Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

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Pitching Matchups:

Give Justin Masterson credit. He pitched bad enough in his last outing to all but ensure he wouldn’t be traded at the deadline. I kid, I kid, but in all honesty, Masterson was awful against Minnesota. In 5.2 innings he allowed 8 earned runs and didn’t deliver the dominating performance the Tribe so desperately needed. Now he has to play the role of stopper for the Tribe and end a six game skid that has threatened to shut the door on their 2012 playoff hopes. If Masterson can come out and dominate the strike zone the way he has shown at time this season then the Indians have a chance. If not, then it could be a long day.

As for Sanchez, he allowed 5 runs, gave up 3 homers, and took the loss in his debut for Detroit. In the three games leading up to it for the Marlins, Sanchez was fantastic throwing 20 innings and posting a 2.70 ERA. Now that he has eased into his role with Detroit, look for him to have better control and more confidence. He’s being relied on to help solidify a rotation that has struggled at times this year, with the exception of Verlander. Sanchez is a solid pitcher capable of having a dominant performance thanks in part to his 8 strikeouts per 9 innings and ability to induce ground ball outs when hitters do make contact.

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Unlike Masterson, Jimenez pitched relatively well in his last outing in Minnesota. Although he gave up 5 runs over the course of 6.1 innings, he kept the Indians in the thick of things for the majority of the game. However, the offense let him down time and time again thus placing more stress on Jimenez with each and every passing inning. The wheels eventually fell off and the offense never picked him up. The fact of the matter is that since July, Jimenez has been a much better pitcher than the one we saw to begin the season. Can he keep it up and hold a potent Tigers’ offense at bay? He’s already done it three times this year going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 18.2 innings.

Meanwhile, the tigers will send Doug Fister to the mound to continue what has been a tumultuous season, thus far. After struggling with injuries earlier this year Fister has really started to find his groove. In his last five starts, Fister is 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA and a 33/8 strikeout to walk ratio. Aiding in his success has enough run support to make each and every starter on the Indians green with envy. Needless to say, Fister is definitely trending upwards. That’s not good for an Indians lineup that is trending downward. Look for Fister to have a dominating outing, especially if Manny Acta decides to shuffle up his lineup once again.

As of right now, the Indians haven’t announced who will stArt Sunday‘s game. It would have been Derek Lowe but thanks to his recent designation for assignment has put this spot up for grabs. Unless the Indians decide to reinsert Josh Tomlin, which seems unlikely, the Indians will more than likely have to call someone up for a spot start. Look for either David Huff of Jeanmar Gomez to be on the mound come Sunday afternoon.

For the Tigers, Max Scherzer looks to continue to build on what has been a strong 2012 campaign. Much like Fister, Scherzer is trending upward having gone 4-1 in his last six starts posting an  ERA of 3.52 and posting a 44/15 strikeout to walk ratio. However, Scherzer continues to be susceptible to the long ball having allowed one in each of his past four starts. Look for him to try to dominate the Indians given his current 11.08 strikeouts per 9 inning and mid-90′s fastball.

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