Cleveland Indians Series Preview: Detroit Tigers, August 5-August 8

Martinez, Benoit and Cabrera - USA TODAY Sports

After the short trip in Miami, the Indians return home for the biggest regular season series in a long time in a key showdown four game set against the Tigers.

The Indians start a homestand with a four game set with the division leading Detroit Tigers. All four games (Monday through Thursday) are scheduled for 7:05 PM starts. The homestand finishes with a visit from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Scoreboard Watch:

Rangers at Angels, Orioles at Padres, Yankees at White Sox, Twins at Royals

Team in a Box

Detroit Tigers

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2013 Record

64-45

Runs/Game

5.1

2nd

Runs/Game

3.9

2nd

AL Central

1st

OBP

345

1st

H/9

8.3

3rd

Last 10

9-1

SLG

437

3rd

BB/9

2.7

3rd

Last 30

21-9

Steals

29

15th

SO/9

8.7

1st

The last time we saw the Kitties, they took three of four from us in Progressive. They followed that up by losing series with the White Sox and Royals, but winning the Texas series. But from that point on, they have gotten smoking hot, they took three of four from the White Sox, swept the Phillies, Nationals and White Sox. All in all, they have won twelve of their last thirteen, but only picked up 1.5 games on us. Other than stealing bases, this offense is fantastic. They have scored ten or more runs in three of their past seven games. And as good as the offense has been, the starting rotation has carried the team all season. This team probably is the best in the American League save defensively. As Jhonny Peralta gets suspended, they will lose a bit of offense but improve defensively as Jose Iglesias replaces him. The most worrisome thing for them is if Miguel Cabrera cannot fully heal that hip injury.

Projected Lineup

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

CF

Austin Jackson

R

372

262

333

389

96

RF

Torii Hunter

R

441

315

349

484

123

3B

Miguel Cabrera

R

453

360

455

668

200

1B

Prince Fielder

L

485

260

355

434

113

DH

Victor Martinez

S

455

272

325

396

95

LF

Matt Tuiasosopo

R

135

286

407

536

154

SS

Jose Iglesias

R

245

323

367

412

112

C

Brayan Pena

S

160

277

304

378

84

2B

Ramon Santiago

S

131

200

273

278

51

This projected lineup probably will be very wrong at some point during our series. Miguel Cabrera was resting that abdominal strain over the weekend, but I suspect he will be available for this series. The rumor mill has Peralta being suspended on Monday so Iglesias will take over at short. If Cabrera is not healthy at that point or re-injures himself, Don Kelly (91 OPS+) would probably take over at third. For some reason Leyland has been playing Dirks (79) over Tuisasosopo most of the year but seems to have learned his lesson lately. Brayan Pena has been playing a lot more lately, but I am not sure if Alex Avila (71) has been benched completely yet. I suspect Hernan Perez (69) gets called up to take Peralta's roster spot if Infante is not activated off the DL.

Projected Starters

Date

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Aug 5

Anibel Sanchez (Kluber)

R

2.59

111.0

163

7.8

2.8

9.7

Aug 6

Justin Verlander (Masterson)

R

3.88

143.2

109

9.2

3.5

8.6

Aug 7

Doug Fister (Salazar)

R

3.52

143.0

120

9.1

1.5

6.7

Aug 8

Max Scherzer (McAllister)

R

2.85

151.1

148

6.2

2.0

10.1

Sanchez won his only start against the Tribe but only lasted five innings. But that wasn't because he was pitching poorly. The Indians had only three hits and a walk and four strikeouts. When he left, the Tigers were already up 9-1. Verlander has won is 2-1 against us but has a 5.82 ERA. His WHIP of 1.824 is only offset by his 11/6 K/9 rate. He has been very hot and cold lately, three starts of 0 or 1 runs and three of five or more. Fister was hit hard in his only start, six tuns in six innings but took a no-decision. The Indians did end up winning that game 9-6 on July 7. Scherzer has been the most dominant of the Tiger starters, and that is also true of his starts against us. He is 2-0 in three starts with a 2.74 ERA. His WHIP of 0.783 is insane. The only thing he isn't doing spectacular is his K/9, but it is still a very good 8.2. We unfortunately miss their worst starter in Porcello, but he did beat us last time out.

Key Relievers

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Joaquin Benoit

R

1.40

45.0

300

6.6

2.6

10.6

Jose Veras

R

2.72

46.1

152

5.6

2.9

8.7

Drew Smyly

L

1.91

61.1

220

6.5

2.1

9.7

Benoit has taken over the closers role and done very nicely for the Tigers. He has two saves against is and has pitched spectacularly in his six appearances. He has allowed four hits, a single walk and struck out eight in 5.2 innings. LNGFT Veras was closing for the Astros before the Tigers picked him up recently. He was pitching very well for them, unlike when he was in Cleveland. His overall career numbers against the Indians are not very good, but that was all because of 2009. He did record one save against us when we played the Astros earlier in the year. Smyly has made it into five games, but has been very hittable. He has a 5.40 ERA with a 1.800 WHIP and a 6.8 K/9 in his 6.2 innings of work. The other pen options are Al Alburquerque (86 ERA+), Phil Coke (80), Bruce Rondon (84) and Jeremy Bonderman (74).

On the Shelf

  • 3B Miguel Cabrera (left abdominal strain) - day to day, possible August 5 return
  • RP Octavio Dotel (right elbow inflammation) - 60-day DL, no timetable for return
  • 2B Omar Infante (left ankle sprain) - 15-day DL, possible August 5 return
  • RP Luis Marte (right shoulder surgery) - 15-day DL, no timetable for return

Both Cabrera and Infante will likely play in this series. Marte was in the minors when they added him to the active roster in order to DL him.

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2013

3

9

250

48

78

291

2012

10

8

556

68

83

410

Last 5*

40

50

444

385

460

419

Last 10*

91

92

497

855

922

466

All-Time

1041

1080

491

9483

9752

487

*Does not include 2013 stats

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