The Cleveland Indians travel back to the Motor City to take on the scrappy Detroit Tigers.
The Cleveland Indians gave fans a chance to breathe easy as they took it to the Milwaukee Brewers for two games this week. Now that the shortest homestand ever (two games; really MLB?) is over, the Indians hit the road to take on their resilient division foe.
The Detroit Tigers have vastly outplayed expectations. Not because of their record, but because they sit only four games back of the Indians. A lot of that can be attributed to the Indians not taking off as expected. This is nothing new for the Tribe. At this time last year, the Indians were only 29-28 and a game behind Minnesota. They would stay behind the Twins until June 17th.
If history repeats itself, then the Indians will find a way to pull ahead. Trying to rely on a 14 or 22 game winning streak is improbable. But what isn’t improbable is to rely on great division play. The Indians haven’t taken a serious lead because they’ve let teams like the Tigers and Twins stick around. The Twins took three of four against the Tribe last weekend. If the Indians want to stay on course it means they need to put these underwhelming Tigers in their place.
Here’s how they match up this time around.
Cleveland Indians (32-28) vs Detroit Tigers (30-34)
Lonnie Chisenhall has finally made his triumphant return to the Indians lineup. In his first at-bat back from the DL he crushed a hard liner up the middle to give the Tribe a 2-run lead over the Brewers. Chisenhall’s return means that Bradley Zimmer was sent down to Triple-A Columbus after his bat had been fairly disappointing. Edwin Encarnacion is batting .353 with six RBIs in the first week of June, effectively earning himself player of the week honors last week.
As for the Tigers, Nicholas Castellanos is batting .324 with 11 hits in the last week. Leonys Martin is coming into this weekend as the Tribe killer as he is batting .429 against Cleveland this year. While the Tigers are second in the division, they have a disappointing run differential of -23.