Series Preview: Cleveland Indians look to stay hot against Detroit

Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Franmil Reyes, Cleveland Indians
Franmil Reyes #32 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians return home to Progressive Field this weekend to face a familiar foe in the Detroit Tigers for the second consecutive weekend series.

After routing the Tigers for three straight days last weekend, the Cleveland Indians will once again take on their division rivals for another three games, but the series could look a lot different this time around.

The arrival of a handful of prospects will shape this series in a much different way than a week ago. Offensively the Tigers added Isaac Paredes to their lineup while the Indians activated Roberto Perez from the IL. As for the guys on the mound, Cleveland will get their first look at Tarik Skubal while narrowly avoiding a matchup against one of the top prospects in baseball, Casey Mize.

The Indians will also be debuting a new arm during the series. After being called up on Thursday, 23-year-old Triston McKenzie, the club’s No. 9 prospect, will take the hill for his first major league start, projected to face Detroit’s Matthew Boyd.

Before we jump too far into the next series, we have to take a look at the last one between these teams. In Detroit last weekend the Indians completed the three-game sweep in the Motor City, outscoring the Tigers 21-11. Saturday’s game was the closest of the bunch as the Indians snuck away with a 3-1 victory. As for the other two days, Cleveland’s dormant offense was awoken, and with a vengeance, unleashing 10 runs on Friday in a 10-5 win before scoring eight on Sunday in a 8-5 win to clinch the series sweep.

The three wins also continued an impressive run of now 20 straight wins against Detroit for Cleveland, dating back to April 11, 2019. The Tigers’ last win over the Tribe was the day before on April 10, 2019 with a 4-0 win highlighted by home runs from Niko Goodrum and John Hicks.

The Tribe will enter the series just a half-game behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central race. As for the Tigers, they sit at the bottom of the division, but are still only 6.5 back of the Twins in what is turning out to be the closest division race in the American League from top to bottom.

The Indians’ pitching has been just as stellar of late as they were to start the season, holding Pittsburgh to one run or less in each of the last two games. The offense has also stayed hot for the Indians, scoring six runs in each of the first two games and another two on Thursday to close the series.

The middle of the Cleveland batting order is starting to catch fire. Over the last week, Franmil Reyes is hitting .318, but the most intriguing part is his power. In the last six games, Reyes has three home runs and six RBI while also drawing four walks. Carlos Santana also seems to have returned to form, hitting a three-run home run in both Tuesday and Wednesday’s games against the Pirates.

As for Detroit, they have struggled to find a rhythm. Austin Romine is the only batter with an average north of .300, but being a catcher he isn’t an every day player. Across the rest of the stat sheet, JaCoby Jones is atop most of the categories, tied for the team lead in runs (13), home runs (5) and is second in RBIs (13).