It seems as if the Indians just can’t get any closer than 6 1/2 games back right now. That could all change with this week’s series against Detroit. This series could bring two, very different outcomes. If the Indians lose, they could be dealt a blow similar to what the Tigers did to Chicago this weekend. If they win, the Tribe inches that much closer, and a season-ending series against the Tigers becomes even more crucial.
September 5-7, 2011
- Detroit - The Tigers got a major shot in the arm after sweeping the White Sox, dealing a blow that sent them tumbling back in the standings. Not to mention, they come in to this series rolling after dropping Chicago 18-2 in the series finale. It may be just one game, but it served as a major confidence boost for a team in the thick of the hunt for its’ first division crown since 1987. The Tigers scored 35 runs in the series, and as a team, batted .410. Austin Jackson has been red hot for the Tigers lately, as he is hitting .529 over a seven game hitting streak, with two home runs and seven RBI’s in that span. Catcher Alex Avilla has also been a staple in the lineup lately, reaching base in 25 of his last 30 game. In those 30 games, he’s hitting .354 with nine doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 21 RBIs.
- Cleveland - The Indians have won five of their last seven after taking two of three from the Royals over the weekend for their third straight series victory. This season, the Indians and Tigers have split 12 games this year and will be getting a crucial part of the lineup back with Grady Sizemore returning on Monday. They are also hoping that Travis Hafner will be able to return before the month is out. ndians reliever Vinnie Pestano has not allowed a run in his last 13 2/3 innings, and over his last 16 appearances, he has allowed just one earned run.
Game 1 – Doug Fister vs. Ubaldo Jimenez
- Doug Fister 3-1, 2.97 ERA
Fister couldn’t carry through the perfect game bid he took into the seventh inning of his previous start into Tuesday’s turn against the Royals, but the outing reflected how he has been pitching with Detroit since coming over from Seattle.
- Ubaldo Jimenez 2-1, 5.56 ERA
Jimenez allowed three runs and six hits in six innings against the Athletics on Wednesday. He didn’t factor into the decision, as the game lasted until the 16th inning. Cleveland is 3-3 with Jimenez on the hill.
Game 2 – Rick Porcello vs. Fausto Carmona
- Rick Porcello 12-8, 5.08 ERA
The Indians have pulverized Porcello pitches for 25 hits, 15 runs and four homers over 14 1/3 innings this year, about half that damage coming last month at Progressive Field. The 22-year-old has a challenge on his hands.
- Fausto Carmona 6-13, 4.84 ERA
Carmona yielded four runs (three earned) in six innings of a 7-0 loss to the Athletics on Thursday. The right-hander is 1-1 in two starts against the Tigers this season.
Game 3 – Justin Verlander vs. Justin Masterson
- Justin Verlander 21-5, 2.34 ERA
The Tigers have only one win in six tries at Cleveland this year, and it belongs to Verlander, whose seven innings and 10 strikeouts at Progressive Field last month marked one of his nine straight victories since July 15.
- Justin Masterson 11-8, 2.92 ERA
Masterson earned the win against Kansas City on Friday after allowing four runs in seven innings. Five days earlier, he took the loss against the Royals, despite holding them to two runs over six frames.
- CF Austin Jackson
- RF Andy Dirks
- LF Delmon Young
- 1B Miguel Cabrera
- DH Victor Martinez
- C Alex Avilla
- SS Jhonny Peralta
- 3B Wilson Betemit
- 2B Ramon Santiago
- CF Grady Sizemore
- RF Kosuke Fukudome
- SS Asdrubal Cabrera
- 1B Carlos Santana
- DH Jim Thome
- LF Shelly Duncan
- 3B Lonnie Chisenhall
- 2B Jason Donald
- C Lou Marson