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Cleveland Indians: Series preview vs. the Detroit Tigers

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians found a spark of life against Kansas City. Now they’ll try to take that spark on the road to Detroit.

It has been a bit of a rollercoaster to start the season for the Cleveland Indians. They stumbled out of the gate and never really found their groove until they faced the Royals for the first time this season.

That was the case again as they rallied to win the last two games of the series against KC. Yet again they’ll follow-up their series against the Royals with a series against the Tigers.

The Tigers haven’t struggled as mightily as some thought they would. Yes, they are below .500 but so is every other team in the AL Central not named the Indians. Last time these two met in Cleveland, the Indians swept the Tigers in a four-game series. The Tigers are 6-6 in their last 12 games. But they have lost their last 10 games against the Tribe.

The Indians outscored the Tigers in their last series by a total of 18-5. All three pitchers taking the mound for the Tribe this week have already beaten the Tigers once. Let’s see how they stack up this time around in Detroit.

Projected Lineups

Cleveland Indians (20-19) vs Detroit Tigers (17-22)

Cleveland Indians: SS Francisco Lindor, LF Michael Brantley, 3B Jose Ramirez, DH Edwin Encarnacion, 1B Yonder Alonso, 2B Jason Kipnis, RF Greg Allen, CF Bradley Zimmer

Detroit Tigers: LF Mikie Mahtook, 3B Jeimer Candelario, RF Nicholas Castellanos, DH Victor Martinez, 1B John Hicks, CF JaCoby Jones, C James McCann, SS Jose Iglesias, 2B Dixon Machado

Indians manager Terry Francona looks like a genius for reordering the lineup. Jason Kipnis continued to struggle in the two-hole, so he moved Michael Brantley to that spot. He and Francisco Lindor combined for 12 RBIs in the last three games. Tyler Naquin was playing as hot as anybody until he injured his hamstring. So the Indians have had to adjust their outfield accordingly.

The Tigers are missing some key figures in their lineup due to injury: Miguel Cabrera and Leonys Martin. They haven’t struggled mightily without the two. The Tigers have four walk-off wins in 2018, while the Indians have been walked off four times this year.