The Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers will begin a three-game series when they square off at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Tuesday night.
The Tigers defeated Baltimore 5-2 on Monday to split a four-game series, but that is just about where the good news ends aside from the fact that they are better on road (24-50) than they have been at home (21-54) this season. Detroit is a laughably horrendous 45-104 overall and it has not won two in a row since Sept. 5-6. For what it’s worth, the team has not won three straight since May 28-31. Harold Castro, who was rested in Monday’s contest, takes a five-game hitting streak (12-for-23) into this series against Cleveland and is batting .423 in September.
“I guess I’m a brilliant manager, because I got our two hottest hitters–Victor (Reyes) and Jordy (Mercer)–up in big situations,” manager Ron Gardenhire joked. “I wish I had been doing that all season…. That was a nice win. We got an early lead against a pretty good pitcher and we held on.”
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As of Monday evening, Detroit had not named a starter for Tuesday’s game. The Tigers have scratched left-hander Matthew Boyd from his scheduled start Tuesday due to personal issues and manager Ron Gardenhire was uncertain who would replace him in the opener against the Indians. With Spencer Turnbull and Jordan Zimmermann slated for the final two games of the set, Detroit will likely go with a “bullpen day.” Drew VerHagen pitched 4.0 innings this past Saturday, while Gregory Soto threw 13 pitches on Sunday for the Tigers. Both could be called on for Tuesday.
Right in the thick of it
The Indians look to keep themselves in the hunt for an American League playoff spot and continue their dominance in the head-to-head season series against Detroit when the two AL Central foes meet on Tuesday. Cleveland is 1.5 games behind Tampa Bay for the league’s second wild card and trailed Minnesota by 4.5 in the division entering Monday after dropping two of three at home against the Twins last weekend. Second baseman Jason Kipnis left Sunday’s game with right wrist discomfort and was scheduled for an MRI on Monday.
“We’re going to keep fighting,” pitcher Shane Bieber assured. “There are a lot of things you can control. All you can really focus on is what we’re doing and going out and winning every game that we can. You have to come to the field every day with that mentality that every day is a must win and we’ll see how things play out.”
Bat meets ball.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) September 16, 2019
Right-hander Adam Plutko (6-4, 4.42 ERA) is taking the mound for Cleveland on Tuesday. Plutko is winless in three starts since limiting Detroit to one run on three hits over 5.2 innings with a career-high nine strikeouts in a win on Aug. 27. The 27-year-old has surrendered eight runs on 19 hits across 14.2 innings over three starts this month with 10 strikeouts and seven walks.
The Detroit Tigers are:
- 19-64 in their last 83 overall
- 14-38 in their last 52 road games
- 14-38 in their last 52 games against the American League Central
The Cleveland Indians are:
- 5-2 in their last seven overall
- 5-2 in their last seven games against left-handed starters
- 38-14 in their last 52 games against teams with winning percentages under .400