Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#967 Detroit Tigers 9.5 vs.
#968 Cleveland Indians -305
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 7:10pm EDT
Written by Ricky Dimon

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#967 Detroit
#968 Cleveland
45-104
87-63
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The Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers will begin a three-game series when they square off at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Tuesday night.

Bullpen day?

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.”

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.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Detroit is certainly one of the most inconsistent teams in baseball and it rarely wins twice in succession. In reality, “inconsistent” is putting it generously. It would be more accurate to say the Tigers are the worst team in baseball. Cleveland is seeking an incredible 15th straight victory over the Tigers this season after splitting the first two matchups back in the early stages of 2019. There is no reason to think anything will change with the visitors’ pitching in question and the Indians as hungry as you can get for wins. Detroit is 7-21 in its last 28 series openers, 5-17 in Boyd’s last 22 starts, 10-27 in his last 37 road starts, and 5-21 in its last 26 at Cleveland. The Indians are 37-14 in their last 51 against the American League Central, 14-5 in Plutko’s last 19 starts, 4-1 in his last five home starts, and 40-11 in the last 51 meetings between the two teams.

Prediction: Cleveland Indians

Full-Game Total Pick

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Mercer is 2-for-2 with a homer and a double against Plutko, who is 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts against the Tigers this season. He is 8-for-19 with five RBIs during his five-game hitting streak and is 9-for-27 against the Indians in 2019. The over is 7-2-1 in the Tigers’ last 10 on the road, 7-0-1 in Boyd’s last eight starts, and 3-0-1 in his last four road starts. It is also 6-2 in the Indians’ last eight at home. Additionally, the over is 39-15-2 in Detroit’s last 56 at Cleveland, 4-0 in Plutko’s last four starts against the Tigers, and 3-1-1 in Boyd’s last five starts against the Indians. Look for this one to go over the total.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Ricky Dimon

A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to joining the Winners & Whiners Staff, he worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.