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Series preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers

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It seems like months ago that the Indians swept the Tigers.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians are heading in opposite directions since their last series a week ago. While Detroit has rattled off six straight, the Indians are coming off a sweep suffered at the bats of the Philadelphia Phillies. One series earlier, they barely scratched out a win against the lowly Minnesota Twins. If Cleveland's fortunes do not turn around quickly, this series could be ugly.

The American League Central rivals will play a trio of 6:10 p.m. starts over the next three days, with a high chance of rain on Wednesday.

Matchups:

  • Tuesday, 6:10 p.m. ET: Josh Tomlin (RHP) vs. Justin Verlander (RHP)
  • Wednesday, 6:10 p.m. ET: Corey Kluber (RHP) vs. Anibal Sanchez (RHP)
  • Thursday, 6:10 p.m. ET: Trevor Bauer (RHP) vs. Michael Fulmer (RHP)

The Josh Tomlin-Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber-Anibal Sanchez matchups are identical to the last time these two teams met, but Trevor Bauer-Michael Fulmer is new for both teams. The third matchup probably would have Carlos Carrasco-Shane Greene again, just like in the last series, but both pitchers went down with injuries on the same day. Carrasco with his strained hamstring and Greene with a blister on his middle finger.

Bauer, as we know, will be replacing Carrasco, while Michael Fulmer was recently promoted by the Tigers to replace Greene. Fulmer threw five innings in his major league debut against the Twins, striking out four and allowing two earned runs on four hits. Hopefully, the Indians will be able to take advantage of a new pitcher and get the offense back on track.

Upcoming schedule: Following this series, the Indians will face another division rival, the Kansas City Royals, before heading on the road for a three-game series against the Houston Astros. They will then return to Progressive Field once more to face the Twins.

Team in a Box

Detroit Tigers

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

Record

14-10

R/G

4.79

2nd

ERA

3.74

8th

AL Central

2nd

OBP

.323

3rd

HR/9

0.80

3rd

Last 10

6-4

SLG

.433

3rd

BB/9

3.36

13th

Streak

W6

Steals

8

12th

SO/9

7.07

14th

The advantage for the Indians, at least on paper, is the same as it was last series -- Tigers pitching walks a lot of batters and they do not strike many out. As we are all aware from watching this team struggle through April, they will take walks until hell freezes over and they enjoy striking out like mid-40s online dating profiles enjoy long walks on the beach and mimosas.

Unfortunately, the Tigers offense could not be hotter coming into today. Miguel Cabrera, in particular, took off as soon as the Tigers were swept by the Indians. Victor Martinez is the offensive leader for the Tigers so far this season, slashing .350/.409/.663 for a wRC+ of 203. He has also only struck out in 10.2 percent of his at-bats.

Tigers position players

  • C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
  • 1B: Miguel Cabrera
  • 2B: Ian Kinsler
  • SS: Jose Iglesias
  • 3B: Nick Castellanos
  • LF: Justin Upton
  • CF: Anthony Gose
  • RF: J.D. Martinez
  • DH: Victor Martinez

Tigers Bench

  • C: Bobby Wilson
  • IF: Mike Aviles
  • OF: Andrew Romine

Tigers starting rotation

  • RHP: Justin Verlander
  • RHP: Anibal Sanchez
  • RHP: Jordan Zimmerman
  • RHP: Mike Pelfrey
  • RHP: Michael Fulmer

Tigers bullpen

  • RHP: Francisco Rodriguez
  • RHP: Mark Lowe
  • LHP: Justin Wilson
  • LHP: Blaine Hardy
  • RHP: Drew VerHagen
  • RHP: Alex Wilson
  • LHP: Kyle Ryan
  • RHP: Buck Farmer

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