Cleveland Indians Series Preview: Tribe Set To Open 2021 In Detroit

Owen Miller #91 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Owen Miller #91 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez, Franmil Reyes
Franmil Reyes #32 of the Cleveland Indians congratulates Jose Ramirez #11 (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

First Pitch: April 3rd at 1:10pm EDT

Projected Starters: CLE Zach Plesac (2020 stats: 4-2; 2.20 ERA; 0.80 WHIP; 57 Ks)

DET Julio Teheran (2020 stats: 0-4; 10.05 ERA; 1.76 WHIP; 20 Ks)

Getting the ball for game two will be Zach Plesac who had a phenomenal sophomore season on the mound. He’ll look to continue his upward trajectory in 2021 and facing an opponent he’s dominated should help him out.

In Plesac’s final start during the 2020 season he faced the Tigers and went 7+ scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts. The Tigers offense hasn’t churned as much as the Indians, so there will be a lot of familiar opponents in game two for Plesac to get off to a strong start.

For the Tigers they are looking at providing a career reset for former Braves ace Julio Teheran. Teheran had the wheels fall off last season in 2020 while with the Angels, but when things are right, he has top-end of rotation movement and stuff with his pitches.

This spring his numbers have been mixed, having a 5+ ERA during his starts, but 18:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio, so his accuracy is on point to potentially have a strong start to the season. He is battling some minor injuries and indications are he’ll only be available for five or six innings when he starts on Saturday.

While it’s safe to anticipate a strong performance in game one for the Cleveland Indians offense, game two will feature an opposing pitcher most of the Indians haven’t seen much of. The exception is Franmil Reyes who is a career .333 average against Teheran with two home runs and a 1.444 OPS when facing him.

The other story to follow with this matchup is after facing the lefty in game one, how will the lineup and defensive platoons shift to when a righty takes the mound? We know there are possible platoons for the Indians in center, first, maybe shortstop and possibly one of the corner outfield spots, too.

The Indians rightly anticipate having a strong rotation to provide strength this year, but defensively is where things may get interesting if there are errors or poor routes on fly balls. We’ll have to wait and see, but Comerica Park itself will be a challenge if there are inexperienced outfielders trying to cover the large gaps.