Game #44: Detroit Tigers (20-23) at Cleveland Indians (25-18)

By Mike Brandyberry

Last night the Cleveland Indians used a two-run home run in the sixth inning to tie the game and some small ball in the eighth inning to defeat the Detroit Tigers, 4-2. The victory already gives the Tribe the series win in the three game set. Today, the Indians will look to break out the brooms and sweep the series.

The win on Tuesday keeps the Indians with a three and one-half game victory over the Chicago White Sox and a five game lead over Detroit in the standings. The Tribe is now seven games over .500, their high water mark of the season.

Sweeping the Tigers will be a tall task, however. Justin Verlander (5-1, 2.14 ERA) will stride to the mound this afternoon for Detroit. Verlander threw a one-hit complete game last Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. His flaming fastball and devastating curveball are always a combination to defeat.

The Indians will counter with their own ace, Justin Masterson (1-3, 5.04 ERA). He has been an ace at times this season, but a joker more times than not. This season Masterson’s fastball velocity is down and he has struggled to work deep into games. In order for the Indians to have a chance at the sweep, Masterson will need to match Verlander pitch for pitch.

The Indians used five relievers after Zach McAllister on Tuesday evening. They’ll have to rebound quickly for the Wednesday afternoon set, especially closer Chris Perez. Perez has closed the last two contests and may be on a short leash for today’s contest.

Today’s contest begins at 12:05 ET at Progressive Field with the game on television on SportsTime Ohio and on the Indians Radio Network.

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

Detroit Tigers Starting Lineup
1. Quintin Berry, CF
2. Andy Dirks, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Brennan Boesch, RF
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Jhonny Peralta, SS
9. Danny Worth, 2B

Photo: Getty Images

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