The Cleveland Indians were not an entirely unpopular preseason choice to supplant the Detroit Tigers atop the American League Central Division, but they’re struggling to repeat last year’s 92-win performance. It’s still early enough in the season — roughly a quarter of the way in — but the Tribe find themselves in fifth place at 19-25, 10.5 games back of the Tigers.
Detroit Tigers (27-12) at Cleveland Indians (19-25) — 7:05 PM EDT
Progressive Field — Cleveland, OH
TV: FSD (local), ESPN (national)
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket (click for radio affiliates)
Weather: 62 degrees, partly cloudy
When We Last Met
The Tigers split what ended up being just a two-game series at Comerica Park back on April 16 and 17 (game one was rained out). Detroit exited the series with a 7-5 record and a 0.5 game lead in the division. They’re 20-7 since that series and have taken a commanding seven-game lead in the divisoin (over Kansas City).
A spoiled Tigers fan like myself might first attempt to write that Drew Smyly has been (perhaps) the team’s most inconsistent starter. This may or may not be true, but a truer analysis might be that he’s been very good nonetheless. His true talent level as a starter might not be as good as his 2.70 ERA suggests, but his his peripheral numbers, underscored by a 3.82 FIP and 3.76 xFIP, paint the portrait of a starter who would be welcome in the middle of most any rotation around the league.
Corey Kluber has been excellent for Cleveland so far this season. In nine starts (58.2 innings) he’s struck out 66 batters, walked just 13, and surrendered only three home runs. An elevated (.358) BABIP may be artificially elevating his ERA (to the extent that 3.38 can be “elevated”), but his underlying numbers are downright nasty (2.20 FIP, 2.68 xFIP).
Release of today’s lineup has been delayed due to the Tigers’ late departure from Boston and subsequent late arrival in Cleveland. Lineup will be posted below shortly after it’s made available.
- Luke Putkonen - 15-day DL
- Joel Hanrahan - 15-day DL
- Andy Dirks - 60-day DL
- Jose Iglesias - 60-day DL
- Bruce Rondon - 60-day DL