Both Tigers and Indians hoping to use upcoming series to get on track

Justin Verlander will take on Justin Masterson in the marquee pitching match-up of the upcoming Tigers - Indians series. 

Lenny Ignelzi/AP

Neither the Tigers nor the Indians are exactly rolling as they prepare to face each other for the first time this season.

As the three-game series gets set to open on Tuesday at Comerica Park, the Tribe has dropped five of their last six while the Tigers are 2-4 since opening the season with four straight wins. Even though it is early, Detroit leads the division with the Indians in third at 1 1/2 games back.

Cleveland was 4-15 against the Tigers last season, but three of the wins were in Detroit.

Based on recent trends, the Indians starters could have a chance to bounce back in this series as Detroit has only three runs against right-handed starters in the past 30 1/3 innings. All of the Tigers’ losses have come against right-handers. Tribe starters though have the second-worst ERA in the American League (5.19) and opponents are batting .297 against them. Zach McAllister, who will get the start on Tuesday, pitched 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball last Wednesday against the Padres.

The best pitching matchup of the series will be on Thursday afternoon as Justin Masterson faces Justin Verlander. Masterson has allowed 12 runs (10 earned) in the past 8 1/3 innings and has a 2-9 career record against Detroit. Verlander is 17-14 against the Indians.

After having an off day on Monday, both teams are also beginning long stretches. Weather permitting, the Indians will play 16 straight and 26 games in the next 27 days. The Tigers have two stretches of 13 games without a day off as they play 28 in the next 30.

WHO’S HOT

Cleveland: Michael Brantley is batting .320 on the road with seven RBI. The outfielder was 4 for 14 in the Chicago series with a home run and four RBI.

Detroit: Rajai Davis is sixth in the AL in batting average (.345) and second in stolen bases with five.

WHO’S NOT

Cleveland: Carlos Santana had gone hitless in 18 straight at-bats until he had a single in the sixth inning on Sunday. Santana, who has a .186 average for the season, only one hit in his last 20 at-bats and was 1 for 15 in the Chicago series.

Detroit: Reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera was 2 for 20 on the Tigers’ five-game road trip.