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Series preview: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians

After a very successful road trip, the Tribe come home for Labor Day to take on the Tigers in the opener of a four-game set.

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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Trailing the Detroit Tigers by just three games, the Indians start a four-game set at Progressive Field against them. They last met right after the All-Star break, when the Tribe took three of four in the Motor City.

  • Monday's game is at 4:00 PM (Price vs. Kluber) [ESPN; MLB.TV free game of the day]
  • Tuesday's game is at 7:05 PM (Lobstein vs. Carrasco)
  • Wednesday's game is at 7:05 PM (Verlander vs. Salazar)
  • Thursday's game is at 7:05 PM (Scherzer vs. Bauer)

This is Cleveland's longest homestand of the season. After the four with the Tigers, the White Sox visit for three and the Twins will follow for three more. And as an added bonus, the Angels will swing by for a makeup game next Monday before the Twins series starts.

Playoff Watch: Rangers at Royals, Mariners at A's, Red Sox at Yankees, Blue Jays Rays

Team in a Box

Detroit Tigers

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2014 Record

74-62

Runs/Game

4.7

2nd

Runs/Game

4.4

9th

AL Central

2nd

OBP

330

1st

H/9

9.1

11th

Last 10

6-4

SLG

424

1st

BB/9

2.9

6th

Last 30

15-15

Steals

92

3rd

SO/9

7.7

6th

The Indians have taken seven of the twelve meetings so far this season and have outscored them by five runs in those twelve games. Since the teams last met, the Tigers have treaded right at the .500 mark. They were also very active at the trade deadline. They picked up Joakim Soria from the Rangers, but he is currently on the DL. They then went out and secured the services of David Price through next season, but it cost them Drew Smyly and Austin Jackson to do so. And then Anibal Sanchez landed on the DL as well.

While they still lead the league in many offensive categories, they haven't fared well in the past month. As a team they have a 697 OPS and scored 4.4 runs per game, both down significantly from the season total. Their team ERA is also up in the past month (4.28) and the WHIp is an unsightly 1.395. Defensively, they are obviously better than the Indians, but are still a bottom third defensive team.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

C

Alex Avila

L

400

221

692

1B

Miguel Cabrera (DTD)

R

575

299

850

2B

Ian Kinsler

R

610

280

733

3B

Nick Castellanos

R

477

262

720

SS

Eugenio Suarez

R

238

249

684

LF

J.D. Martinez

R

373

304

885

CF

Rajai Davis

R

420

285

740

RF

Torii Hunter

R

475

282

768

DH

Victor Martinez

S

535

327

950

IF

Andrew Romine

S

221

211

526

OF

Ezequiel Carrera

L

52

280

688

UT

Don Kelly

L

163

259

647

C

Bryan Holaday

R

137

234

546

C

James McCann*

R

460

295

770

IF

Hernan Perez*

R

596

287

735

OF

Steven Moya**

L

549

276

861

OF

Tyler Collins*

L

522

263

760

* Stats with Toledo Mud Hens; ** Stats with Erie Sea Wolves

With today being September 1, the rosters have expanded. The Tigers have aded two outfielders, a catcher and another infielder. With Jackson's departure, Davis slides over to center and J.D. Martinez now plays every day. Miguel Cabrera left the second game on Saturday with a sore right ankle, and missed Sunday's game. He might be limited in this series. If he can't play the field, Victor may be forced to put on a glove as Brad Ausmus would be crazy to sit Victor. Honestly, Victor is the Tigers offensive MVP this season over Cabrera anyway.

In the dozen games played this year, Avila has been the biggest thorn with a 1104 OP and two homers. Victor is hitting at a 989 clip and has four dingers. But J.D. Martinez has ten RBI to go along with his three bombs and 986 OP. Oh and Cabrera is his usual self, 983 OPS. Kelly has been awful, 292 OPS, as has Suarez (396) and Davis (601).

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

WHIP

K/9

Max Scherzer

R

3.26

187.2

1.151

10.6

David Price

L

3.32

203.1

1.057

9.9

Justin Verlander

R

4.68

171.1

1.447

6.9

Rick Porcello

R

3.10

180.0

1.144

5.5

Kyle Lobstein*

L

4.07

146.0

1.479

7.8

Joe Nathan

R

5.14

49.0

1.551

9.0

Joba Chamberlain

R

3.50

54.0

1.315

8.7

Al Alburquerque

R

2.61

48.1

1.221

10.4

Phil Coke

L

4.11

50.1

1.450

6.8

Blaine Hardy

L

2.12

34.0

1.176

7.4

Pat McCoy

L

4.26

12.2

2.447

7.1

Jim Johnson##

R

7.38

46.1

2.050

6.2

Evan Reed

R

4.60

29.1

1.636

8.0

Robbie Ray

L

7.09

26.2

1.800

6.1

# Includes stats with Rays; ## Includes stats with A's; * Stats with Toledo Mud Hens

As this is a four game series, the only starter missed is Porcello. The opener will be the lefty Price. He has been hit and miss since the trade. He had a great outing against the Rays two starts ago, but was throttled by the Yankees in his last start. He gave up 12 hits and 8 runs in just two innings of work. He hasn't pitched against the Tribe yet this year but is 5-1 in seven career starts, 3.12 ERA, 1.200 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. Lobstein is yet another lefty who has two career MLB starts, both in August. He was average against the Twins, but pitched well against the Yankees.

Verlander has not been himself this year. He has a 4.08 ERA, 1.465 WHIP and 8.5 K/9 in his past five starts. He has made three starts against the Tribe this year, is 1-1 and a 3.50 ERA, 1.6667 WHIP and 8.5 K/9. Scherzer has also been more hittable this season. He has a 3.38 ERA, 0.952 WHIP and 12.7 K/9 in his past five starts, but the White Sox did put up five runs on him in his last start. He also has made three starts this year, is 1-0 with a 4.82 ERA, 1.714 WHIP and 8.2 K/9.

The bullpen has been a hot mess all year long. Nathan has been hit hard and often. Even Chamberlain has caught a bit of the DBS (Detroit Bullpen Syndrome) the past month, 5.23 ERA in 10.1 innings. Albuquerque looks to be having the best year overall. They were hard up enough to sign Jim Johnson, who the Indians sure hope to face this series after what they did to him in April in Oakland. The Tribe has scored six off Nathan and Ian Krol (who was demoted). They also have five off Alburquerque but haven't scored off Chamberlian yet in his 6.2 innings.

On the Shelf

  • LF Andy Dirks [60 day DL], out for season
  • SS Jose Iglesias [60 day DL], out for season
  • RP Bruce Rondon [60 day DL], out for season
  • RP Joel Hanrahan [15 day DL], no timetable for return
  • RP Luke Putkonen [60 day DL], possible September return
  • SP Anibel Sanchez [15 day DL], no timetable for return
  • RP Joakim Soria [15 day DL], possible September return

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2014

7

5

583

63

58

538

2013

4

15

211

70

120

272

Last 5*

33

58

363

340

479

348

Last 10*

83

100

454

816

965

424

All-Time

1049

1091

490

9568

9852

487

*Does not include 2014 stats

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