Rains had already interfered with matchups between the Indians and Tigers in Detroit this season, as the two clubs had planned to play four this weekend to make up for an early postponement. Those plans changed on Friday, as the first game of the set was cancelled as rains hit the Great Lakes region.
The Indians (42-36) head into the weekend with a game and a half lead over the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Division. The Twins spoiled the Indians’ homestand, sweeping three straight last weekend, but Cleveland bounced back to take three of four from the Texas Rangers to get back into first place while salvaging the home set. The Indians are just 2-4 against the Tigers this season and have struggled in the division this season, posting a 19-18 record overall against the Tigers, Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Kansas City Royals.
The Tigers (35-43) are not where they would like to be at this juncture of the season. Sitting in fourth place, they wrapped up their second consecutive losing month in June with a 10-15 record. While they were five games below the .500 mark for the month, they were just -1 in the run differential department, pushing that season total to -22 for the year. An eight-game losing skid in the middle of the month knocked them well off of the pace of the divisional race, losing the final two of a series with the Tampa Bay Rays before being swept in four straight in Seattle. They dropped the first two of a series in San Diego before avoiding the sweep to end a 1-7 road trip, then returned home to take two of three from the Royals.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES (revised after Friday’s postponement)
Friday, 6/30, 7:10 PM ET – POSTPONED
Tomlin – Jason Miller/Getty Images
Saturday, 7/1, 1:10 PM ET – RHP Josh Tomlin (4-9, 6.09 ERA) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 6.75)
June had been unkind to Tomlin, so being bumped back to July may do him some good. He finished the month with a 1-3 record in five starts, allowing at least four runs in each of his last four outings. He allowed seven homers in 25 1/3 innings in the month, helping create a 6.75 ERA in the rough showing. Tomlin was 3-1 against the Tigers in four starts last season and is 6-6 in his career with a 5.32 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 14 appearances (ten starts).
The last few years have not gone well for the 33-year-old Venezuelan right-hander Sanchez, who was once one of the better pitchers in the game. He failed to make the rotation out of spring camp and struggled badly out of the bullpen, leading to his demotion in May to Triple-A Toledo. He returned in the middle of June and has made a pair of starts, looking better in those two outings, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks in eleven innings while striking out nine. He has faced the Indians twice in relief this season, allowing four runs in five innings. He is 4-7 with a 4.74 ERA against them in his career, but went 0-4 in four starts last season.
Saturday, 7/1, 7:15 PM ET – RHP Carlos Carrasco (8-3, 3.67) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-5, 5.53)
Carrasco’s good June came to an end against the Texas Rangers in his last start, when he allowed eight runs on six hits in three and one-third innings. He had won his previous three starts, allowing just three runs across the outings. He is 1-1 against the Tigers this season and 7-7 in his career. In 12 2/3 innings against Detroit this season, he has allowed four runs on nine hits while walking six and striking out ten.
Zimmermann has faced the Indians twice in his career and neither outing went particularly well. In his first start against them in 2013, he allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings. Last season, he made just one start against them, allowing seven runs on nine hits in three and two-thirds innings. His first four starts in June were quality efforts, but he is coming off of his shortest outing of the season his last time out, when he allowed five runs on six hits with five strikeouts, three walks, and two home runs allowed in just four innings of work against the San Diego Padres.
Sunday, 7/2, 1:10 PM ET – RHP Mike Clevinger (3-3, 3.56) vs. TBA
Clevinger is coming off of his best start of the season, allowing just a run on two hits in six innings. He struck out a career high nine batters in the no-decision against the Rangers, a game the Indians lost, 2-1. Sunday will be the third time that he has faced the Tigers in his career and the second time that he has started against them. He owns an 0-1 record with an 11.25 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP against them in just four innings of work.
After the postponement on Friday, the Tigers had not announced whether Matt Boyd (2-5, 5.69) or Justin Verlander (5-4, 4.47) would make the start on Sunday. Boyd was originally scheduled to make a spot start for the Tigers after spending his last five starts at Triple-A Toledo, where he has gone 3-0. He pitched well in a pair of starts against the Indians this season, but has a 1-1 record to show for it. He allowed just a run on seven hits in six innings of work on April 16 in a win and followed it up with seven and two-thirds innings on May 3, allowing three runs on five hits in a quality start loss. Verlander, Sunday’s originally scheduled starter, got back into the win column against the Indians his last time out, earning a win on May 2 after giving up just two runs on four hits in seven innings. In his first start against them on April 15, he was tagged for nine runs on eleven hits in four innings.
TV (all games) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports Detroit
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; 97.1 The Ticket (Detroit)
Abraham Almonte (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/16) – right biceps strain; on rehab assignment
Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – right elbow surgery
Danny Salazar (P) – 10-day disabled list (6/4) – right shoulder soreness
Jim Adduci (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/11) – right oblique strain; on rehab assignment
Alex Presley (OF) – 7-day disabled list (6/23) – concussion
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
| Kansas City
TAMING THE TIGERS
It comes as little surprise that current Tigers have taken Tomlin deep a few times.
Victor Martinez has hit just .231 against him, but has two doubles and three homers to go with six RBI in his career off of the veteran softer-tossing right-hander. Alex Avila has a pair of solo homers off of him, his only two hits in 15 career plate appearances. Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and Nicholas Castellanos all have homered off of him as well, with Cabrera driving in six runs, Castellanos five, and Kinsler three.
Carrasco has contained some of the big threats in the Tigers lineup in his career. Kinsler has hit just .216 against him in 41 career plate appearances. Martinez has a .212/.243/.273 slash in 37 trips with two doubles and three RBI. Justin Upton is just 3-for-15 with seven strikeouts, but he does have a solo homer to his credit.
J.D. Martinez has had success against Carrasco, hitting .368 with two doubles, two homers, and seven RBI, the top mark on the club against the Indians right-hander. Jose Iglesias is a .353 hitter against him with three doubles. Cabrera has hit .297 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. Avila has five hits (.294 average), including a double and a homer, with four RBI in 22 plate appearances.
Current Tigers have combined for just 14 plate appearances against Clevinger with minimal success. Cabrera accounts for nearly all of the damage done to Clevinger in that group, as he has a double and a homer in two plate appearances against him with five runs batted in.
Ramirez – Jason Miller/Getty Images
INDIANS BY THE NUMBERS
The ten Indians hitters with previous experience against Sanchez have combined to hit .277 off of him with six doubles, four triples, six homers, and 25 RBI.
Jose Ramirez is 3-for-7 against him with a homer and five RBI. Lonnie Chisenhall has hit .346 with a double and a triple. Francisco Lindor is 4-for-11 with a double, a homer, and two RBI. Yan Gomes has taken him deep twice while also hitting a double, a triple, and driving in eight.
Jason Kipnis will likely have a green light against Zimmermann. He has two singles, two triples, a walk, and four RBI in six trips to the plate. Carlos Santana is 2-for-6 with a double, a homer, and two RBI.
Boyd has been able to shut down several of the Tribe bats in his brief experience against them. Santana is hitless in nine at bats while Kipnis has a sac fly to his credit in five trips. Brandon Guyer is just 1-for-8 while Ramirez is 1-for-5, although he has two walks, a triple, and three RBI.
While some have been limited by Boyd, a couple of guys have had much better results against him. Lindor is 5-for-9 with a double. Michael Brantley is 3-for-7 with three singles.
AND RIGHT BACK HOME
The Tigers will continue their homestand with three games against the San Francisco Giants in their final games at Comerica Park in the first half of the season before heading to Cleveland for three before the All-Star break.
The Indians will also do battle at home against the NL West as the San Diego Padres come to visit for a three-game set beginning Tuesday afternoon. The series will mark just the fifth time that the two clubs have met during the regular season. In three previous series in Cleveland, the Indians are 6-3 against their rare west coast opponent.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images