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Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers preview

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The Tigers managed to get worse since the last meeting.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are not good at baseball this year. They currently sit in fourth place in the AL Central with a record of 58-74. And yesterday evening, they managed to get worse by trading Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels. They also tried to send Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros, but Verlander rejected the deal. In short, the Tigers have thrown in the towel on the 2017 season and it is glorious. They welcome the AL Central/almost AL leading Cleveland Indians, who own a beautiful 76-56 record.

The Indians just finished up a sweep of the New York Yankees as well as a sweep of the Kansas City Royals and have currently won their last 7 games. Detroit, on the other hand, just won a series against the Colorado Rockies immediately after losing a series to the Chicago White Sox.

UPDATE: In the middle of typing this article, Justin Verlander changed his mind and is actually going to the Houston Astros. So the Tigers are even worse than when I started typing this article:

Pitching matchups

Friday, 1:10 p.m. ET: Carlos Carrasco (RHP) vs. Matt Boyd (LHP)

The first game of Friday’s day-night double header is the makeup of the June 30 game that was rained out. To kick off the weekend, Carlos Carrasco will face off against Matt Boyd. Boyd has been absolutely terrible this season. It doesn’t matter if you look at traditional stats (5-8 record, 6.13 ERA) or more advanced stats (4.70 FIP, 1.719 WHIP, 72 ERA+), he is not good at hurling baseballs. On the season, he’s pitched in 98.1 innings and allowed 67 earned runs while walking 42 and striking out 80. His most recent outing came on August 27 against the White Sox. In that game, he went 6.0 innings and allowed 5 runs on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7.

Cookie, on the other hand, has been exceptional this season. He would be the ace on many teams, but he’s #2 on the Indians behind Corey Kluber. So far in 2017, Carrasco has, in 157.1 innings, allowed 66 earned runs while walking 40 and striking out 175 (good for an ERA+ of 123). His last start came on August 27 against the Royals. In that game, Carlos went 7.0 innings and allowed zero runs on 6 hits while walking zero and striking out 8.

Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Mike Clevinger (RHP) vs. Buck Farmer (RHP)

A few hours after game 1 concludes, both teams will re-rack and play game 2, the official first game of the series. The night cap features Mike Clevinger facing off against Buck Farmer. Farmer hasn’t been much better than Boyd, but he’s also pitched fewer innings. In 2017, Farmer has thrown 23.1 innings and has allowed 16 earned runs while walking 5 and striking out 25 (good for an ERA+ of 73). His last start came on August 26 against the White Sox; in that game, Farmer went 5.2 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3.

Sunshine has done extremely well for the Indians in 2017. Across 94.1 innings, Clevinger has allowed 39 earned runs while walking 50 and striking out 108 (good for an ERA+ of 125). His last start came on August 26 against the Royals; in that game, Clevinger went 6.0 innings and allowed zero earned runs on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 9.

Saturday, 6:10 p.m. ET: Corey Kluber (RHP) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (RHP)

Jordan ZImmermann has been steadily declining since his stellar 2014 season and is, by some accounts, having the worst season of his career. In 2017, Zimmermann has, in 145.0 innings, allowed 98 earned runs (most in a single season in his career) while walking 42 and striking out 94 (good for an ERA+ of 73). He’s also allowed 29 home runs, which is another career high. His last start came on August 28 against the Colorado Rockies; in that game, Jordan went 5.0 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 9 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3.

Corey Kluber is good. You know this. I know this. I’m pretty sure my aunt’s dog laying on the floor at my feat while I type this article knows this. If it weren’t for a certain lefty in Boston, Corey Kluber would be running away with the AL Cy Young award right now. Sadly, we’ll have to settle for the best pitcher since the All-Star Break and the eventual World Series MVP. In 160.2 innings this season, Kluber has allowed just 47 earned runs while walking 33 and striking out 215 (good for an ERA+ of 176; the best of his career).

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. ET: TBD (RHP) vs. Michael Fulmer (RHP)

With Justin Upton and Justin Verlander now gone, Michael Fulmer is the most valuable player on the Tigers in terms of WAR with 2.7. While he hasn’t been as dominant as his rookie season a year ago, he’s still had a good year for Detroit in 2017. In 164.2 innings, Fulmer has allowed 70 earned runs while walking 40 and striking out 114 (good for an ERA+ of 116). His most recent start came on August 29 against the Rockies; in that game, Fulmer went 6.1 innings and allowed 5 earned runs on 8 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3.

Today’s game would be Bauer’s turn in the rotation, but since his game got pushed to 8/30, it’s unlikely that he will start. Maybe it will be Josh Tomlin, who was slated to start on Wednesday but did not due to the double header. Or maybe it’ll be a bullpen game and every pitcher in the bullpen will throw exactly 17 pitches. Or the corpse of Bob Feller will be reanimated and will shut down the Tigers. Someone will definitely pitch for the Indians on Sunday.

Storylines

Do the Tigers even care anymore?

With the departure of Justin Upton and Justin Verlander the day before September, the Tigers are even more officially in tank mode than before. With rosters expanding, there’s a good chance that a lot of the younger call-ups will get some playing time this weekend since these games really don’t mean anything to the Tigers. Or, because they’re managed by Brad Ausmus, they will probably find more things to complain about.

Keeping pace with the Astros

The Cleveland Indians have closed the gap with the Astros to just a handful of games, meaning that a great week for Cleveland and a bad week for Houston could mean that the AL will have a new leader. That being said, the Indians need to beat up on lesser teams (such as the Tigers) and cannot let up if they hope to nab the #1 seed.

Detroit Tigers roster

FanGraphs

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    4
    (80 votes)
  • 51%
    3
    (97 votes)
  • 4%
    2
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    1
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    0
    (4 votes)
190 votes total Vote Now