Indians at Tigers Preview
After an off-day Friday, the Cleveland Indians (0-1) and the Detroit Tigers (1-0) resume their three-game series on Saturday. The Tigers will host this one at Comerica Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 pm ET.
In the first game of the series, the Tigers were able to win their home opener despite fighting both a Cy Young winner in Shane Bieber and mother nature as the snow came down heavily at times Thursday. Still, Matthew Boyd pitched 5.2 innings of scoreless ball, and Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run home run to propel Detroit to victory.
In the loss, Bieber pitched well. He gave up all three runs, but he also struck out 12 in just six innings. Catcher Roberto Hernandez drove in both runs with a two-run home run.
The pitching matchup for this one features righty Zach Plesac going for the Indians against the Tigers’ Julio Teheran.
Cleveland is the favorite in this one despite playing on the road. They are -164 to win while the Tigers’ moneyline is +138. The spread features Detroit +1.5 while the over/under for total runs is 8.5.
By The Numbers
Last season, neither of these two were particularly dominant offensively. The Tigers ranked 20th in the majors averaging 4.29 runs per game. The Indians fell to 25th averaging 4.19 runs per game.
Defensively, Cleveland was one of the best in the majors last season. They ranked 3rd overall in runs allowed per game at just 3.73. Detroit struggled, ranking 28th, allowing 5.48 runs per game to opponents.
Cleveland Looks To Even Series At One Apiece
Unfortunately for Indians’ fans, the Tribe wasted a quality start by Shane Bieber on opening day as their offensive woes from last season carried over to their first game. Trying to put that behind them, Cleveland will try to even the series on Saturday.
Taking the mound for the Indians will by Zach Plesac. Infamously, Plesac was sent down to the alternate site last season after breaking COVID-19 protocols, but when he was with the big club, he was solid. In 8 starts, Plesac went 4-2 with a 2.28 ERA, 0.795 WHIP, and struck out 57 in 55.1 innings.
Offensively, the Indians are led by third baseman Jose Ramirez. He was spectacular last season, having hit .292/.386/.607 with 17 home runs, 46 runs batted in, 45 runs scored, and ten stolen bases in 219 at bats.
Especially since Cleveland traded shortstop Francisco Lindor in the offseason, Ramirez will have to shoulder more of the offensive burden this season.
Tigers Hoping For Series Win Over Division Foe
To say the Tigers are not expected to compete this season is an understatement. They are +5500 to win their division (dead last) and +10000 to win the World Series. Still, the Tigers are hoping to start the 2021 season off right by securing a series win over the Indians on Saturday.
On the mound for Detroit will be veteran righty Julio Teheran. Last season, with the Angels, Teheran went 0-4 in 10 games pitched (9 starts). In that span, he had a 10.05 ERA, 1.755 WHIP, and struck out 20 in 31.1 innings. The 30-year-old is hoping to revitalize his career this season with the Tigers.
Throughout his career, Miguel Cabrera has been one of the most intimidating hitters in MLB history. His massive home run in a snowstorm Thursday reminded fans of his former excellence.
At age 37 now, Cabrera is not nearly the hitter he once was, hitting just .250/.329/.417 with ten home runs and 35 runs batted in last season. For a team that is rebuilding, Cabrera is trying to be an asset for manager A.J. Hinch both on the field and in the clubhouse.
Will Pitching Rule The Day Again?
While both teams homered on Thursday, the real story was the pitchers’ duel. On Saturday, the matchup seems to favor the Indians. Still, the same could have been said on Thursday, yet the Tigers prevailed. Will that happen again Saturday or will the Indians be able to give more run support to Plesac than Bieber? Either way, it should be a good AL Central matchup Saturday.
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