American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, June 20
(All times Eastern)
Detroit Tigers (37-32) at Cleveland Indians (37-36), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Rick Porcello (8-4, 4.03)
Cleveland - Corey Kluber (6-4, 3.35)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Tigers hope to eventually regain what was
once theirs when they start a nine-game road trip Friday with the first of
three straight games versus the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
The Tigers lost their grip on the American League Central lead by dropping
three of four games to the division's current leaders, the Kansas City Royals.
Detroit salvaged the finale of the four-game set with Thursday's 2-1 win and
halted the Royals' 10-game winning streak. Miguel Cabrera's RBI double and a
solo home run from J.D. Martinez in the fourth inning was enough to lead the
Tigers to victory and pull them within a half-game of the Central lead.
Anibal Sanchez pitched well in the start for the Tigers and allowed only a run
in seven innings of work. Joba Chamberlain kept the Royals off the board in
the eighth inning and Joe Nathan tacked on his 14th save in the ninth.
"It's a step," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of his club, which has gone
just 6-11 in June. "It's a baby step, but in the right direction."
Martinez is riding a nine-game hitting streak.
The Tigers will also visit Texas and Houston on this 10-day, nine-game journey
and are 18-13 away from Comerica Park. They are hitting .256 on the road this
season, compared to a .289 batting average at home.
Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter hopes to return full-time at some point during
this series and has been nursing a hamstring injury. He suffered the problem
on Monday in the opener with Kansas City.
Rick Porcello takes the mound Friday for the Tigers and is 8-4 with a 4.03
earned run average. He has lost three of his last four decisions, and did not
factor in the outcome of Sunday's 4-3 win over Minnesota, charged with three
runs in seven innings. Porcello is 5-2 in seven road assignments and 8-3 with
a 3.59 ERA in 19 career starts against the Indians.
Porcello was 3-0 in four starts against Cleveland last season.
Cleveland got itself back into the AL Central race and sits 2 1/2 games behind
the Royals. It won two of three matchups in a rain-shortened set with the LA
Angels and is coming off Thursday's thrilling 5-3 victory in 10 innings.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the 10th, the Indians loaded the bases when
Carlos Santana walked with one out. Following a David Murphy fly out to left
field, Nick Swisher was the hero with a grand slam off Ernesto Frieri.
"One at-bat can turn a whole day around," Swisher said.
Swisher became the third Indians player to win a game with a grand slam in
extra innings, joining Don Dillard (July 4, 1962) and Carlos Martinez (Sept.
Justin Masterson threw seven innings of one-run ball in the no-decision and
Kyle Crockett earned the win by getting the final out of the 10th.
The Indians are 13-6 in their last 19 games and have won four straight and
seven of last eight series at home.
Corey Kluber gets the call for the Tribe Friday night and is 6-4 with a 3.35
earned run average. Kluber is 0-1 in his last three starts since going 4-0
over his previous five. In Sunday's 3-2 win at Boston, Kluber did not post a
decisions after he gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Kluber is 3-1 in seven home starts, but 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA in eight games (7
starts) lifetime against the Tigers.
The Indians have won four of five games so far with the Tigers this season
after losing 15 of the 19 matchups a year ago.
06/20 11:00:09 ET