clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

Back to your regularly scheduled AL Central programming

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians are still alive when it comes to the Ohio Cup after splitting the two-game series with the Reds. Now they head back into the AL Central with a weekend series against the Detroit Tigers. Unlike the Reds, who were bad and should be good, the Tigers are bad and should be bad.

Team in a box

2019 Detroit Tigers

Record 25-40
Record 25-40
Runs Scored 233
Runs Allowed 348
Run Differential -115
Streak L1
AVG .231
OBP .294
SLG .380
OPS .674
wRC+ 78
K/9 8.14
BB/9 3.35

The Tigers have assumed the role of “worst offense in baseball” with the worst wRC+ in the league. Don’t celebrate too quickly though; the Indians are only 3 points better. What this says to me is that this series may be an exercise in futility when it comes to scoring runs. On the other hand, the Tribe pitching is far superior to the Detroit pitching, so there is that.

Projected starters

Friday, June 14 7:10 p.m. ET: LHP Ryan Carpenter (v. Adam Plutko)

Ryan Carpenter made his debut last season and was pretty awful. This year, he’s been about the same level of awful in the same number of games (and seven additional innings). Across 29.2 innings this season, Carpenter has allowed 26 earned runs while walking 7 and striking out 19 (ERA+ 61). His main pitches are his slider (82 mph) that doesn’t seem to fool hitters into swinging and missing and his fourseam (91 mph) that tends to be a flyball pitch. He’s also got a sinker (91 mph) that generates flyballs and a change (84 mph) that also doesn’t cause hitters to swing and miss. He rounds out the arsenal with big curve (77 mph) that gets flyballs but not whiffs. His most recent start came on June 9 against the Minnesota Twins; in that game, Carpenter went 3.2 innings and allowed 8 earned runs on 10 hits while walking 1 and striking out 1.

Saturday, June 15 6:10 p.m. ET: TBD (v. Shane Bieber)

FanGraphs thinks that this will be Buck Farmer on the hill for Detroit, so Buck Farmer it is. Used as mainly a reliever, Farmer will be starting just the 22nd game of his career and just the second of this season. So far in 2019, across 25.1 innings, Farmer has allowed 14 earned runs while walking 8 and striking out 29 (ERA+ 96). He’s got a good fastball (95 mph) that gets a decent amount of ground balls, a great slider (82 mph) that’s a good whiff and groundball pitch, and a change (88 mph) that’s an extreme ground ball pitch. His most recent start (his only start of the season) came on June 8 against the Twins; in that game, Farmer went 2.0 innings and allowed 1 earned run on 2 hits while walking 1 and striking out 4.

Sunday, June 16 1:10 p.m. ET: RHP Spencer Turnbull (v. Trevor Bauer)

If you’re looking for the premiere match-up of the series, look no further than Turnbull v. Bauer. Spencer Turnbull has been excellent for the Tigers this season, which is good in a season where not much is going right. Across 77.2 innings, Turnbull has allowed just 24 earned runs while walking 29 and striking out 73 (ERA+ 171). He focuses mainly on his sinking fourseam (94 mph), his slider (87 mph), and his sinker (95 mph), all of which are great groundball pitches. He’ll also use a curve (80 mph) at times. His most recent start came on June 11 against the Kansas City Royals; in that game, Turnbull went 6.0 innings and allowed 0 runs on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5.

Lineup highlights

Oof, not a fun section for the Detroit Tigers.

  • CF JaCoby Jones: While the rest of the team has been struggling, JaCoby Jones is coming into work each day and doing his thing. Which, as of this year, means being a positive contributor at the plate. That has not been the norm so far in his career. But this season, across 193 plate appearances, Jones is slashing .257/.333/.462 (wRC+ 110). He leads his team in home runs with 8, too. JaCoby Jones is having a good, not great, season, and he represents the best that the Tigers have to offer on offense. Ouch.
  • 1B Brandon Dixon: This is Brandon Dixon’s first season with Detroit (he was with the Reds last season) and his second season in the majors in general, and he’s already made drastic improvements to his awful 2018 campaign. Across 121 plate appearances this season, Dixon is slashing .289/.307/.496 (wRC+ 109). He does not walk (3.1% BB%) and he strikes out a ton (32.3%) yet he’s been the second best hitter for the Tigers this year. Double ouch.
  • RF Nick Castellanos: Remember when all the Cleveland fans wanted to trade for Castellanos? Well he hasn’t been nearly good enough at the plate this year to justify his absolute butchery of right field. Across 278 plate appearances, Castellanos is slashing .260/.317/.449 (wRC+ 101). He’s played the most amount of innings for the Tigers so far this year, but he is a liability in the field. Unless his offensive numbers tick up soon, it’ll be hard to justify him continuing to play in the field. On the other hand *gestures at the rest of the Tigers’ roster* he may be one of their most consistent players.

Detroit Tigers roster



How many games will the Indians win against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    (46 votes)
  • 43%
    (42 votes)
  • 7%
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    (2 votes)
97 votes total Vote Now