, .667 on-base percentage). In those trips, he has a double, two triples, and four RBI. Jose Ramirez is 2-for-5 in his career with a triple, a homer, and two RBI. Michael Brantley has driven in three runs off of him. Francisco Lindor has had a tough time with him, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.
Ramirez has hit .440 against Verlander in his career with three doubles, two homers, and five RBI while drawing four walks. Fellow All-Star Brantley has faced off with the Tigers ace 77 times in his career, posting a .288 average with 21 hits, but just two of those have fallen in for extra bases (one double, one triple). Lonnie Chisenhall has fared well against Verlander as well, hitting .341 (15-for-44) with three doubles, a triple, three homers, and a team-high ten RBI against him. Yan Gomes is a career .289 hitter off of Verlander with three doubles and a pair of RBI.
Kipnis has flailed away again Verlander, hitting just .109 with six hits and 16 strikeouts in 66 plate appearances. Edwin Encarnacion has had little luck with him either, hitting .125 with two homers and four RBI in 34 career trips to the box against him.
Fulmer has given up three hits each to Kipnis, Lindor, and Brantley in his brief MLB career. Brantley is a perfect 3-for-3 with a run batted in. Kipnis and Lindor each have a double on their stat line off of him. Brandon Guyer has not seen the ball well from Fulmer, going 1-for-6 with a double and four strikeouts.
Ramirez brings an eight-game hitting streak into play on Friday night. The All-Star starter at third base has multi-hit games in three of his last four contests.
The two clubs will play the last game of the first half of the Major League Baseball schedule before all teams take a well-deserved break.
The Tigers will start the second half at home on Friday with three straight in Detroit against the Toronto Blue Jays before heading on the road for seven straight in the AL Central against Kansas City and Minnesota. The Indians will resume the second half on the road in the Bay Area, playing three with the Oakland Athletics and three more in San Francisco against the scuffling Giants. The road trip will begin next Friday.
Photo: Dave Reginek/Getty Images