The last series against the Pirates was not fun. The Indians dropped 2 of 3, and they were outscored in those losses 16-4. But they avoided the sweep for what seems like the 27th time this season, so that was a positive. Now, they head to the Motor City to take on an abysmal Detroit Tigers team.
Following this weekend series against Detroit, Cleveland will make their way to Target Field to face the Minnesota Twins for three games before heading back to Cleveland to host the Los Angeles Angels for three games. The Tigers, on the other hand, will continue their play against Ohio teams by welcoming the Cincinnati Reds for two games before flying out west to California to take on the Oakland Athletics for three games.
Friday, July 27 7:10 p.m. ET: Carlos Carrasco (RHP) v. Mike Fiers (RHP)
So far in the month of July, Carrasco has only given up 6 earned runs in 18 innings, so maybe the right hander is turning it around after his earlier season struggles. Collectively in 2018, Carrasco has, in 109.1 innings, allowed 49 earned runs while walking 24 and striking out 120 (which translates to an ERA+ of 110). His most recent start came on July 21 against the Texas Rangers; in that game, Cookie went 6.2 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 8.
Mike Fiers is in the middle of his best season since his final season with Milwaukee in 2014. And even then, Fiers only pitched 71.2 innings, which has been eclipsed this season by almost 40 innings. So far this season, Fiers has pitched in 111.0 innings and has allowed 43 earned runs while walking 24 and striking out 82 (which translates to an ERA+ of 126). Hist most recent start came on July 21 against the Boston Red Sox; in that game, Fiers went 6.1 innings and allowed no runs on 7 hits while walking 3 and striking out 6.
Saturday, July 28 6:10 p.m. ET: Mike Clevinger (RHP) v. Francisco Liriano (LHP)
Mike Clevinger has had two fairly poor starts in the month of July sandwiched by two quality starts, so what you’re going to get this weekend is really up in the air. Overall this season, however, Clevinger has pitched extremely well. Across 128.2 innings of work, Clevinger has allowed 49 earned runs while walking 44 and striking out 125 (which translates to an ERA+ of 129). His most recent start came on July 22 against the Rangers; in that game, Sunshine went 6.2 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 4 hits while walking 4 and striking out 7.
Francisco Liriano is having a tough year. He was out earlier this season with a hamstring injury and hasn’t been effective during the time when he’s actually been on the mound. Across 83.2 innings, Liriano has allowed 44 earned runs while walking 48 and striking out 69 (which translates to an ERA+ of 93). His most recent start came on July 23 against the Kansas City Royals; in that game, Liriano went 4.2 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 6 hits while walking 3 and striking out 6.
Sunday, July 29 1:10 p.m. ET: Corey Kluber (RHP) v. Jordan Zimmermann (RHP)
The hot takes were flying after Kluber’s most recent start when he was done after just four innings. After that game on July 23, Kluber said that his knee was fine and that it was a mechanical issue that was causing him to pitch ineffectively. However, Kluber is one to grit his teeth and pitch through anything he can, so take his diagnosis on his knee with a grain of salt. In that game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kluber went 4.0 innings and allowed 3 earned runs (7 total thanks to some wonderful errors) on 9 hits while walking 1 and striking out 2. Overall on the season, Kluber has pitched in 137.2 innings and has allowed 44 earned runs while walking 18 and striking out 134 (which translates to an ERA+ of 154).
Similar to Liriano, Jordan Zimmermann has missed time this season due to an injury, However, unlike Liriano, Zimmermann has pitched well during his time on the mound this season. Across 68.0 innings, Zimmermann has allowed 30 earned runs while walking 12 and striking out 65 (which translates to an ERA+ of 111). His most recent start came on July 24 against the Kansas City Royals; in that game, Zimmermann went 5.0 innings and allowed 4 earned runs on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 4.
Players to watch
- Nick Castellanos - The best offensive player on the club this season and by a wide margin, Castellanos is in the middle of his best season yet. Across 433 plate appearances, Castellanos owns a slash line of .298/.351/.505 (which translates to a wRC+ of 131). He leads his team in many categories, including doubles (30), home runs (15), and RBIs (56), so expect him to be a force at the plate this weekend.
- John Hicks - Hicks is also in the middle of his best year offensively, although it’s not nearly as impressive as the year that Castellanos is having. Across 282 plate appearances, Hicks owns a slash of .271/.327/.430 (which translates to a wRC+ of 106). He hasn’t really been leading the Tigers in any category, but he’s been consistent across the board, he can hit for a bit of power and can get on base with some regularity.
- Joe Jimenez - Signed as an amateur free agent in 2013, Jimenez has rocketed through the Detroit system and is now one of the premiere relief pitchers on the team. His incredible work this year resulted in his first All-Star appearance at the age of 23 (I’m 25, what am I doing with my life?). This season, across 45.0 innings, Jimenez has allowed 13 earned runs while walking 12 and striking out 53 (which translates to an ERA+ of 170). He hardly allows anyone on base (1.067 WHIP), barely gives up home runs (0.4 HR/9), and he strikes out over a batter per inning (10.6 K/9). Watch out for Jimenez this weekend.
- Alex Wilson - The veteran righty is having a good season after having just a mediocre one last year. Across 40.2 innings, Wilson has allowed 15 earned runs while walking 10 and striking out 25 (which translates to an ERA+ of 160). He doesn’t strike anyone out, but he really doesn’t let anyone on base (1.008 WHIP). His FIP (4.42) would indicate that something has to give eventually, but for now, Wilson is a great arm out of the ‘pen for Detroit.
Stop trying to make Nick Castellanos happen...
In a recent article over on Cleveland.com, one of the potential outfield targets suggested for the Indians was Nick Castellanos. As much as that would be fantastic, it’s not going to happen. Castellanos is the best player on the Tigers, and he’s controlled through next year. If the Tigers think he can help them next season and if they hope to compete at all, he will be a part of it. Plus, the Tigers probably don’t want to help the Indians, and wouldn’t it be the worst if whoever the Indians sent in a trade decided to turn into the next great Cleveland killer?
...with that being said, please get some outfield help
While Castellanos may be nothing more than a pipe dream at this point, it doesn’t change the fact that the Indians need help in the outfield. As the trade deadline looms near, the team is running out of time to make a move. Expect talks and rumors to heat up over the weekend.
The struggles of Corey Kluber
I’m not convinced that Kluber is 100% healthy. I want him to be, but I’m just not sold. His next start will come with an extra day of rest, so hopefully this conversation is moot after Sunday. But if it’s truly a mechanical issue and not a physical one, I’m confident that Kluber can self-correct and get back to being dominant. But please, please don’t be a lingering injury.
Detroit Tigers roster
How many games will the Indians win against the Tigers?
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