Tribe Looks to Continue Dominance of Tigers with Three in Detroit
Bob Toth | On 27, Jul 2018
The Cleveland Indians will look to continue their better play of late on the road this weekend as they head to Detroit’s Comerica Park for three games against the Tigers.
The Indians’ (55-46) recent home woes continued during a brief homestand this week with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Buccos got the Tribe in each of the first two games, including a rain-shortened shutout on Monday, before the Indians returned the shutout favor with a 4-0 win powered by Trevor Bauer and the bullpen in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon. Cleveland has handled its matchups with Detroit with ease this season, winning ten of the 13 games while outscoring the Tigers by a 76-30 margin on the year.
The Tigers (44-60) are one of four teams below the .500 mark in the American League Central and trail the Indians by 12.5 games in the division while sitting in third place. They got back into the win column with two wins in a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals during the week, earning their first series win since June 15-17. Detroit has fared well overall against the Central, going 20-21 on the year, but the bulk of that damage has come against the Chicago White Sox, which they have defeated eight times in nine tries.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Carrasco will look to continue a long stretch of dominance over Detroit. Since 2016, the right-hander has posted the lowest ERA among all MLB starters against a single opponent (in a minimum of 50 innings), registering a 1.60 ERA against the Tigers in that span (stat courtesy of Stats By STATS) while going 7-2. He owns an 11-8 career record against the Tigers in 27 games (22 starts) with a 3.69 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. He has won his last three starts and four overall appearances and is coming off of a strong outing against Texas on July 21 when he allowed two runs in six and two-thirds innings of work.
Fiers has been one of the arms in the Tigers rotation that could be on the move for a team looking for a low-cost, backend addition to their staff. He will get a final audition for another club on Friday night as he makes his fourth start of the season against the Indians. He held them to a run on three hits in six innings in a win in mid-May and gave up just one run on five hits in seven innings in a no-decision on June 9. He took the loss against them on June 22, when he was hit for a pair of home runs and four runs in total in five innings. He is 2-1 in July with four straight quality starts (and five in a row since his rough start against Cleveland), including six and one-third shutout innings against Boston in his last start.
Clevinger, 27, will look to get back into the win column on Saturday after taking losses in each of his last three starts. He allowed just two runs in his last start against Texas on July 22, but matched a season-high with four walks in losing his third straight. He faced the Tigers back on June 9, taking a no-decision after giving up two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings of work. Last season, he faced the Tigers four times and posted a 4-0 record against them with a 0.76 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP, giving up just two runs in 23 2/3 innings.
Liriano has struggled to pitch late in ball games of late, throwing a total of ten innings over his last three starts combined. His last time out against Kansas City, he allowed three runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts, but lasted just four and two-thirds innings in a no-decision. The 34-year-old has faced the Indians 23 times in his career, posting a 5-8 mark with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP. Three of those appearances have come against Cleveland this season, as he has gone 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA after allowing nine earned runs over 14 1/3 innings.
Kluber has had his way with the Tigers over the last few years. Since 2016, he has posted an 8-1 mark against them in eleven starts with a 2.63 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP with 83 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings of work. This season, he has faced them twice and held them to just two runs on seven hits with a walk in 16 innings of work, earning a pair of wins. Kluber’s recent struggles on the mound appear linked to mechanical flaws that came about while he was dealing with a right knee issue. He has allowed 13 runs (nine earned) over his last two starts and has allowed four runs or more in four of his last seven outings, an unusual sight for the two-time Cy Young winner.
Zimmermann missed more than a month on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury, taking him out of action for much of May and June. He has made six starts since his return and had a stretch of three starts with a run allowed or less, but has surrendered four runs in each of his last two starts on the road against Tampa and Kansas City. Those starts included a season-high eleven hits surrendered in six and two-thirds innings against the Rays on July 11. He faced the Indians once on April 11, but lasted just two-thirds of an inning.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); Fox Sports Detroit (all)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (Cleveland); 97.1 The Ticket (Detroit)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF) – 60-day disabled list (7/3) – strained left calf
Nick Goody (RP) – 60-day disabled list (5/3) – right elbow inflammation
Evan Marshall (RP) – 10-day disabled list (6/19) – right elbow inflammation
Andrew Miller (RP) – 10-day disabled list (5/26) – right knee inflammation; on rehab assignment
Danny Salazar (P) – out for season (3/26) – recovery from right shoulder exploratory surgery
Josh Tomlin (P) – 10-day disabled list (7/10) – right hamstring strain
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – out for season (7/21) – right shoulder labrum surgery
Johnny Barbato (P) – 10-day disabled list (6/22) – right rotator cuff tendinitis; on rehab assignment
Miguel Cabrera (1B) – 60-day disabled list (6/13) – recovery from June 2018 left biceps surgery
Ryan Carpenter (P) – activated from 10-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Toledo
Michael Fulmer (SP) – 10-day disabled list (6/17) – left oblique strain
Daniel Norris (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/30) – recovery from May 2018 left groin surgery
TIGERS NEWS AND NOTES
The big question over the weekend may revolve around how many Tigers close out the weekend with the club, as a handful of players could potentially relocate by the July 31 trade deadline next week, including several members of the starting rotation and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos.
Castellanos would be an intriguing offensive addition for a number of clubs, and his spot in right field would make sense to the Indians, but defensively he has not brought much to the table and there is not much motivation for the Tigers to move him with another year of control of him for next season. He has been steady in the lineup for the club through 100 games, putting up a .298/.351/.505 slash with 30 doubles, four triples, 15 homers, and 56 RBI. Those results have not come against the Indians, as he has slashed .196/.245/.304 in 12 games against them with two doubles, one homer, and four RBI.
Leonys Martin could be on the move. The speedy outfielder has put up good numbers against Cleveland this season, hitting .297 with three doubles, two homers, and three RBI while leading the club with eleven hits.
The Tigers have hit just .188 off of Indians pitching this season with a .241 on-base percentage and .288 slugging mark with 20 doubles, one triple, seven homers, and 29 RBI. They have struck out 124 times against Cleveland pitchers, 35 more times than the next closest club.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
The Indians have been hitting the ball better in July, posting season-highs in batting average (.286) and on-base percentage (.352) through their first 20 games of the month while reducing their strikeout rate substantially. They will look to improve upon some rough numbers on the road this season, however, as the offense’s contributions are nearly 40 points lower in batting average and OBP and nearly 60 points lighter in slugging.
Melky Cabrera has been productive in his return to the Tribe’s lineup. The switch-hitter has hit in six straight games, putting up eight hits in 22 at bats (.364). He performed well in a pair of games against Detroit earlier this season, tallying three hits in eight at bats and ten plate appearances overall with a pair of sacrifice flies and three RBI.
Jose Ramirez’s impressive MVP-caliber season has been aided by the Tigers pitching staff. In 13 games against them this season, he is tied for the team lead with 16 hits in 58 plate appearances. He is tied with Francisco Lindor with four homers against Detroit and has added a pair of doubles and a triple while drawing 12 walks to post a .348/.483/.696 slash against them for the year.
Lindor is the team leader with ten RBI and 14 runs scored against the Tigers this season and is also tied for the team lead with four doubles. Michael Brantley is tied with Ramirez for the team lead with 16 hits off of Detroit pitching in his 12 games against them.
Edwin Encarnacion has hit safely in five straight games, posting a .450/.522/.850 slash in that time with nine hits, including two homers and eight RBI.
The Indians will continue their road trip with a return visit to Target Field, where the Minnesota Twins will play the host for three days beginning Monday night. The Tigers will take Monday off before hosting the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday for a pair of games before heading out to the west coast.
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images