Tigers Return to Tribe Town for a Three-Game Weekend Set
Bob Toth | On 22, Jun 2018
With one final series left to play before hitting the road for another long road trip, the Cleveland Indians will welcome the Detroit Tigers back to Progressive Field for the first time since sweeping them in four straight games back in mid-April.
The Indians (40-33) have found their winning ways again, sweeping the Chicago White Sox over the weekend for the second time at home this season. They are 4-2 on their current homestand, after dropping two of three against Minnesota to start play at Progressive Field after a long road trip. The Indians have outscored the Tigers by a 50-27 mark on the year and have posted a +47 mark in run differential this season, the fourth-best difference in the American League behind Houston, Boston, and New York.
The Tigers (36-39) had ripped off five straight wins before visiting Cincinnati during the week, where they lost a pair of games to the Reds sandwiched around a pair of off days. After posting a winning record in May with a 15-14 mark (despite being outscored by 13 runs), the Tigers have started June 10-9 (and have once again been outscored by a dozen runs). Detroit has not fared well against the majority of the AL Central, posting a 10-16 mark against Cleveland (3-7), Kansas City (4-6), and Minnesota (3-3), but they are 8-1 against Chicago this season to give them a divisional mark of 18-17 overall on the year.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Fiers has taken back-to-back no-decisions, including his most recent start against the Indians on June 9 when he allowed a run on five hits with a season-high eight strikeouts over seven innings in a 4-2 loss. He has pitched well against the Indians this season, giving up just two runs on eight hits in 13 innings of work, with both runs scoring via the long ball. He has posted just one decision in his last five outings after earning a decision in seven of his first eight starts. Length in ball games has been a rarity from Fiers, however, as he has completed the sixth inning just four times in 13 starts this year.
Bieber is looking to build off of his first Major League win in his last start, when he defeated the Minnesota Twins in his second straight start against them. The 23-year-old right-hander scattered ten hits over five and two-thirds innings, but held the Twins to just one run while striking out seven. He faced Minnesota at Target Field in his big league debut on May 31, allowing four runs on eight hits in five and two-thirds innings with a walk and six strikeouts, but came away with a no-decision as the Twins rallied back from an early 8-0 hole in the contest.
Saturday, June 23, 6:10 PM ET – TBD vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (6-5, 2.50)
The Tigers had not yet formally announced a starting pitcher for Saturday’s contest at the time of this story.
Bauer will look to continue a strong body of work against the Tigers this season. He is 3-0 in three starts against them and has allowed just three runs in 23 innings (1.17 ERA) while striking out 29 and walking three. He was flirting with the prospects of a complete game shutout in his last start, when he had allowed just three hits and two walks in seven shutout innings before rains in the top of the eighth inning ended his night prematurely.
The 27-year-old Boyd will make his first start against the Indians since April 10, when he limited the Tribe to a run on three hits in seven innings in a no-decision. He has pitched well of late, but has not gone deep into ball games for the Tigers for much of the season. In his last start, however, he was hurt for a season-high five runs on six hits in just four innings of work in a loss against the Reds. He has been tough on the Indians throughout his career, posting a 1.78 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in six games (five starts) and 35 1/3 innings of work.
Plutko will make his second career appearance and first start against the Tigers in the finale on Sunday. The 26-year-old rookie right-hander faced ten Detroit hitters in his second Major League appearance in late September of 2016, giving up three runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout. He last started for the Tribe on June 12, giving up five runs for the second straight outing while taking his first big league defeat. He worked two innings out of the bullpen on June 16, giving up a run on a solo homer and two hits in total in the 9-3 loss to Minnesota. He has worked against his minor league trends of good command and keeping the ball in the yard, allowing eight homers and eight walks in 25 innings of work this season with Cleveland.
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
Carlos Carrasco (SP) – 10-day disabled list (6/17) – right elbow contusion
Nick Goody (RP) – transferred to 60-day disabled list (5/31) – right elbow inflammation (since 5/3)
George Kontos (RP) – contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus (6/19)
Evan Marshall (RP) – 10-day disabled list (6/19) – right elbow inflammation
Ryan Merritt (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – left knee sprain; on rehab assignment
Andrew Miller (RP) – 10-day disabled list (5/26) – right knee inflammation
Tyler Olson (RP) – 10-day disabled list (6/17) – left latissimus dorsi strain
Danny Salazar (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – right shoulder rotator cuff tendonitis
Johnny Barbato (P) – recalled from Triple-A Toledo (6/20)
Miguel Cabrera (1B) – out for season (6/14) – recovery from June 2018 left biceps surgery
Ryan Carpenter (P) – 10-day disabled list (6/1) – right oblique strain
Francisco Liriano (SP) – 10-day disabled list (5/27) – right hamstring strain
Daniel Norris (P) – 60-day disabled list (4/30) – recovery from May 2018 left groin surgery
Daniel Stumpf (RP) – 10-day disabled list (5/29) – left ulnar nerve irritation
Drew VerHagen (P) – 10-day disabled list (6/20) – nasal fracture
TIGERS STATS AND NOTES
Some of the Tigers’ worst offensive numbers this season have come against the Indians. In ten games, they have hit a combined .194/.248/.316, marking season lows in batting average and on-base percentage against any one opponent faced. Their 91 strikeouts against Cleveland pitching are 24 more than the next closest opponent.
Nicholas Castellanos remains the main force in the Tigers lineup, especially with the season-ending biceps injury suffered by Cabrera. Castellanos has put up a .302/.344/.488 line at the plate with 22 doubles, three triples, nine homers, and 41 RBI. He is either first or second among active Tigers players in nearly every offensive category, including batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, doubles, triples, homers, RBI, hits, total bases, extra base hits, and intentional walks. Three of his homers and seven of his RBI for the year have come over the last week.
If the statistic is not led by Castellanos, chances are it is topped by Jeimer Candelario. The third baseman is the team leader with eleven home runs on the year and has added 15 doubles, three triples, and 31 RBI to his overall production while hitting .252 with a .358 on-base percentage. He has drawn more than twice as many walks as his right field teammate, but is two strikeouts behind him with 68.
Jose Iglesias has been the hottest hitter in the Tigers lineup over the last week. In the last five games, he has gone 7-for-17 (.412) with seven singles and three runs batted in.
JaCoby Jones enters the series with the Indians riding a seven-game hitting streak. He is hitting .308 in those games with eight hits, including a homer, and has driven in eight runs.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
Lonnie Chisenhall was held out of the Tribe lineup on Wednesday for the series finale with the White Sox while dealing with soreness in both of his calves. The Indians will hope that he is able to get back into action over the weekend as he had been one of the club’s top hitters of late. In his last five games, he has hit .455 (5-for-11) with a double, a triple, four walks, and one run batted in. In his 13 games since being activated from the disabled list, he is hitting .385 with a .467 on-base percentage, scoring six times and driving in four. He has also hit .385 against the Tigers this season.
Yan Gomes has picked up the production again at the plate with a strong week. In five games, he is 7-for-18 (.389) with three doubles, a homer, and five runs batted in.
Erik Gonzalez has been one of Cleveland’s best hitters this season against Detroit. He is 5-for-13 against them with a pair of doubles, a homer, and five RBI (one short of Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Jason Kipnis for the team lead against the Tigers).
Michael Brantley continues to lead qualified Indians hitters with a .315 average on the year. Ramirez is tops on the club with a .391 on-base percentage, 22 homers, and 50 RBI. Lindor’s 23 two-base hits leads the team.
HIT THE ROAD
With their nine-game homestand in the books, the Indians will hit the road for the Gateway City of St. Louis, where they will start a three-city, nine-game road trip with an interleague matchup against the Cardinals. A flight to Oakland for a series over the weekend will be next up for the Tribe, followed by a return to Missouri as the Indians visit the Kansas City Royals for the final three games of the trip.
The Tigers will go home for the silly one-team homestand, hosting the Oakland Athletics for four games beginning Monday afternoon in a 3:10 PM ET start.
Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images