Tribe Continues Homestand With Four-Game Series with Tigers
Bob Toth | On 09, Apr 2018
The Cleveland Indians will continue their ill-advised ten-game early April homestand with a four-game series this week with the Detroit Tigers.
(Seriously…I understand trying to plot out 162 games for 30 teams is no picnic, but rescheduling snow-outs and playing in near-freezing temps because of the stupidity of the schedule makers is infuriating…)
The Indians (4-5) won their first series of the season over the weekend from the Kansas City Royals, but needed a dramatic two-run walk-off homer from Yan Gomes to seal the deal. It salvaged a second strong starting performance from Mike Clevinger in the process and gave the Tribe the rubber match of the series. The previous two games were both one-run contests, with the Indians winning on Friday night by a 3-2 final before losing on Saturday afternoon by a 1-0 decision.
The Tigers (4-4) are coming off of their first series win and sweep of the season with three straight wins over the Chicago White Sox over the weekend. They won a 9-7 final to spoil the Sox’s home opener on Thursday before taking a 6-1 victory on Saturday and sneaking away on Sunday with a 1-0 win. The sweep pulled the Tigers back to the .500 mark after losing their opening set with the Pittsburgh Pirates before splitting a weather-shortened series with Kansas City last week.
TODAY’S TRIBE TRIVIA
In August of 1960, Cleveland general manager Frank Lane consummated a bizarre trade of managers with Detroit. Name the two skippers relocated in the deal (one of whom was a Hall of Famer during his playing career).
The Indians and Tigers have not made a trade since 2010. Name the players involved in the late July swap.
Cleveland signed this two-time American League MVP to a one-year contract after his only season in Detroit. The outfielder would be an All-Star for the Tribe and finished fifth in the MVP voting. Following the season, he went back to his old stomping grounds in Arlington with the Rangers. He later returned to the Indians and had a painful final Major League at bat while with the club.
(answers to be found in the April 9 game recap)
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Liriano pitched well in his first outing of the season despite not getting in a lot of work in an abbreviated spring training for the veteran left-hander. The 34-year-old made a quality start, allowing a run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings. He has not earned a win against the Indians since 2010 when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins. In eight games and five starts since, he has gone 0-3. His only appearance against them last season was disastrous – he lasted just two innings and allowed seven runs on five hits with three walks.
Kluber has once again been the victim of little run support to start his season and has been hurt by a pair of two-run home runs that were significant factors in the outcomes of his starts. He took the loss in his first start of the year in Seattle and a no-decision in his most recent start in Anaheim. In 15 innings of work on the year, he has allowed four runs on nine hits with three walks and 14 strikeouts. The Tigers may be a welcomed sight for Kluber, who has dominated Detroit over the last couple of years. In nine starts in the last two seasons, he is 6-1 with a 3.03 ERA and two complete game shutouts against the Tigers.
Boyd took a tough loss in his only start of the season to date, putting forth a quality effort against Kansas City while allowing a run on four hits with a strikeout in six innings of work. The lefty has been the victim of tough circumstances in his career against the Indians – he has a 1.91 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP, but a 1-2 record in his five career games. Last season, he made four starts against Cleveland, earning a 2.28 ERA along the way with 17 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings.
Tomlin’s start was bumped back a day to keep Kluber in line with regular work. The 33-year-old was roughed up badly in his first start against the Angels last Tuesday, allowing eight runs on eight hits with four home runs in just three innings of work. He has won four of his last six starts against the Tigers, posting a 4.04 ERA in that span.
It will be the third start of the season for Zimmermann, who entered the year as the Tigers’ number one starter. The 31-year-old right-hander was hoping to bounce back from some down years in Detroit, but so far, the results have not been great. In the season opener against Pittsburgh, he allowed four runs on six hits in six innings while striking out eight, but his next time out against Chicago, the White Sox put up six runs on nine hits against him in just four and one-third innings. He has yet to earn a win against the Indians in his career, taking losses in all three of his starts against them last year while posting a 9.22 ERA and a 1.98 WHIP.
Carrasco has been the walking proof that wins are not a valuable measuring stick for starting pitchers any more. He has won both of his starts despite being shaky at times in both. He gave up five runs and two home runs in his victory over Seattle in the season’s second game, then was tagged for two early runs before settling down some in his second start, a 3-2 win over the Royals on Friday. He has gone 9-3 against Detroit over the last four years, including a 4-1 mark with a 1.82 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP last season in six starts.
The former American League Rookie of the Year took a tough loss in his season debut when the Tigers lost 1-0 to the Pirates. Fulmer worked eight innings of one-run baseball in that game, giving up four hits and two walks in the loss. He put up another strong showing his next time out, firing five and one-third scoreless innings of six-hit ball while earning a win over Chicago. In five career games against Cleveland, he is 2-2 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP. The ERA mark is his worst against any team that he has faced more than once.
Bauer does not have a win to his credit this year, but it should take nothing away from his performances on the mound. He worked five innings in his first start, allowing a pair of runs, then followed it up with eight impressive innings against the Royals in a game that would be decided by one seventh-inning solo home run by Kansas City. He has struck out 14 batters in 13 innings. He had little success against the Tigers last season, allowing 13 runs in nine innings of two starts, taking losses in both. He is 4-5 against them in his career with a 7.82 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP.
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); Fox Sports Detroit (4/10, 4/12); Fox Sports Detroit+ (4/9, 4/11)
Radio (all) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 97.1 The Ticket (Detroit)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NEWS
Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list – recovery from right elbow surgery
Michael Brantley (LF) – activated from the 10-day disabled list (4/6)
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – placed on 10-day disabled list (4/8)
Ryan Merritt (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – left knee sprain
Tyler Naquin (OF) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (4/8)
Danny Salazar (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – right shoulder rotator cuff tendonitis
Giovanny Urshela (IF) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – right hamstring strain
MAKING IT IN MOTOWN
Nicholas Castellanos has made his strong numbers from last season stand up again this year through the first week and a half of play. In eight games, he has hit .324 with a .395 on-base percentage and .500 slugging mark with two doubles, two triples, and three RBI. He leads the Tigers in runs scored with eight, hits with eleven, and triples.
Castellanos appeared in 19 games against the Indians last season, hitting .297 with a .333 OBP. His nine doubles matched a career-high against the Indians in one season. He has struck out in 13 of his 36 career plate appearances against Kluber. He is a lifetime .456 hitter against Tomlin in 29 plate appearances.
Miguel Cabrera put up the worst year of his career last season, slashing .249/.329/.399 with 22 doubles, 16 homers, and 60 runs batted in. The 60 RBI were the fewest of his career, while the doubles and homers marks were just barely above previous career lows. With a younger crew around him, the 16-year veteran has hit .276 with a .353 OBP and a .483 slugging mark with three doubles, a homer, and a team-leading nine RBI to start his 2018 season.
Cabrera has suited up against the Indians in 181 contests in his career, including 16 times or more a season for the last ten years. Given the way his season played out last year, it was no surprise that his numbers against Cleveland were the worst that he has had during his career as he slashed .172/.262/.345 with a double, three homers, and nine RBI. Lifetime, he owns a .335/.412/.583 line against the Indians with 35 doubles, 45 homers, and 151 RBI.
Kluber has never fared well against Cabrera, as the Tigers slugger has hit .404 in his career with three doubles, six homers, and 12 RBI in 61 plate appearances. He has hit .370 against Tomlin in his career with five walks in 32 plate appearances. Three of those walks were intentional.
Dixon Machado has taken advantage of his opportunities to work at second base after the trade of Ian Kinsler to Los Angeles in the offseason. In eight games, he has hit .281 with a team-leading six doubles. He is second on the club with nine hits and seven RBI.
The Tigers are near the top of the league as a team in doubles and are tied for the most triples in all of baseball, but the long ball has been notably absent from the Detroit lineup thus far. Through eight games, they are tied for the fewest homers in baseball with just two this season – one by Cabrera and one by Niko Goodrum.
Jose Iglesias is 5-for-9 (.556) against Bauer in his career. He is a .360 hitter (9-for-25) against Carrasco with five doubles.
INDIANS BY THE NUMBERS
Several Indians are approaching career milestones. Both Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor are inching closer to 500 career hits. Ramirez sits at 499, while Lindor is ten back of him at 489. Both could realistically wrap up the accomplishment by the end of the month. Lindor is also three doubles short of 100 in his career, while Gomes is five shy of the century mark.
The pair have combined for nine hits atop the Indians lineup. Lindor is 7-for-36 (.194) with a double, four walks, and three stolen bases. Ramirez is 2-for-33 (.061) with a single, a homer, six walks, and four RBI. Their struggles, coupled with the .118 average and .211 OBP from Jason Kipnis, have helped to account for some of the Indians’ issues on offense.
Lindor is 3-for-5 (.600) and Kipnis is 4-for-9 (.444) against Liriano in their careers. The Tribe’s shortstop has hit .429 (6-for-14) against Boyd with a double and a solo homer to his credit. Kipnis has seven hits (including three doubles and two triples) in eleven plate appearances against Zimmermann with four RBI. Ramirez is 5-for-10 against him with two triples, a homer, and four RBI.
Edwin Encarnacion has faced Liriano eight times in his career. Two of those trips have ended in a walk and two more have ended in a jog around the bases. He has not figured out Boyd yet, however, as he has struck out in seven of 21 trips to the plate against him.
Bradley Zimmer’s plate woes have continued through the weekend. He is hitting .154 with a .185 OBP this season. In 27 plate appearances, he has racked up 14 strikeouts, the most on the team and tied for sixth-most in all of baseball.
The Indians enter their series with the Tigers on Monday with a .159/.252/.274 slash line. Each of the three categories ranks dead last in all of baseball. They are one of three teams yet to hit a sacrifice fly this season.
The Indians are second in all of baseball with ten stolen bases. They have been caught just one time.
It will be more home cooking for the Indians over the weekend as they welcome in the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend for a three-game set to wrap up their ten-game homestand before heading to San Juan for a special two-game series in Puerto Rico against the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers will return home to Comerica Park after the series to start a ten-game homestand, beginning with three against the New York Yankees before three with Baltimore and four more with Kansas City.
Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images