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Detroit Tigers: Cleveland series presents interesting mound matchups

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DETROIT, MI - MARCH 30: Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Detroit Tigers throws a first inning pitch while playing the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day at Comerica Park on March 30, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 30: Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Detroit Tigers throws a first inning pitch while playing the Pittsburgh Pirates during Opening Day at Comerica Park on March 30, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Tigers open a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park on Tuesday afternoon.

As the Detroit Tigers get ready to host division rivals Cleveland for a mid-week series, the projected pitchers for the next three games against the Indians present some intriguing matchups on the mound. Let’s take a game-by-game look at each pitching matchup for Detroit vs. Cleveland.

Game 1: DET- Zimmermann vs. CLE- Kluber

With a 0.66 ERA through his first two starts, Jordan Zimmermann has been showing signs of coming into form as the ace Detroit hoped he would be when the team brought him on in 2016. His Opening Day start in Toronto was electric, and he followed that up with another very solid outing against the Yankees allowing just one run on six hits. Zimmermann will have to stay on top of his game on Tuesday afternoon if he wants to keep pace with one of the American League’s top aces in recent years.

Cleveland counters on Tuesday with their top man Corey Kluber. Kluber is a two-time AL Cy Young winner and finished third in Cy Young voting last year, with the AL’s fifth-best ERA at 2.98. 2019 has been far from ideal for a pitcher as accomplished as Kluber however. The righty is 0-2 through his first two games with a 5.23 ERA. His last outing against the White Sox saw him surrender six runs on eight hits in just 3 1/3 innings. Detroit’s offense is looking better but is still far from perfect, so Kluber may be looking at this as a big opportunity to get back on his feet and get 2019 back on track.

Game 2: DET- Boyd vs. CLE- Bauer

The second game of the series presents a matchup between two pitchers who seem to be in peak performance mode to start the season. Detroit’s Matt Boyd has an incredible 23 Ks through his first two outings and at times looked utterly dominant on the mound. His 3.18 ERA is not as outstanding as Zimmermann’s, but Boyd has been, and hopefully will continue to be, providing lights out performances of his own to follow up Zimmermann’s ace-like outings.

Up against Boyd in game two is Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer. Bauer’s 0.64 ERA through his first two starts is the fourth-lowest in the AL among starters, placing him right above Zimmermann. In his last outing against Toronto, Bauer pitched seven hitless innings and recorded eight punchouts, but did walk six Blue Jays hitters and was removed from his no-hitter at a pitch count of 117. With Kluber in a slight slump to start the year, Bauer is picking up the slack at the top of Cleveland’s rotation, so Wednesday should be quite the matchup to watch.

Game 3: Det- Turnbull vs. CLE- Bieber

Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull struck out ten Royals hitters in the Tigers’ home opener last Thursday but surrendered three runs on six hits. Turnbull has looked solid despite having to follow up some impressive outings from Zimmermann and Boyd at the top of the rotation. Still, his over 12 strikeouts per nine innings average is in the top ten in the AL so far in 2019, so Tigers fans shouldn’t sleep on Turnbull as another strong starter to help solidify the middle of the rotation.

For Thursday’s series finale, Cleveland counters with Shane Bieber. This season so far Bieber has made two appearances for the Indians and just one of those was a start. His single start against Toronto saw him throw six innings and surrender two runs on just two hits but also fan nine Blue Jays. That’s a very solid performance for a starter who faces the pressure of having to follow up two of the AL’s most feared aces.

Next. Christin Stewart Shines. dark

The Tigers and Indians begin their series Tuesday afternoon with first pitch at 1:10pm from Comerica Park. What do you think about the pitching matchups in this divisional series? Feel free to let us know in the comments section down below.

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