Reasons to watch the Indians: Tackling the Tigers
JUN 20, 2014 2:00p ET
A lot has changed in a month and many would say it began with that three-game series at Progressive Field when the Tribe swept the Tigers with two of the wins coming on walk offs. Beginning with that series, the Indians have gone 18-11 which is tied with Toronto for the best mark in the American League. The Tigers have gone 10-20, which is worst in the Majors.
Cleveland has won four of five from Detroit after going 4-15 last year. Going into today's games, Kansas City leads the division by a half-game over Detroit after taking three of four and Cleveland is 2 1/2 games back after winning two of three from the Angels.
It also should be the most-attended series so far this season with limited tickets available for tonight and Saturday. Former Tribe shortstop Omar Vizquel, who is the Tigers first-base coach, will be inducted in the Indians Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Here is what to watch for on Indians Live, starting at 6:30 p.m. and in Friday night's opening game of the series:
Can Kluber regain May form? After going 6 2/3 innings in six May starts, Corey Kluber (6-4, 3.35) has made it to the seventh inning only once in his three June starts. The right-hander faced the Tigers on May 19 and did not get a decision as he went seven innings and allowed three runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. In eight career appearances (seven starts) against the Tigers, Kluber is 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA.
Keep it in the park: After allowing just 25 home runs in the first 40 games, which was the fewest in the Majors, Indians pitchers have given up 43 in the past 33 games, which is tied with Colorado for most over the last month.
Good times, bad times: The Indians are tied for eighth in the AL in hitting but being productive with runners in scoring position remains a problem. They are 5 for 46 over their last seven games and were 1 for 9 on Thursday against the Angels with Nick Swisher's walk off grand slam being the only hit.
Tigers starter: Rick Porcello (8-4, 4.03) has also struggled this month, going 0-2 with a 5.21 ERA in three starts. Over his career, the right-hander is 8-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 19 starts against the Indians.
Martinez loves Cleveland: Former Tribe catcher Victor Martinez, who is third in the AL with a .328 batting average, is 7 for 19 against the Indians this season, including two home runs at Progressive Field. Martinez has 47 home runs here, which is seventh most in the ballpark's 21 seasons.
Tigers vs. Kluber: Miguel Cabrera 11-21, 3 HR; Alex Avila 3-17; Torii Hunter 3-16; Victor Martinez 7-14, HR; Austin Jackson 2-11; Ian Kinsler 1-7; Don Kelly 1-4; Nick Castellanos 2-3; Rajai Davis 1-3; Andrew Romine 0-3.
Indians vs. Porcello: Asdrubal Cabrera 13-41; Carlos Santana 11-34, 3 HR; David Murphy 9-17, HR; Michael Brantley 8-33, HR; Nick Swisher 8-30, HR; Jason Kipins 7-25, HR; Yan Gomes 4-8; Lonnie Chisenhall 3-14; Mike Aviles 2-8; Michael Bourn 1-9; Ryan Raburn 0-4.