Following a rare offensive explosion in a 12-8 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, the Detroit Tigers stay on the road and head to Cleveland to face off against yet another division rival.
Despite Sunday’s victory and uncommon display of offense, the Detroit Tigers narrowly avoided being swept by Kansas City, losing two out of three games over the weekend. Now, the Tigers venture into Cleveland to face an Indians team that has little room for error in the second half of the season in a four-game series at Progressive Field beginning Monday night.
With the Detroit Tigers currently sitting at 29-59 and in last place in the AL Central, Cleveland is still very much in the postseason picture. After dropping two of three games to the Minnesota Twins this weekend, the Indians find themselves 6.5 games behind Minnesota for the division lead and also out of the second AL wild-card spot, now just a half-game back from the Oakland A’s.
The first game of the series on Monday sees Detroit’s Daniel Norris take the mound against Adam Plutko of Cleveland. The last time the Tigers lineup faced Plutko back on June 14th at Comerica Park, the righty lasted six innings and surrendered three runs while striking out six Detroit hitters.
The fourth and final game of the series presents an interesting matchup of big names on the mound as Matthew Boyd goes to the hill for the Tigers against Trevor Bauer. Boyd has thrown for double-digit K’s in three straight outings as trade rumors surrounding him continue to heat up. Bauer is having yet another solid year with an 8-7 record and 3.65 ERA through 21 starts, but Detroit was able to notch five runs on ten hits off the right-hander in their last meeting on June 21st.
One Tiger for fans to keep an eye on this series should definitely be Harold Castro. Castro’s performance in the batter’s box has improved steadily over late June and early July to the point where the second baseman is now hitting .315. After going 4-6 and knocking in two RBI on Sunday against the Royals, Castro has the look of possibly becoming the type of everyday bat the Tigers so desperately need more of in the lineup.
The Detroit Tigers really have nothing to lose for the rest of the season, opening up the possibility for experimentation with the lineup and more aggressive styles of play while Cleveland has to stay focused in order to maintain postseason hopes. With that sort of mindset, hopefully, the Tigers can keep the offensive momentum rolling and steal a game or two in The Land. First pitch of the series is set for 7:10 pm Monday night from Cleveland.