1. Can the Detroit Tigers’ offense wake up against Cleveland’s struggling pitching staff?
The Tigers’ offense continues to be their weakest link, despite the mounting injuries to their pitching staff. The power is finally starting to show up, as they’ve homered in six straight games, but they still haven’t been able to put it all together.
Friday’s game against Aaron Civale seems like the perfect opportunity to get off on the right foot. The 26-year-old is giving up almost 13 hits per nine as well as 2.2 homers per nine. If there’s a game where the Tigers can get break out of their season-long slump, this appears to be it.
Saturday and Sunday will be much tougher, with Cleveland sending former AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber and the red hot Triston McKenzie to the mound, respectively. Bieber has had a solid season to this point, although pretty pedestrian by his standards. He hasn’t been striking out as many batters as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.
McKenzie hasn’t been striking out a ton of batters either, but he’s been limiting the traffic on the basepaths. He’s got a WHIP of 0.96 this season, tops among Cleveland’s starting pitchers.
Cleveland’s bullpen as been alright, with 3.56 ERA, good for 13th in MLB. Emmanuel Clase and his 100+ mph cutter is still a menace in the backend. Despite the pitching staff’s stuggles, the Tigers will have to be on their A-game if they want to score some runs.