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Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers series preview

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Another two out of three from Detroit may make them sellers at the trade deadline.

Cleveland Indians v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians were supposed to play the Detroit Tigers four times last weekend, but the Cleveland weather thought otherwise and limited that series to just three contests. Despite the shortened series, Cleveland took two of three from their AL Central rival. After that series, Cleveland went on to lose two of three to the San Diego Padres while the Tigers took two of three from an equally terrible (IN THE) NL West team in the San Francisco Giants.

Pitching matchups

Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Jordan Zimmermann (RHP) vs. Carlos Carrasco (RHP)

Hey look, it’s Jordan Zimmermann vs. Carlos Carrasco once again! These two faced off last Saturday. Both pitchers looked solid for the duration of their starts except for Zimmermann in the sixth inning when he gave up four runs. His overall numbers for the year are still pretty bad: 92.0 IP, 57 ER, 29 BB, 65 K (ERA+ of 79). Look for Carlos Santana to exact some revenge in response to Zimmermann throwing at him last weekend.

Carrasco is still excellent. He cruised through 7.0 innings last weekend against the Tigers and allowed just one run on four hits while walking one and striking out seven. On the year, he continues to look like the ace of the staff (you know, until that other guy pitches) with 97.2 IP, 38 ER, 26 BB, and 103 K (ERA+ of 135). Hopefully Carlos continues to mow down the Tigers like last weekend.

Saturday, 7:15 p.m. ET: Justin Verlander (RHP) vs. Mike Clevinger (RHP)

Hey look, it’s Justin Verlander vs. Mike Clevinger once again!...wait, this seems odd. If it wasn’t midnight, I would dig around FanGraphs to find out when the last time the same pitchers matched up in back to back starts for these two teams, but I’m struggling to type this as we speak. Anyway, Verlander will definitely be seeking vengeance on Saturday since his last start against Cleveland was absolutely abysmal. The Tribe knocked Verlander out of the game after just 3.1 innings after he gave up seven earned runs on nine hits. He also walked three and struck out no one, ending his 331 game streak of recording a strikeout. Mmmm, beautiful. His season stats aren’t good either; in 98.0 innings, he’s allowed 54 earned runs while walking 47 and striking out 92 (ERA+ of 89).

Mike Clevinger, on the other hand, has looked stunning so far this season at the major league level. When he faced Detroit last weekend, he bested Justin Verlander and went 6.0 innings and allowed just one run on two hits while walking five (yikes) and striking out seven. On the season, he’s gone 54.0 innings and has allowed just 20 earned runs while walking 29 and striking out 62 (ERA+ of 143). Here’s to another solid outing against Detroit, Mike!

Sunday, 8:05 p.m. ET: Michael Fulmer (RHP) vs. Corey Kluber (RHP)

No repeat matchup here, but you couldn’t ask for a better duel before heading into the All-Star Break. The 2016 Rookie of the Year goes toe to toe with the 2014 Cy Young winner in a game that will be broadcast nationally for all to behold. Michael Fulmer continues to be a bright spot on an otherwise underwhelming Detroit Tigers team. His last start came on July 4 against the Giants when he went 8.0 innings and allowed just 3 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 5. His season numbers prove that his rookie campaign was no fluke; in 109.2 innings, Fulmer has allowed just 39 earned runs while walking 25 and striking out 83 (ERA+ of 137, exactly the same as it was a year ago).

Corey Kluber. You know him, you love him. The Klubot has been better this season than he was last season, albeit in fewer innings because of some injury issues early on in the season. In Tuesday’s game against the Padres, Kluber absolutely dominated the opposition for eight innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits while walking one and striking out 10. Enough for the win, right? Wrong, the Indians got shut out. On the season, Kluber has thrown 88.1 innings and has allowed just 28 earned runs while walking 21 and striking out 115 (ERA+ of 166). Cleveland, let’s not waste another Kluber gem, yeah?

Storylines

A repeat to head into the break?

Cleveland took two of three last weekend against the Tigers. The season series now stands at 4-5 in favor of Detroit, so taking the series this weekend would put the Indians on top heading into the second half. Detroit may very well be sellers at the deadline, and a series loss here could help nudge them in that direction.

Where are you, Francisco Lindor?

Francisco Lindor was named to the AL All-Star team this season much to the surprise of a lot of people. He started the season red hot but has since gone ice cold and hasn’t really recovered. Over his last 117 plate appearances, Lindor is sporting a slash line of .220/.274/.358, which is terrible no matter how you look at it. Because he will be participating in the All-Star Game, Lindor’s break won’t be as lengthy as some of his teammates, so he’s going to need to start hitting out of his slump if he wants to have a good second half. Using this series to propel him into the All-Star Game and the rest of the season could be a good way to get the resurgence started.

Can Verlander strike anyone out?

After his outing last weekend, Justin Verlander’s streak of 331 games with a strikeout came to an end. ESPN tweeted out that that was the tenth longest streak in the Live Ball Era. Verlander has never in his career had back to back games in which he did not strike out a batter. Could the 34 year old have a first in his career this weekend?

Detroit Tigers roster

FanGraphs

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    3
    (44 votes)
  • 44%
    2
    (46 votes)
  • 5%
    1
    (6 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (7 votes)
103 votes total Vote Now