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Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers series preview

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With a 2-4 record so far on this road trip through Minnesota and Chicago, the Tribe wrap up this divisional tour with their first foray to the Motor City and the Tigers.

The Tigers best pitcher so far in 2015, Shane Greene
The Tigers best pitcher so far in 2015, Shane Greene
Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Cleveland has won just one series this season, the opening one in Houston. Since then they have split one and lost every other series played. They try to stop that bad string by heading to Detroit to take on the Tigers, who swept the Indians in the home opening series.

  • Friday's game is at 7:08 PM (Salazar vs. Greene)
  • Saturday's game is at 1:08 PM (Bauer vs. Simon)
  • Sunday's game is at 1:08 PM (Carrasco vs. Lobstein)

After finishing this nine game divisional road trip, the Tribe heads home for the final of six straight series against divisional opponents, and our first look at the defending AL champions, the Kansas City Royals. The home stand will begin on Monday and then the Toronto Blue Jays will visit Progressive for four games before the next day off.

Division Watch: Royals at White Sox, Twins at Mariners.

Team in a Box

Detroit Tigers

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2015 Record

11-5

Runs/Game

4.8

5th

Runs/Game

3.5

3rd

AL Central

2nd

OBP

352

2nd

H/9

7.2

3rd

Last 10

5-5

SLG

439

4th

BB/9

2.9

7th

Last 30

-

Steals

13

3rd

SO/9

6.7

13th

The Tigers started out red hot, winning their first six against the Royals and Tigers. Since then they have cooled off a bit. The White Sox took two of the three against them at home last weekend, and the Yankees just took three of four at Comerica, including the last three in a row.

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Overall, the offense has been as advertised, but a lot of that was due to the sweep during the Tribe. In their past seven games they are averaging just 3.3 runs and 249/300/380 slash. The pitching has also regressed from the hot start, with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Defensively, they have just six errors in this young season.

Joe Nathan popped his UCL in his latest rehab assignment and will have Tommy John surgery, ending his 2015 season after recording just one out. Ian Krol was optioned yesterday and righthanded Alex Wilson takes his place.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Alex Avila

L

40

226

739

118

1B

Miguel Cabrera

R

68

367

991

177

2B

Ian Kinsler

R

70

262

638

77

3B

Nick Castellanos

R

62

259

746

105

SS

Jose Iglesias

R

54

396

932

165

LF

Yoenis Cespedes

R

64

311

902

146

CF

Anthony Gose

L

41

350

916

154

RF

JD Martinez

R

67

281

892

146

DH

Victor Martinez

S

49

231

624

65

C

James McCann

R

24

136

401

7

OF

Rajai Davis

R

39

273

779

125

UT

Andrew Romine

S

7

500

1214

257

IF

Hernan Perez

R

9

111

222

-47

The lineup has produced, especially some of the new additions. Cespedes and Gose both have looked very good. Victor is off to a slow start however. It may be residual from that spring training injury or it could be the start of his inevitable decline. The catching duo hasn't been very good. But J.D. Martinez definitely likes the water in Detroit, as he continues to wield a good stick. And Igelsius hasn't shown any rust from his 2014 injury.

In that first series, the only regulars who did not hit the Tribe pitching staff well, were J.D., Cespedes and the catching duo. The rest torched the staff at a 364/444/542 clip, including five home runs. Let's hope for some regression this series.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

David Price

L

3.28

2.90

24.2

1.26

8.0

Anibal Sanchez

R

5.96

4.79

22.2

1.28

9.9

Alfredo Simon

R

1.74

2.97

20.2

0.87

5.2

Shane Greene

R

0.39

2.76

23.0

0.74

4.3

Kyle Lobstein

L

3.27

3.61

11.0

1.55

4.9

Joakim Soria

R

1.35

1.86

6.2

0.30

5.4

Joba Chamberlain

R

0.00

1.68

4.1

0.92

6.2

Al Alburquerque

R

8.31

7.68

4.1

2.08

8.3

Tom Gorzelanny

L

2.70

2.92

6.2

1.20

6.8

Angel Nesbitt

R

1.42

2.43

6.1

0.79

7.1

Blaine Hardy

L

8.10

4.42

6.2

2.10

4.1

Alex Wilson*

R

0.00

-

5.1

0.94

8.4

* Stats with AAA Toledo Mud Hens

The scheduling gods are with the Tribe once again as they miss both Price and Sanchez (although Price was clobbered by the Yankees on Wednesday). Hopefully they take advantage of it unlike in Chicago. Greene has been the best pitcher for Detroit so far. He has an unsustainable WHIP and doesn't appear to strike out a lot of guys either. He did beat Cleveland in his only start last year with the Yankees. Simon has also been much better than anticipated. The Tribe has hit him the hardest of his three 2015 starts, 3 runs in 5.1 innings. Lobstein also beat the Tribe in the first series, giving up three runs in five innings, but did allow 11 baserunners.

Soria notched two saves in that first series, but did allow one run. Other than Hardy, the Tigers bullpen did their job. Krol and Alburquerque were the only ones to give up any runs besides Hardy. Wilson spent the last few seasons with the Red Sox and has made just three appearances against the Indians.

On the Shelf

  • RP Joe Nathan [15 day DL], out for season
  • RP Bruce Rondon [15 day DL], possible late April return
  • SP Justin Verlander [15 day DL], possible May return

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

0

3

000

15

25

282

2014

8

11

421

87

103

423

Last 5*

37

55

402

364

490

367

Last 10*

82

101

448

805

932

433

All-Time

1050

1100

485

9607

9922

485

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: With the offense still in a deep freeze, I see the same record as in the previous two, 1-2. They "should" beat Simon, but couldn't do it last time. And who knows what the offense will do against the leftie. Greene has pitched very well, so I think they beat him, just to go against the grain, and then lose the final two.