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Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

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Gotta win these games

Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins

The Indians won their most recent series against the Royals, but it didn’t feel as great since they had just been swept by the Mets. Regardless, winning each series’ going forward is the best way to try and take the division back from the Twins. Now the Tribe moves around the division to take on the Detroit Tigers in a new three-game series.

Team in a box

2019 Detroit Tigers

Record 39-89
Record 39-89
Runs Scored 470
Runs Allowed 718
Run Differential -248
Last 10 3-7
AVG .238
OBP .294
SLG .388
OPS .682
wRC+ 77
K/9 8.43
BB/9 3.40

Things are not going well in Detroit. The Tigers haven’t won double digit games since April when they won 11. So far in August, they currently have 7 wins, so the double digit dream is still alive if the Indians comply. Hopefully they don’t.

Projected starters

Tuesday, August 27 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Spencer Turnbull (v. Adam Plutko)

Quality pitching has been hard to find for the Tigers this year, so it’s been a breath of fresh air for the fans when Spencer Turnbull has taken the mound. So far in 2019, across 115.2 innings in 23 starts, Turnbull has allowed 52 earned runs while walking 47 and striking out 109 (ERA+ 119). He’s working with a good fastball (94 mph) that has some sinking action as well as a slider (87 mph), an actual sinker (94 mph), and a curve (80 mph). His most recent start came on August 20 against the Astros; in that game, Turnbull went 3.0 innings and allowed 5 earned runs on 6 hits while walking 3 and striking out 3.

Wednesday, August 28 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (v. Aaron Civale)

The Jordan Zimmermann signing continues to look awful for the Detroit Tigers. I don’t know if you can necessarily blame the Tigers for pulling the trigger on signing Zimmermann because he had been fantastic for several years leading up to the signing prior to the 2016 season. But since taking the field for the Tigers, Zimmermann has been awful and 2019 is no exception. So far this season, across 82.0 innings in 17 starts, Zimmermann has allowed 59 earned runs while walking 22 and striking out 61 (ERA+ 74). His fastball (91 mph) isn’t very fast, his slider (86 mph) doesn’t slide enough to get hitters to swing and miss, and his curve (81 mph) doesn’t move all that much. His sinker (90 mph) tends to get hitters to swing and miss, however, so he does still have one weapon in his arsenal that can be effective. His most recent start came on August 22 against the Astros; in that game, Zimmermann went 5.0 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 3 hits while walking 1 and striking out 4.

Thursday, August 29 1:10 p.m. ET: LHP Daniel Norris (v. Mike Clevinger)

Daniel Norris has stepped up in 2019 and has been a slightly above-average starter for the Tigers. In addition to pitching better this year than he has in the previous two years, he’s also thrown more innings than any other season in his career. All in all, a good year for the van man. So far in 2019, across 126.1 innings in 26 appearances (23 starts), Norris has allowed 66 earned runs while walking 35 and striking out 107 (ERA+ 102). He has an okay fastball (91 mph), a slider (84 mph) that has some good movement, a groundball-inducing change (86 mph), and a sinker (91 mph) and curve (76 mph) that both induce flyballs. His most recent start came on August 21 against the Astros; in that game, Norris went 3.0 innings and allowed 0 runs on 2 hits while walking no one and striking out 2.

Lineup highlights

OF Travis Demeritte: Travis Demeritte has had a good rookie year so far. And on a Tigers team where good times are few and far between, this has been the perfect year for Demeritte to ease into the majors. Across 94 plate appearances in 23 games, Demeritte is slashing .277/.351/.434 (wRC+ 107). He’s striking out way too much (29.8%), and his BABIP is approaching .400 (.389), so he definitely has some work to do. But for now, he’s the best hitter on the Tigers.

And that’s it. There is no one else on the Tigers with a wRC+ over 100. Looking at FanGraphs, their best hitter is now on the Cubs (Nicholas Castellanos). Everyone else is some degree of bad this season. Which probably explains why the Tigers have yet to win 40 games this season.

Detroit Tigers roster

FanGraphs

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    3
    (55 votes)
  • 33%
    2
    (33 votes)
  • 5%
    1
    (5 votes)
  • 5%
    0
    (5 votes)
98 votes total Vote Now