Sunday September 6th 2015, 1:08 ET, Comerica Park
TV: STO, MLB.TV
Radio: WTAM C
Well, that was a disappointing night. Whatever "it" is, Danny Salazar lacked, and the offense yet again struggled against one of those "nemesis" pitchers who only ever seems to do well against the Tribe.
Cody Anderson takes the mound today, having performed a solid job in two starts since returning from the DL following a strained left oblique injury. Anderson started the season in AA and was promoted to the bigs in mid-season when the Tribe were all but out of other options (with Floyd, Tomlin and House injured, and McAllister, Chen, Marcum and Murata all tried and discarded). Four fine outings were promptly followed by four poor ones as Anderson's lack of strikeout ability left him highly vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the BABIP gods. Let's hope they are looking favorably upon him today.
After last night's woeful shutout (largely) at the hands of the junkballer Alfredo Simon, the offense will be looking to do better now that they face a "proper" pitcher again. And pitchers don't come more "proper" than former Cy Young winner/MVP Justin Verlander. Having missed the first two months of the season with a right triceps strain, the 32yo initially struggled on his return. It appeared for a while that he was well past his best, but he has really pulled things together of late. In August he held opponents to a 1.73 average with a 1.50 ERA, including a 1-hit CGSO against the Angels in his penulimate start. He wasn't quite so good in his last start against the Royals, but still only allowed two earned runs in 6.2 IP.
According to Jonah Keri in this recent Grantland article, Verlander's revival owes much to his increased fastball usage, particularly in two-strike counts. That might be something interesting to keep an eye on this afternoon.
Historically, the Tribe has fared relatively well against Verlander, whom they have faced 41 times with the pitcher holding a narrow 18-16 advantage. Verlander actually made his belated seasonal debut against the Tribe, going 5 IP for 2 ER (one of which was a solo homer by Carlos Santana) with a no-decision.
|CLEVELAND INDIANS||DETROIT TIGERS|
|Jason Kipnis - 2B||Anthony Gose - CF|
|Francisco Lindor - SS||Dixon Machado - SS|
|Michael Brantley - DH||Miguel Cabrera - DH|
|Carlos Santana - 1B||J.D. Martinez - RF|
|Lonnie Chisenhall - RF||Victor Martinez - 1B|
|Yan Gomes - C||Nick Castellanos - 3B|
|Abraham Almonte - CF||Tyler Collins - LF|
|Jose Ramirez - 3B||James McCann - C|
|Michael Martinez - LF||Andrew Romine - 2B|
|Cody Anderson - RHP||Justin Verlander - RHP|
Quite a few changes from yesterday. Of course, Gomes back in for Perez was automatic, and Ramirez for the (out-of-sorts?) Urshela also makes some sense. However, I'm not thrilled about the light-hitting Martinez in LF. Perhaps Tito is trying to prove to everyone that Aviles really is an indispensable part of the team?