Tigers-Indians Preview

Based on the success Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez has achieved

versus Cleveland in the past, the Indians might not have an easy

time ending their current slide against the Tigers.

Set to be activated from the disabled list, Sanchez looks to

help the visiting Tigers to a seventh straight victory over the

slumping Indians on Saturday.

Cleveland (45-41) held a one-half game lead in the AL Central on

Tuesday, but now trails Detroit by 2 1/2 games after dropping its

third straight, 7-0 to the Tigers on Friday.

“I don’t really pay that much attention to the standings until

September,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “If this was a

four-game series in September, I’d say it’s probably a big series

but I would not say that on July 5.”

Winners in four straight overall, the Tigers (47-38) have

outscored the Indians 40-18 during their six-game series winning

streak. Detroit’s also won three in a row and six of eight at

Progressive Field.

“In perspective, for us as a team as we go through this, we

still got a lot of baseball so I think we’re excited to get some

learning curves here and there and be able to move on to the next

one,” losing pitcher Justin Masterson said.

Sanchez (6-5, 2.76 ERA) had not faced Cleveland until last

season when he went 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA in four starts.

The right-hander last pitched June 15 when he allowed a two-run

homer, four other hits and walked four in 3 2-3 innings while not

factoring in the decision of a 6-3 loss at Minnesota. He was placed

on the disabled list two days later with shoulder strain.

Sanchez lasted 1 2-3 innings in a rehab start at Class A

Lakeland on Monday after he took a line drive off his left leg. The

Tigers were hoping Sanchez would throw at least 60 pitches, but his

shoulder felt fine and his leg is not expected to be a problem.

“It wasn’t near as many (pitches thrown) as we would’ve liked,”

Leyland told the Tigers’ official website. “But he felt great

(pitching-wise) and we expect him to start on Saturday.”

Sanchez has received an average 6.39 runs of support from his

teammates, who have totaled 31 runs and 45 hits over the last four

games.

With three hits and two RBIs on Friday, ex-Indian Victor

Martinez is batting .431 with 21 RBIs in his last 17 games versus

Cleveland.

Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera has hit .370 with 11 RBIs in his

last six at Progressive Field.

Not of that likely bodes well for scheduled Cleveland starter

Carlos Carrasco (0-3, 8.17), who gave up six runs and 10 hits over

four innings of a 6-4 loss at Detroit on June 8.

The right-hander will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus for the

second time in a week after he also yielded six runs and 10 hits,

this time over 5 2-3 innings, of a 9-8 victory in the nightcap of a

doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox on June 28.

Carrasco, who missed all last season while recovering elbow

surgery, is 0-8 with an 8.04 ERA in his last 11 starts dating to

2011.

Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis has reached base safely in

36 consecutive games, and is batting .446 during a 16-game hitting

streak. He’s 3 for 9 with a double against Sanchez.