Series preview: Tigers at Indians (May 19-21)

Miggy and Victor - Gregory Shamus

The Indians wrap up this homestand with yet another first place team, the first divisional leading Detroit Tigers.

After a horrid weekend against the A's, the Tribe welcome another scorching hot team to Progressive, the division leading Tigers. With the Indians in last place and 10.5 games behind the Tigers, it almost an absolute must they sweep the Tigers. Looking at the matchups and just how poor this team is performing right now, the odds seem to be a trillion to one on that occurring.

  • Monday's game is at 7:00 PM (Smyly vs. Kluber) [ESPN]
  • Tuesday's game is  at 7:05 PM (Verlander vs. Bauer)
  • Wednesday's game is at 12:05 PM (Scherzer vs. McAllister)

The Indians then head to Baltimore for four games and three in Chicago without a day off.

Division Watch: White Sox at Royals, Twins at Padres.

Team in a Box

Detroit Tigers

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2014 Record

27-12

Runs/Game

4.8

6th

Runs/Game

3.4

1st

AL Central

1st

OBP

329

4th

H/9

7.8

1st

Last 10

7-3

SLG

428

2nd

BB/9

2.8

1st

Last 30

21-9

Steals

37

1st

SO/9

7.9

12th

Fresh off of road sweeps of the Orioles and Red Sox, the Tigers have a great shot at finishing this trip at 9-0 against the Indians. And just two weeks ago, they ran off an eight game winning streak to fuel that 21-9 record over the past month.

The hitting, while not as fantastic as last season, is still lethal with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez both smashing the ball all over the park lately. They are second in slugging and a shockingly lead the league in steals. Heck even Victor Martinez has two swipes. The pitching staff has dominated the competition, although the strikeouts are significantly down from last season. They give up the fewest runs and the fewest baserunners in the game. Defensively, they are third best in errors, sixth in fielding percentage and fourth in double plays.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

C

Alex Avila

L

109

220

705

1B

Miguel Cabrera

R

171

316

888

2B

Ian Kinsler

R

177

315

799

3B

Nick Castellanos

R

128

233

641

SS

Andrew Romine

S

84

187

465

LF

Rajai Davis

R

125

283

743

CF

Austin Jackson

R

156

271

767

RF

Torii Hunter

R

146

304

814

DH

Victor Martinez

S

164

331

973

IF

Danny Worth

R

26

250

561

OF

JD Martinez

R

43

231

612

UT

Don Kelly

L

47

310

788

C

Bryan Holaday

R

35

303

676

Cabrera had a rough start to the season, but is quickly re-approaching his MVP levels. The MVP of the Tigers this year though is our old friend Martinez. He leads the Tigers with nine homers and has struck out just nine times as well. Davis has more than replaced the missing Dirks in left, including 14 steals. Enough in fact, Dirks may end up in a bench role when he returns.

The experiment with Alex Gonzalez did not last much longer after our last series. Romine has taken that spot in the field, but has not hit much. Naturally I expect him to homer and drive in five in these three games. The other change to the roster since last we met is the former Astro Martinez. He was signed late in spring training.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

WHIP

K/9

Justin Verlander

R

3.15

60.0

1.333

7.1

Max Scherzer

R

1.83

59.0

1.034

11.1

Drew Smyly

L

2.70

33.1

1.110

8.1

Rick Porcello

R

2.91

52.2

1.006

5.6

Robbie Ray

L

0.75

12.0

1.000

6.0

Anibal Sanchez

R

2.89

28.0

1.2.14

8.7

Joe Nathan

R

3.24

16.2

1.140

8.1

Joba Chamberlain

R

3.57

17.2

1.245

11.7

Ian Krol

L

1.98

13.2

0.878

5.9

Al Alburqurque

R

3.63

17.1

1.212

11.4

Phil Coke

L

7.45

9.2

1.862

3.7

Evan Reed

R

2.81

16.0

1.188

6.2

Justin Miller (optioned on Sunday)

R

3.48

10.1

0.968

4.4

The staff ace is undoubtedly Scherzer, who will rightfully command a huge deal in the offseason. Think the Red Sox or Yankees might come a calling for him? Verlander has rebounded from last year, but is still allowing too many baserunners. Smyly is the one lefty we face. His last start against the Orioles was a no decision, but he pitched well enough to win. And to top things off, that deal of Fister in the offseason is leaning heavily in the Tigers favor as Ray has had a great start to his young career while Sanchez has been on the DL. Speaking of which, Sanchez was activated for the Sunday win which means Ray is now in the pen.

The bullpen has righted itself after a rough start with just Coke having a poor season. And the other piece in the Fister deal, has been lights out to boot. The only change since April is that Luke Putkonen has been disabled. Joel Hanrahan was signed earlier this month while he completes his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

On the Shelf

  • LF Andy Dirks [60 day DL], possible June return
  • SS Jose Iglesias [60 day DL] , possible late 2014 return
  • RP Bruce Rondon [60 day DL] , out for season
  • RP Joel Hanrahan [15 day DL], possible June return
  • RP Luke Putkonen [15 day DL], visiting Dr. Andrews for elbow issue

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2014

1

1

500

8

9

446

2013

4

15

211

70

120

272

Last 5*

33

58

363

340

479

348

Last 10*

83

100

454

816

965

424

All-Time

1043

1087

490

9513

9803

486

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