Tonight the Tigers begin the first of three remaining 3-game series against the Cleveland Indians, and by Sunday evening the standings in the Central division could look very different. With the Indians only 1 1/2 games back and the White Sox only 4, by the end of the weekend Cleveland could be in first–or in third.
Even Baseball Tonight’s video feature today is a Tigers-Indians series preview. The short version: why isn’t Justin pitching?
- Game 1 Fri 7:05 Josh Tomlin (12-5, 3.97) vs Max Scherzer (12-7, 4.37)
- Game 2 Sat 7:05 David Huff (1-1, 0.51) vs Doug Fister (1-1, 6.14 with DET)
- Game 3 Sun 1:05 Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 4.58 with CLE) vs Rick Porcello (11-8, 4.98)
- Not pitching: Justin Masterson (10-7, 2.71) vs Justin Verlander (18-5, 2.31)
While we clearly win the matchup of the not-pitching guys, the Indians look to have a bit of an edge overall in the series.
In tonight’s battle of the 2nd-bests, Max Scherzer will try to avoid having an inning like the 2nd inning of his last start, where he gave up 5 runs, but then settled down and pulled out a 6-5 victory, reaching Verlander-like fastball velocity in his last inning.
Tomlin has put together better numbers than Scherzer, and is coming off of a 3-1 victory over Minnesota in his last start.
The AccuScore Projections say Cleveland should take this one (although it’s a close 52-48% margin). The ESPN fan poll currently has the Tigers with a 77.5% favoritism. Are you with the computer simulation or with the fans?
Player of the Pre-game: Alex Avila
Alex’s bat is still hot–over the last two weeks he leads the Tigers in BA, OBP, and OPS (.405/.542/1.082), keeps the 6th spot in the lineup, and the backstop warrior finally had a day off.
Today’s Central-Leading Lineup:
- Austin Jackson CF
- Brennan Boesch RF
- Delmon Young LF
- Miguel Cabrera 1B
- Victor Martinez DH
- Alex Avila C
- Jhonny Peralta SS
- Wilson Betemit 3B
- Ryan Raburn 2B