The Cleveland Fan on Facebook

The Cleveland Fan on Twitter
Indians Indians Archive Indians Look To Play Spoiler With Tigers In Town
Written by Adam Burke

Adam Burke

carmona headlockThe Indians managed to salvage the final game against the Texas Rangers and came home with a 4-6 road trip, a pretty decent accomplishment considering that they lost five in a row at one point. The Detroit Tigers come to town riding high, having won three of the last four games against the Chicago White Sox in the battle for first place in the AL Central Division. The Indians, who are 16-43 since the All-Star break, have won just two series in the second half. Both of their series wins are over the Tigers.

The Tigers enter this series just 6-9 against the Tribe in 2012 and will need a sweep to avoid losing the season series, despite having outscored the Indians by 10 runs in their 15 meetings. Even with a 3.31 ERA in Cleveland, Tiger pitchers are 1-5 at Progressive Field this season. Indians pitchers, who have been much pretty awful against everyone this season, have held the Tigers to just 16 runs in six games in Cleveland.

Eight of the Indians’ nine wins in the season series have been saved by Chris Perez. One of them was saved by Vinnie Pestano who was the closer while Perez was on the paternity list in early September. In the six Tiger victories, they have won by a combined 25 runs. The Indians have a good chance to play spoiler in this series and attempt to salvage something out of a lost season. They’ll avoid Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in the series.

Here are the pitching matchups for the second-to-last home weekend series of the season:

kluberFriday September 14, 7:05 p.m. ET; Justin Verlander (13-8, 2.91) v. Corey Kluber (1-3, 5.26)

Thanks to a rainout on Thursday night in Chicago, the Indians now have to face Justin Verlander. Shockingly, Verlander has yet to beat the Indians this season. Verlander, for his numbers, has struggled in the second half, posting a 3.48 ERA in 11 games. If all of Verlander’s pitches are working, this Indians lineup could be in big trouble.

Corey Kluber got his first Major League win over the Tigers on September 3 and has not won another game since. Kluber is averaging over seven strikeouts per nine innings, which is good, but is also allowing 12.4 hits per nine innings. Kluber has shown the ability to have good stuff, but location has been an issue, with far too many pitches over the middle of the plate.

Verlander has lost to the Indians twice this season, both in Cleveland. Verlander has a 4.02 ERA on the road, which is much higher than the 1.70 ERA he has at home this season. Kluber beat the Tigers in his only outing against them. He is 0-2 with a 4.87 ERA at home.

masterson01Saturday September 15, 4:05 p.m. ET; Anibal Sanchez (2-5, 4.40) v. Justin Masterson (11-13, 4.96)

Anibal Sanchez will open the season for the Tigers. Since being acquired from the Miami Marlins, Sanchez has not had the strikeout pitch working and has been victimized by Detroit’s bad infield defense. In 121 innings with Miami, he allowed 119 hits and struck out 110. In 47 innings with Detroit, he has allowed 62 hits and has struck out only 28.

Justin Masterson has not been good in the second half for the Indians. In 12 starts, he has posted a 5.89 ERA and opposing hitters have hit .291 off of him. When Masterson has been good, he has been really good, posting a 1.30 ERA in his 11 wins and a 9.08 ERA in his 13 losses. In his 11 wins, he has allowed just two home runs. In his 13 losses, he has given up 13 home runs.

Sanchez has faced the Indians three times this season and has pitched very well, allowing just three earned runs in 19 innings. The Indians have not really taken advantage of the 23 hits they’ve gotten in those three starts. Sanchez is still looking for his first road win in the AL and has a 4.97 ERA in four starts. Masterson has beaten the Tigers twice in three starts this season, one where he outdueled Justin Verlander, the last start against Porcello, and then was bombed on August 3 in Detroit. Masterson has been much better at home this year, with a 3.74 ERA.

jimenezhoustonSunday September 16, 3:05 p.m. ET; Rick Porcello (9-12, 4.59) v. Ubaldo Jimenez (9-16, 5.52)

Rick Porcello, a 2007 first round pick, has just never been able to put it together for the Tigers. He has given up the most hits in the league this season, with 207. In the second half, Porcello is just 3-7 with a 4.77 ERA. The biggest problem for Porcello has been pitching with runners in scoring position. The opponent is batting .306 off of him.

Ubaldo Jimenez became the Indians first 16-game loser since 1991 in his last start. In this start, he has the chance to become the first 17-game loser since Tom Candiotti lost 18 games in 1987. It was hard to imagine that Jimenez could get worse, but his second half has been horrid. In 12 starts, he’s 1-9 with a 7.13 ERA. In 102 first half innings, Jimenez gave up 51 earned runs. He has given up that many in 64.1 second half innings.

Porcello is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA against the Indians this season. He lost to Masterson on September 4 in Detroit. Because his terrible infield defense follows him everywhere, his home/road splits are pretty even. Jimenez has actually pitched pretty well against the Tigers this season, all things considered. He’s 2-2 with a 4.02 ERA. Both losses have come against Fister and the Indians have been outscored 13-2 in those games.

Keys to the Series:

1. Play Spoiler – If they hate these guys as much as I do, they’ll want to win.

2. Play Spoiler – The Indians can directly impact the AL Central. Let one of the teams back their way into the title instead of winning it. The Indians still play six more against Chicago.

3. Shut Up The Tiger Fans – The ballpark will be full of Tiger fans making the short trek down the turnpike or Route 2 to watch their beloved Tigers. Send them home unhappy.

Player to Watch:

The player to watch for this series is Lonnie Chisenhall. Chisenhall just returned this past week from a fractured arm, suffered when he was hit by a pitch back in late June. The Indians will be counting on Chisenhall to be the third baseman of the future as their major reshuffling begins this offseason. Chisenhall has about 80-85 at bats left to produce some confidence entering the offseason.

Wishful Thinking:

I hate these bastards. Sweep them.

Central Focus:

The White Sox head to Minnesota to battle the Twins and the Royals host the Angels.

One Last Thing...:

The Indians have to go 3-15 to avoid 100 losses. Why does that seem so hard?

The TCF Forums