Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#793 Detroit Tigers vs.
#794 Cleveland Indians
Friday, April 9, 2021 at 7:10pm EDT
Written by Doug Gilghrist

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After a day off for both teams, the Cleveland Indiana and the Detroit Tigers convene at Progressive Field in a rematch of the opening weekend's games. The Indians are coming off a brief two-game series split against the Kansas City Royals, as they lost, 3-0, on Monday before wining the finale on Wednesday by a score of 4-2. The Tigers lost two of three to the Minnesota Twins in their most recent series. Detroit won two out of three over Cleveland to begin the season.

Tigers look to get back over .500

After winning their first two games of the season, the Detroit Tigers have now lost three out of their last four games to drop to 3-3 on the season. Their only win in their last four games was a 10-inning win over Minnesota on Tuesday. The Tigers starting pitching has been pretty good this season, as four of their five starters have an ERA under 3.50 in the early going. Even with their one bad start by Jose Urena (he gave up five runs in three innings), the Tigers starting pitching staff has an ERA of 3.30. Their bullpen has been another story, however. In 25 innings pitched, Detroit's relievers have given up a total of 22 earned runs, for an ERA of 7.92. It's still early, but that may be a cause for concern for the Tigers going forward.

The Tigers were outscored 21-12 in their series versus Minnesota, losing 15-6 and 3-2, with their extra-inning win sandwiched in between. Willi Castro had a three-hit game in Detroit's 3-2 loss to the Twins in the series finale on Wednesday. The Tigers, however, had two runners thrown out at the plate in the loss, spoiling a pretty good start from Matthew Boyd, who gave up just three runs in seven innings. Wilson Ramos hit his second home run of the season on Wednesday. Three of the Tigers' six games this season have been decided by one run, with Detroit winning two of those three games.

Detroit is hitting just .223 in their first six games, as Jeimer Candelario leads the team with a .261 batting average. Ramos has two of the Tigers' seven home runs to tie with Akil Baddoo for lead the team in that category. Baddoo has a team-high seven RBI, while he is 5-11 with a 1.636 OPS in limited action. Pitching-wise, Cleveland has a 5.40 ERA.

“Akil’s in the middle of everything," manager A.J. Hinch said on espn.com. “The damage that he’s done so far, he’s not going to get a lot of free strikes. That word gets around the league.”

Julio Teheran goes to the mound for the second time this season. He got the win against Cleveland in the second game of the season, giving up just one run in five innings pitched for a 1.80 ERA. This will be Teheran's third career start versus the Indians. He is 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA in his two previous starts versus Cleveland. Teheran has had good success in his career against the Indians' batters. The current Indians are hitting just .218 in 101 at bats.

Indians look to get revenge on Tigers

The Cleveland Indians opened the 2021 season by losing their first two games of the season to the Detroit Tigers by three runs or less before winning the finale of the series by a score of 9-3. They rebounded to split their series with the Royals, and have now won two of their last three games overall. Four of Cleveland's five games this season have been decided by three runs or less. The Indians have outscored their opponents 17-16 in their five games this season.

In their last game, a 4-2 win over Kansas City, Jose Ramirez hit a pair of home runs and drove in all four runs to lead the Indians to the victory. His eighth home run broke a 2-2 tie and gave Cleveland the win. Shane Bieber gave up just two runs in 6.1 innings, while striking out 12 batters. Josh Naylor also had a pair of hits in the win.

Ramirez leads the team with a .350 batting average through the first five games, and his two home runs also leads the team. He is the only Cleveland hitter with more than eight at-bats who is hitting over .263. Eddie Rosario and Ramirez lead the team with four RBI. The Indians are hitting .215 as a team with a .688 OPS. Cleveland has a 3.35 team ERA, while their bullpen is sporting a 3.00 ERA this season.

Zach Plesac gets the nod in the series opener. He is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA this season after giving up two runs on six hits in six innings against Detroit in the middle game of their season-opening series. Plesac has faced Detroit twice in his short career, going 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA. He pitched 7.2 scoreless innings in a win over the Indians last season. Cleveland's batters are hitting .246 against Plesac with just one home run and 14 strikeouts in 65 at-bats.

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The Detroit Tigers have played a lot of close games in the first week of the season, as three of their six games have been decided by just one run. The Cleveland Indians' offense hasn't found their stride yet, as they have scored less than three runs in three of their first five games. Detroit won two of their three games against Cleveland last weekend, as Teheran got the best of Plesac in their matchup last Saturday. Teheran has faced the Cleveland batters 101 times, while he has given up just 21 hits to them in his career. Look for Teheran to pitch well against the Indians again, as the Tigers will keep it close or win the game on Friday.

Prediction: Detroit +1.5

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Neither team has hit the ball well in the first week of the season, as both teams have batting averages of .223 or less so far this season. The Tigers are averaging just 3.8 runs per game, while the Indians are averaging 3.4 runs per game this season. There was an average of just 8.0 runs per game in the three games between these two teams last week. The second game of the season featured the same two starting pitchers, with a final score of 5-2. This will be a similar game to the first game, so take the under on Friday.

Prediction: Under 8.5
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Written By Doug Gilghrist , "Doug Gilghrist"

Doug has a Journalism degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He has been a passionate sports fan, especially Pittsburgh sports, for over 40 years. In his journalistic career, Doug has covered just about every sport imaginable and is now plying his trade for us here at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt. Doug has always been fascinated by numbers, especially as they relate to sports, so writing for this website is right up his alley.