Surely the Indians will find a way to win one game against their personal footstool of the last several years, right? Please tell me they manage more than three runs against Michael Fulmer and Matthew Boyd? Promise me they won’t let 70-year-old Miguel Cabrera hit a grand slam?
Even with how apocalyptic things have seemed with the Indians lately, they should be able to win a game or two or three against the Tigers. But if they don’t? Things are going to so very, very ugly. Not only would they extend their losing streak to 12, but the Tigers would be in striking distance to steal the eighth playoff spot — if the Mariners don’t steal it first.
But let’s not go to the dark place quite yet. The Tigers are legitimately a bad, young, rebuilding team. The Indians have run into a horrid stretch of luck and have their top three pitchers going this series, as well as dynamite rookie Triston McKenzie. Something has to give eventually, why not now?
The 8 p.m. starts of the road trip are gone now, replaced with two 7:10 p.m. starts, and Saturday’s game will take place at 6:10 p.m. Because the cowards at ESPN refuse to put the Indians and Tigers on Sunday Night Baseball, the series finale will be an afternoon affair.
Team in a box
2020 Pittsburgh Pirates
Thursday, Sept. 17, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Casey Mize vs. Shane Bieber
Casey Mize should be a reminder for all Indians fans how lucky they are with their starting pitching. Not every other team can have multiple rookies come in and dominate. Mize’s massive upside is still there, of course, but the rookie has a 5.85 ERA through his first five starts and he has only struck out more than five batters in one outing. He has been hit hard and has yet to throw a shutout.
Friday, Sept. 18, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Michael Fulmer vs. Zach Plesac
The Indians rocked the rapidly declining Michael Fulmer in the back-to-back outings he had against them in late August. Over two starts the Indians had five runs, three home runs, and struck out six times over 5.2 innings. Fulmer has not pitched more than three innings in any game this season as the Tigers closely monitor his pitch counts.
Saturday, Sept. 19, 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP Spencer Turnbull vs. Triston McKenzie
Until Mize starts living up to his potential, Spencer Turnbull is probably the most interesting Tigers pitcher because of his fastball spin rate in the 80th percentile. Granted, he’s not that interesting, but he’s on the Tigers what do you want? Turnbull held the Indians to three runs over 4.2 innings in his Aug. 15 start against them. The 27-year-old has walked four or more batters in four of his nine starts this season.
Sunday, Sept. 20, 1:10 p.m. ET: LHP Matthew Boyd vs. Carlos Carrasco
Lefty Matthew Boyd pitched well against the Indians back on Aug. 22, holding the Tribe to two runs and striking out six over 5.1 innings — the Tigers still eventually lost when Domingo Santana doubled three runs home off the bullpen. Boyd has continued to mostly pitch well, but he allowed seven runs over 3.0 innings against the Brewers a couple starts ago and kept his ERA at a sky-high 6.75.
Miguel Cabrera, DH - Any Indians fan who suffered through the early 2010s deserves the victory lap they can take watching Miguel Cabrera age and soak up a huge chunk of the Tigers payroll. He won’t be taking home any more triple crowns, but he’s still hitting the ball incredibly hard — his average exit velocity is among the best in baseball and his xwOBA is in the 75th percentile. He can’t run and he strikes out too much so most of his hard hits go for nothing.
How many wins will the Indians have against the Tigers?
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