CLEVELAND — The Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians, both laboring with fractured pitching staffs, will meet for the middle game of a three-game series Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
The AL Central-leading Indians made four roster moves Monday involving four pitchers, all of it a direct result of their 19-inning game in Toronto on Friday in which manager Terry Francona was forced to use nine pitchers.
“We don't want to overdo it with our 'pen, and unfortunately it costs guys jobs sometimes,” Francona said.
On Monday, it cost relievers Joba Chamberlain and Tom Gorzelanny their jobs, as the Indians designated both pitchers for assignment.
To replace the duo, Cleveland recalled right-hander Mike Clevinger and left-hander TJ House from Triple-A Columbus.
Clevinger, one of the organization's top pitching prospects, was 8-0 with a 2.70 ERA as a starter at Columbus, but he will be used out of the bullpen temporarily for the Indians. Francona said Clevinger would be returned to Columbus after this week to resume starting.
Meanwhile, the Tigers' pitching staff took a double hit on Monday. Prior to the game, Detroit placed Jordan Zimmermann on the disabled list due to a strained neck, and during the game, the Tigers lost starter Daniel Norris, who could be headed to the disabled list.
Norris was forced out of Monday's game in the third inning due to a strained oblique muscle.
“He reached for a grounder and pulled something,” manager Brad Ausmus said of Norris, who will undergo an MRI exam Tuesday.
Zimmermann was the scheduled starter for the Tuesday game. In his absence, Anibal Sanchez will come out of the bullpen to face Cleveland.
It will be Sanchez's fourth start against the Indians this season, and he was roughed up in the first three, going 0-3 with an 8.79 ERA. His career record vs. Cleveland is 4-6 with a 3.97 ERA. In 20 appearances overall this year, 12 of them starts, Sanchez is 5-8 with a 6.05 ERA.
The Tigers' staff is in such a delicate state that 31-year-old right-hander Dustin Molleken, who was recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Monday to replace Zimmermann, made his major league debut in the third inning in relief of the injured Norris. Molleken pitched two innings and gave up one run and three hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
“He did OK,” Ausmus said. “He seemed very composed.”
Sanchez's mound opponent in Tuesday's game will be Carlos Carrasco. In his last start, Thursday in Toronto, the right-hander allowed one run and three hits while striking out 14 in 7 1/3 innings.
Carrasco (4-2, 2.56 ERA) has struggled against the Tigers in his career, compiling a 4-6 record and a 5.74 ERA in 12 career appearances.
The Tuesday game will give the Tigers another opportunity to halt the domination Cleveland has held over them this year. The teams have played 10 games this season, and the Indians have won them all.
Cleveland has outscored Detroit 65-23 in the season series, although Ausmus liked his team's spunk in the series-opening loss.
“Our guys battled,” he said. “We hit some balls hard, and the guys were into the game right down to the last out.”