The Detroit Tigers return home to the Motor City to begin a three-game weekend series against the Cleveland Indians Friday night.
The Detroit Tigers last four series have all ended with the same result, one win and two losses. Their most recent loss was Thursday night when they fell 7-3 against the Royals putting their season record at a dismal 25-40. Cleveland’s 34-33 record ranks far superior when being compared to Detroit’s. However, the Indians still find themselves 11 games backs from leading the division.
There is some good news for the Indians, however. Cleveland is currently only 1.5 games back in the American League Wild Card race. At the moment, their post-season hopes are still very much alive, while Detroit Tigers fans have had to face the music yet again.
The pitching matchups during the series could be interesting to watch. Starting at the mound Friday night, Ryan Carpenter will look to redeem himself after getting blasted by Minnesota giving up eight earned runs in 3.2 innings four nights ago. Cleveland will give the nod to Adam Plutko who has only played in three games this year. During the third and final game of the series, Spencer Turnbull and Trevor Bauer will duke it out Sunday afternoon.
Where things get interesting is Saturday night’s game. As of writing this, there is no slated starting pitcher for the game. Tiger fans could witness another experimental bullpen game like we saw last Saturday against Minnesota, which ended up being a success.
When the Tigers faced the Twins on June 8th, Buck Farmer was given his first start of the season. The Tigers were victorious securing a 9-3 triumph behind five bullpen pitchers with Nick Ramirez being awarded the win. Expect to see Detroit trying to recreate the result they were able to obtain last Saturday.
One of the more intriguing storylines for both of these teams seems to be developing off the field. The MLB trade deadline is still over a month away, but two closers who will be competing in the series have been involved in a lot of trade buzz. Both Detroit’s Shane Greene and Cleveland’s Brad Hand have been two of the top performing closers in major leagues this season. Currently, Greene has the most saves in the AL with 20 while Hand is right behind him with 19.
Since the Detroit Tigers are currently undergoing a rebuild, many expect the Tigers to deal Greene to a team looking to stack their bullpen for a postseason run. In return, Detroit will be asking for high potential prospects.
Cleveland’s situation is a bit trickier as they are still in the running for a Wild Card spot. The Indians might need to retain Hand to help aid them in their hunt for October. Even though their current conditions, it hasn’t stopped rumors swirling around the league that Hand could be dealt.
With possible trades are on both team’s minds, each game is a chance to increase the closer’s trade value to try to receive a quality return. Regardless of what happens down the road, fans should be excited to see the league’s best closers compete in the upcoming series.
This is the second time these two teams have faced off this year with Cleveland in control of the series 2-1. The Tigers will look to swing the momentum in their favor this weekend. First pitch for the series opener is set for 7:10 pm Friday night from Comerica Park.