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, Cesar Hernandez, Andres Gimenez
Andres Gimenez #0 of the Cleveland Indians underhands the ball to Cesar Hernandez #7 (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

First Pitch: April 4th at 1:10pm EDT

Projected Starters: CLE Aaron Civale (2020 stats: 4-6; 4.74 ERA; 69 Ks)

DET Tarik Skubal (2020 stats: 1-4; 5.63 ERA; 37 Ks)

The most balanced starting pitching matchup may take place on Sunday when Aaron Civale squares off against Tarik Skubal. Skubal is entering his second season having made his highly touted debut in 2020. The Tigers season is hinging on the likes of Skubal to gain control and tapping into some of his elite stuff to give the Tigers hope at being competitive in 2021.

Skubal has lightning stuff, his fastball can get close to 100 mph. The issue with Skubal, at least in his brief rookie starts last year, is that he allowed 9 home runs in just 32+ innings pitched. The Indians offense doesn’t project to be a major power lineup, but there are pockets of hitters that can certainly do damage if Skubal leaves that heater in the right spots.

For the Tigers, they will need to attack Aaron Civale who started off 2020 on a very high note, but then cooled off as the season went on. Civale will look to be more like his first five starts of 2020 where he had a 2.97 ERA, than the pitcher that labored down the stretch.

This off-season Civale has added a new pitch (Split Change) to assist his effectiveness on the second and third times around lineups. The Tigers have had success offensively against Civale, granted in limited appearances, specifically Candalerio who has gone 2-for-3 (.667 average) facing Civale.

Civale will not strikeout a lot of hitters and allow his defense to get the outs. This is another test for the Indians new defense to see how strong it is at supporting a pitcher who will rely upon them for outs.

On paper this series is tilting heavily for the Indians to win the series and get off to a strong start in the new season. However, games aren’t played on paper and the bullpens will be used early to ease each starter’s innings early on, so the new-look bullpens for both teams could be the ultimate deciding factor in who comes away with a series win.

It’s the start of a new season, so lets Play Ball!

Next. Analyzing the top five prospects for the Tribe. dark