Series Preview: Detroit (June 5-7)

May 16, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers mascot Paws against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

After sweeping Detroit, the Indians lost series to the three other AL Central teams. Now they're making a return trip to Detroit before starting Interleague play.

Team in a Box (Click to Enlarge)

Detroit_june_5-7_medium

Going into the season, Detroit was banking on their offense overcoming some defensive flaws. But not only has the offense not taken off yet, but their pitching staff (particularly the non-Verlander starters) hasn't been as good as last year.

Typical Lineup

Pos. Player BA OBP SLG
CF Quintin Berry .333 .393 .471
LF Andy Dirks .328 .379 .515
3B Miguel Cabrera .318 .371 .536
1B Prince Fielder .319 .382 .517
DH Delmon Young .267 .309 .398
RF Brennan Boesch .229 .264 .364
C Alex Avila .254 .342 .435
SS Jhonny Peralta .247 .328 .373
2B Danny Worth .184 .289 .211

Detroit's big guns are producing, and they're getting great production from Andy Dirks, but the rest of the lineup isn't nearly as effective as they were last season. Young, Peralta, and Boesch have all dropped off considerably from 2011. Second base has been a revolving door, with Danny Worth being the fifth player to start at second this season.

Projected Starters

Date Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
June 5 Drew Smyley 3.46 54.2 8.2 2.5 8.7
June 6 Max Scherzer 5.55 60.0 11.7 3.2 10.7
June 7 Casey Crosby 16.20 3.1 8.1 10.8 10.8

The first thing you notice is who's not there. Justin Verlander won't appear in this series, as he pitched on Sunday. The Indians won't face Doug Fister, as he's on the Disabled List. However, they will face Drew Smyley, who has been what Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer should have been. Casey Crosby, who replace Fister in the rotation, will be making his second major-league start; he's had problem with walks in the minors, averaging 4.7 BB/9 in his minor-league career, and that carried over into his major-league debut.

But even though Verlander will not face the Indians this series, two left-handers (Smyley and Crosby) will, and the Indians have not surprisingly had trouble all season against southpaws.

On the Shelf

  • RHP Al Albuquerque (elbow) - 60-day DL
  • C Alex Avila (hamstring) - day-to-day
  • RHP Joaquin Benoit (forearm) - day-to-day
  • LF Andy Dirks (achilles) - 15-day DL
  • RHP Doug Fister (left side) - 15-day DL
  • CF Austin Jackson (abdominal) - 15-day DL
  • C Gerald Laird (hamstring) - day-to-day
  • C Victor Martinez (knee) - 60-day DL
  • LHP Daniel Schlereth (shoulder) - 60-day DL

The Tigers have been bit by the injury bug recently, with Avila, Benoit, Fister, Dirks, and Laird all going down with injuries in the past week. The Tigers may be getting Austin Jackson this series, and Avila and Laird are both day-to-day. Dirks was placed on the DL, though, so we could see Delmon Young in left.

Almanac (thanks to talonk)

All-Time Record 1028-1063 (.492)
Runs Scored/Allowed 9367 9591
Pythagorean Win % .489
Best Season 1951 17-5
Worst Season 1915/1946 5-17
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