Times have been tough in Tiger town, but Detroit and Comerica Park will still welcome in the Cleveland Indians for three games for the first time this season.
The Indians (20-19) are coming off of a series win over the Kansas City Royals in their brief three-game homestand, pulling the club back over the .500 mark following a rough 1-4 road trip. While the Tribe is just 5-7 in May (after a 15-12 record to open the year), the offense has been producing, scoring 88 runs, an average of more than seven per game. The problem has been some defensive miscues and a bullpen that has not been firing well, as the pitching staff as a whole has allowed more than five and a half runs per game. Cleveland swept Detroit in four straight games in April, outscoring the Tigers by an 18-5 edge.
The Tigers (17-22) are rebuilding and have performed better than expected, hanging around an American League Central race that has been made close due to the poor play by the Indians this season. Detroit has opened the month with a 6-6 record, but has been outscored 55-49 in the process. Weather issues on Friday forced a doubleheader on Saturday, but the Tigers split that day and defeated Seattle on Sunday to take just their fourth series win of the year. They trail the Indians by three games in the standings.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Carrasco is coming off of his second complete game tossed on the season in what was one of the better efforts by a Tribe starter on the year. He allowed two runs on five hits, walked one, and struck out a season’s best 14 batters. It earned him his fifth win in eight starts to open the year. His other complete game this season came against Detroit – he allowed a run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts on April 11 to earn his third straight win at the time. He has put up strong numbers in his career against the Tigers (11-7, 3.67 ERA, 1.37 WHIP in 26 games), but those marks have been even better over the last five years, when he has gone 10-3 with a 2.29 ERA.
Fiers will make his seventh start of the year in search of replicating his previous effort, a win over the Texas Rangers. He allowed two runs on six hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out five in five and one-third innings. He has not pitched deep into ball games, but has reached the sixth inning in five of his six outings. It will be the fifth time in his career that he has faced the Indians – he is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Last season, he went 0-1, allowing four runs (three earned) with three homers allowed in ten and one-third innings in two starts.
Tomlin will make his first start since May 4, when he was hit for five runs on eight hits in seven innings against the New York Yankees in an unfavorable matchup. With three homers allowed in the game, it pushed his season total to 13, which still leads all of baseball. He made his best start of the season against Detroit on April 10, allowing just four hits and two walks in five scoreless frames.
The 34-year-old southpaw Liriano has had a good start to his season. He has allowed three runs or less in all seven of his outings and has pitched into the seventh inning five times. His last start, however, was not one of those, as he lasted just four-plus innings, giving up three runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts in a no-decision against the Rangers. His only loss this season came in his second start of the year, against the Indians, when he allowed two runs on three hits in six innings in a tough 2-0 loss. He is 5-7 lifetime against the Tribe with a 4.11 ERA in 21 games (16 starts), but he has not defeated the Indians since winning three times in 2010.
Wednesday, May 16, 1:10 PM ET – RHP Trevor Bauer (2-3, 3.00) vs. TBD
Bauer earned a win against Detroit earlier this season, giving up two runs on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings of work. He is now 5-5 against them in 13 games (12 starts). The 27-year-old is looking to build off of his worst start of the season, when the Royals pounced on him for five runs (four earned) on eleven hits in just four and two-thirds innings. He had previously made six straight quality starts and had allowed three runs or less with six strikeouts or more in seven games to open his season.
The Tigers have not formally announced a starter for Wednesday afternoon’s contest.
TV (all): Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports Detroit
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 (RF) – 10-day disabled list (4/8) – right calf strain
Nick Goody (RP) – 10-day disabled list (5/3) – right elbow inflammation
Ryan Merritt (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – left knee sprain; rehab on hold
Tyler Naquin (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/12) – left hamstring strain
Danny Salazar (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – right shoulder rotator cuff tendonitis; shut down
Chad Bell (RP) – designated for assignment (5/12)
Miguel Cabrera (1B) – 10-day disabled list (5/4) – right hamstring strain
Jeimer Candelario (3B) – placed on 10-day disabled list (5/14) – left wrist tendonitis
Ryan Carpenter (P) – recalled from Triple-A Toledo (5/12); optioned to Triple-A Toledo (5/13)
Nicholas Castellanos (RF) – day-to-day (5/13) – left fifth finger contusion
Louis Coleman (RP) – contract purchased from Triple-A Toledo (5/12)
Dawel Lugo (3B) – recalled from Triple-A Toledo (5/14)
Leonys Martin (CF) – 10-day disabled list (5/8) – left hamstring strain
Daniel Norris (P) – 60-day disabled list (4/30) – recovery from May 2018 left groin surgery
Alex Wilson (RP) – 10-day disabled list (5/8) – left plantar fascia strain
Jordan Zimmermann (SP) – 10-day disabled list (5/6) – right shoulder impingement
Only one Tigers player hit well during the two clubs’ four-game series in Cleveland in April and that outfielder (Martin) is on the disabled list. He hit .429 with two doubles and a solo homer in the series. The rest of the club failed to hit higher than .250 and combined to slash .156/.217/.234 over the four games with just five runs scored.
Victor Martinez is always a player to keep an eye on when the Indians come to town. He owns a .297/.367/.468 slash in 114 career games against his former club with 30 doubles, 14 homers, and 72 RBI. Those numbers have fallen off drastically in recent years – he has just two singles and two walks in 15 plate appearances this season and he has hit just two home runs against them in the last four seasons.
Castellanos was banged up during the week, as he appeared in just four games. He left the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader with Seattle after being hit in the pinkie by a pitch. He did not start two Sundays ago against the Royals with the flu and also missed a game against the Rangers Wednesday after fouling a pitch off of his knee. Around the issues, he hit .500 for the week (6-for-12). He has played well against the Indians the last two seasons, but got off to a slower start against them this year, going 3-for-15 (.200) in the four-game series in April with three singles, a walk, and two runs batted in.
Candelario went 3-for-15 (.200) in the series in Cleveland with three doubles and a run batted in, but he also struck out six times, tops on the club. He has been one of the better performers for Detroit this season, hitting .272 with a .359 on-base percentage for the year in 37 games with 12 doubles, three triples, five homers, and 16 RBI. The two- and three-base hits are tops on the team. He also leads the team with 18 walks and 38 strikeouts. ***UPDATE: He was placed on the 10-day disabled list prior to Monday’s game with the Indians.
LINDOR RECOGNIZED AGAIN
Another impressive week by Francisco Lindor won him a share of the American League’s Player of the Week award for games played between May 7 and May 13 (joined by no-hit pitcher James Paxton). Lindor went on a tear at the plate in five games total against the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals, hitting .600 (12-for-20) with four doubles, four homers, five RBI, two walks, two strikeouts, one hit by pitch, and eight runs scored.
The five dominant games, four of which were multi-hit efforts, extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. He has gone 30-for-63 (.476) in that span with eight doubles, eight homers, and 15 RBI.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
Michael Brantley went 4-for-10 in three games against the Tigers in April with a double and two RBI. He has hit .350 over the last week with seven hits in 20 at bats, including a double, two homers, and ten RBI. He also drew a pair of walks and did not strike out.
Jose Ramirez tore up the Tigers pitching in their first series, getting five hits in 13 at bats, including a pair of doubles. He also walked three times and did not strike out in his 16 plate appearances against them. He has hit .300 over the last week, with five of his six hits in that span falling in for extra bases (two doubles, three homers).
Edwin Encarnacion scuffled badly against Detroit earlier in the year, going 0-for-13 with six strikeouts.
This series’ Tribe Trivia will focus not only on the Tigers organization, but the city of Detroit and its links to the Cleveland Indians. Three games, three trivia questions, sorted from easiest to hardest. One question will be answered in each of the three game recaps during the series. Good luck!
Born in Detroit, this durable left-handed reliever appeared in 884 games during his 14-year MLB career and made just one start. He spent his final five big league seasons with the Indians during the 1990s, helping anchor an underrated and overlooked bullpen. He also spent time in Atlanta, with both Chicago clubs, and the New York Yankees.
Who am I?
This Hall of Fame pitcher was born in Detroit and spent 15 years with the Tigers, debuting with the club at the age of 18. He made six All-Star teams and won back-to-back American League MVP awards in 1944 (when he led MLB with 29 wins) and again in 1945. His numbers slowed in the 1950s and he was released by the Tigers during the 1953 season. He joined the Indians in 1954, earning seven wins while working almost entirely in relief throughout the season. He was released by the club the following May. He was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1992.
Who am I?
This Detroit native spent his first eight big league seasons in Detroit and was named an All-Star in 1950 before he missed a year due to military service. He was traded to the Indians in 1953 and spent parts of five years with the club, becoming one of the main starting pitchers for Cleveland during their franchise-best 111-win season, joining rotation mates Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, Bob Lemon, and Bob Feller.
Who am I?
GO WEST, YOUNG MAN
The Indians will continue their three-city, eight-game road trip after an off day Thursday. They will open a three-game set in Houston with the Astros from Minute Maid Park on Friday. They will take Monday off before moving on to Wrigley Field for a two-game interleague series with the Cubs to close out their road trip.
With their six-game homestand complete, the Tigers will head quickly to the Pacific Northwest, where they will kick off a two-city, seven-game road trip in Seattle on Thursday. It will mark a scheduled stretch of seven games with the Mariners in ten days.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images