The Cleveland Indians will get the final month of the regular season schedule started on Friday when the team takes on the Tigers for four games in three days from downtown Detroit.
The Indians (76-56) have hit their high water mark of the season behind an impressive 19-9 month of August. The Indians and Tigers will play a day-night doubleheader on Friday to make up a previous rain out before traditional start times on Saturday and Sunday. The Tribe is coming off a rare accomplishment for the club earlier in the week, wrapping up a long stretch of consecutive games played by sweeping the New York Yankees in the Bronx for the first time since 1989 while extending their winning streak to seven straight games. They head into action this weekend with a six and a half game lead over the Minnesota Twins, who have ripped off four straight wins while working themselves into the AL Wild Card picture. Cleveland will also look to continue its road dominance, working as one of three teams in all of baseball with 40 or more wins away from home.
The Tigers (58-74) are hardly the team that faced the Indians the last time the two clubs met in early July. The team traded two of its most productive and noteworthy players on the final day of the waivers trade deadline on Thursday, altering its roster and reducing its financial commitments for the future significantly. The Tigers have failed to post a winning month this season and lost a season-high 17 games in August while giving up a season-high 163 runs in the process. They have played well against the Indians this season after an abysmal 2016 effort against them, posting six wins to six losses through the first dozen contests between the two clubs.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Friday, 9/1, 1:10 PM ET – RHP Carlos Carrasco (13-6, 3.78 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Boyd (11-5, 3.10)
The road warrior will be back at it again for the Indians on a special day for him as he returns to the site of his Major League debut exactly eight years to the date that he took the mound in a rough outing against the Tigers at Comerica Park. The veteran right-hander is 9-2 in 14 road starts with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Carrasco was spectacular in his last outing, throwing seven shutout innings while allowing six hits and striking out eight, all while using just 83 pitches in the blowout win of the Royals. He has faced the Tigers four times this season and has won each of the last three outings, pitching at least six innings in all four starts while allowing no more than two runs in any one contest.
Boyd will make his third start of the season against the Indians, looking to earn his second win against them. He has fired a pair of quality starts against the Tribe, allowing just four runs over 13 2/3 innings (2.63 ERA). Times have been tough for the southpaw after a winless August, posting three losses and two no decisions in the month. He last earned a win on July 29 against Houston, when he pitched a quality seven and one-third innings while allowing three runs on eight hits.
Friday, 9/1, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Mike Clevinger (7-5, 3.72) vs. RHP Buck Farmer (3-1, 6.17)
Clevinger will make his fourth career start against the Tigers in the nightcap of Friday’s day-night doubleheader from Comerica Park. He has faced the Tigers twice this season and has won both efforts, allowing just one run over 12 innings in a pair of quality starts. Two of his last three starts this season and have been scoreless quality outings, including a nine-strikeout performance in six shutout innings against the Royals on August 26.
Farmer will make his second start since returning to the Tigers rotation at the end of August. He earned a win in that start, allowing three runs on five hits in five and two-thirds innings against the White Sox. He has spent the majority of the season at Toledo, where he has gone 6-4 with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 21 starts at the Triple-A level. He has made a pair of starts and two relief appearances against the Indians in his career, but has been dealt losses in each starting effort, allowing nine runs on 12 hits in 10 1/3 innings (7.84 ERA).
Saturday, 9/2, 6:10 PM ET – RHP Corey Kluber (13-4, 2.63) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-11, 6.08)
Kluber will look to build off of an impressive month of August as the September calendar begins. He went 5-1 in six starts last month, posting two complete games, a 1.96 ERA, and a 0.63 WHIP (his best monthly effort in that stat). He did match a season-high in homers allowed with six, accounting for 60% of the runs scored off of Kluber in the month. Opposing hitters batted just .146 off of him as he seems primed for a deep postseason run. He got back into the win column in his last time out, holding the New York Yankees to two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts and a walk in eight innings of work.
Zimmermann ended a four-game winless stretch on the mound his last time out, holding the Colorado Rockies to three runs on nine hits over five innings of work. His last four starts have been shorter outings, failing to complete six innings on the mound in any of them. He has had no luck with the Indians over the last several years and has his work cut out for him in the tough matchup against Kluber. He has dropped a pair of decisions against the Tribe in 2017, giving up nine runs on 13 hits in eight and two-thirds innings this season when making back-to-back July starts against them.
Sunday, 9/3, 1:10 PM ET – RHP Josh Tomlin (7-9, 5.38) vs. RHP Michael Fulmer (10-12, 3.83)
The Indians had not formally announced a starter for Sunday’s game at the time of this story, but it is assumed that it will be Tomlin (7-9, 5.38), who was activated formally from the disabled list on Friday after being previously rumored to be a candidate for Wednesday’s start in New York that was instead changed after Tuesday’s rainout forced a doubleheader in the middle of the week. He has missed a month of action with a left hamstring strain, one that forced him out of a game in the middle of a no-hitter against the White Sox.
Fulmer missed some time early in August on the disabled list and is in the midst of a long losing skid on the rubber. He has factored in the decision in 22 of his 25 outings, but has dropped six straight games this season after ending a four-game winning streak on the mound in July. In his last start, he allowed five runs on eight hits in six and one-third innings against Colorado. He won his last start against Cleveland on July 9 when he allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout for his third straight win during that four-game winning streak.
TV (all) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports Detroit
Radio (all) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 97.1 The Ticket (Detroit)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NEWS
Greg Allen (OF) – contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus (9/1)
Abraham Almonte (OF) – activated from 10-day disabled list (9/1)
Cody Anderson (SP) – out for season – right elbow surgery
Dylan Baker (P) – placed on 60-day disabled list (9/1)
Michael Brantley (LF) – 10-day disabled list (8/9) – right ankle sprain
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – activated from 10-day disabled list (9/1)
Kyle Crockett (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (9/1)
Jason Kipnis (2B) – 10-day disabled list (8/23) – right hamstring strain
Erik Kratz (C) – traded to New York Yankees for cash/future considerations (8/31)
Boone Logan (RP) – 60-day disabled list (7/20) – left lat muscle
Francisco Mejia (C) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (9/1)
Ryan Merritt (SP) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (8/26)
Andrew Miller (RP) – 10-day disabled list (8/22) – patellofemoral syndrome
Shawn Morimando (P) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (9/1)
Dan Otero (RP) – activated from paternity list (9/1)
Adam Plutko (P) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (9/1)
Danny Salazar (SP) – 10-day disabled list (8/21) – right elbow inflammation
Josh Tomlin (SP) – activated from 10-day disabled list (9/1)
Daz Cameron (OF) – acquired in trade from Houston (8/31)
Blaine Hardy (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Toledo (9/1)
Bryan Holaday (C) – contract purchased from Triple-A Toledo (9/1)
Jairo Labourt (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Toledo (9/1)
Grayson Long (P) – acquired from Los Angeles Angels (8/31)
Victor Martinez (DH) – 10-day disabled list (8/27) – irregular heartbeat
Daniel Norris (SP) – activated from disabled list (9/1)
Franklin Perez (P) – acquired in trade from Houston (8/31)
Jake Rogers (C) – acquired in trade from Houston (8/31)
Anibal Sanchez (P) – activated from disabled list (9/1)
Justin Upton (OF) – traded to Los Angeles Angels (8/31)
Justin Verlander (SP) – traded to Houston Astros (8/31)
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
SCRATCHING OUT SOME TIGERS’ STATS
With another big bat gone from the Tigers lineup, Jose Iglesias is now the team’s leading qualified hitter with a .258 average on the season.
Miguel Cabrera‘s down season has continued into the second half as he is hitting a career-low .252 with a .338 on-base percentage and a .405 slugging mark. He has hit 21 doubles, 14 homers, and has driven in 57 runs on the year. Lower back tightness has once again limited his ability to play, as he exited a game early on August 28 and was held out of a starting role the next two games, although he did make a pinch-hit appearance on August 30.
James McCann leads the club in second half hitting with a .314 average since the break with seven doubles, four homers, 16 RBI, and one nasty beanball to the head from New York’s Dellin Betances as part of the ugly game between the Tigers and Yankees last week that featured several benches clearing brawls.
Nicholas Castellanos leads the Tigers in second half homers with nine and is tops on the club with 30 RBI in those 42 games since the break. He had previously trailed Upton, who had 16 doubles, 13 homers, and 40 RBI since the All-Star Game and led the club before his Thursday trade to Los Angeles.
INDIANS IN DEPTH
Edwin Encarnacion‘s second half power surge has continued for the Tribe as he is up to 13 homers since the break. The surge was strong in August, when he drove out ten homers in the month and drew more walks than strikeouts, earning 22 free passes to 19 strikeouts to boost a .220 average for the month to a .368 on-base percentage. He is second in the American League in walks with 89 on the season and is fifth in OBP with a .372 mark.
Francisco Lindor had 14 extra base hits in the month of August, including nine home runs to give him a career-high 25 on the season.
Jose Ramirez leads qualified Indians hitters with a .303 average on the season in 129 games. He enters the four-game weekend set with a Major League-leading 43 doubles on the year and has added five triples and 20 homers. He is sixth in the AL with 151 hits on the season.
While Yan Gomes may not be hitting the ball all over the yard much, he has been able to cash in when the time is right. In August, he tallied a team-high-tying 18 RBI, using four homers in the month to help his cause.
THE FINAL MONTH
The Indians will head west to the Windy City to conclude the final series of their eleven-game road trip with a three-game set against the White Sox beginning Monday. The Tigers will stay home and await the arrival of the Kansas City Royals, who will come to town for a three-game set beginning Monday afternoon.
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