Cleveland Indians: Series preview at Detroit

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
1 of 3
Cleveland Indians
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians will look to keep the momentum going in a surprising clash for sole possession of first place in the AL Central.

Don’t look now, but the Cleveland Indians are 6-3 thanks to some electric starting pitching and timely hitting. The Tribe is riding high after a four-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays, and they’ll look to keep things rolling into a three-game tilt with the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers are something of an anomaly. They rank 28th in the league in runs, 24th in OBP and 29th in slugging. Yet they lead the American League Central at 7-3.

Like the Indians, the Tigers owe their early success largely to the efforts of their starting rotation. Let’s evaluate how the two teams stack up in their first meeting of 2019.

Projected Lineups

Cleveland Indians (6-3): Leonys Martin CF, Jose Ramirez 3B, Jake Bauers LF, Carlos Santana 1B, Hanley Ramirez DH, Tyler Naquin RF, Roberto Perez C, Brad Miller 2B, Eric Stamets SS

Detroit Tigers (7-3): Josh Harrison 2B, Nicholas Castellanos RF, Miguel Cabrera 1B, Niko Goodrum CF, Jeimer Candelario 3B, Christin Stewart DH, Mikie Mahtook LF, Grayson Greiner C, Jordy Mercer SS

The Tigers have moved guys around in their defensive alignment early on, thanks in large part to Niko Goodrum’s ability to seemingly play anywhere but catcher, but the above layout is a good baseline for what to expect in this series.

There are some similarities between the two offenses, as both contain a couple of established hitters mixed in largely with unproven talent or replacement-level players. The difference is that the Indians are trying to win a World Series, while the Tigers would be happy to win 75 games.