The Cleveland Indians may be playing for their season this week.
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching and the Indians sitting at .500, a disastrous series against the first-place Detroit Tigers could spell doom for their season.
The Tigers have surged to the top of the American League Central with five straight wins and just made a move to improve themselves by trading for Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez from the Miami Marlins.
The most glaring weak spot on the Detroit roster was at second base, where Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn have gotten the bulk of the playing time. The veteran Infante is batting .287 with eight home runs and challenged for a batting title in the National League in 2010 with the Atlanta Braves.
Sanchez will take over the rotation spot of rookie Jacob Turner, who was sent away in the deal. The Indians are trying to avoid becoming sellers but will need more than the 1.8 runs they have averaged over the last five games. In 11 games since the break, Cleveland has been held to three runs or less nine times.
Fister was the big trade deadline acquisition last season for Detroit and has come on lately, winning each of his last three starts. The 28-year-old has allowed a total of two runs and five hits while striking out 18 and walking two in 15 innings over his last two starts. Fister was reached for two runs in 6 2/3 innings at Cleveland on May 23 but did not factor in the decision. He is 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA in nine career starts against the Indians.
Jimenez has been the opposite in his last two turns, getting beat up for 13 runs and 14 hits while walking nine in eight total innings. He has been better at home in 2012, posting a 4-3 record with a 3.66 ERA in eight starts at Progressive Field. Jimenez beat Detroit on June 5, allowing one run in 6 2/3 innings, but is just 4-5 with a 5.37 ERA in nine career starts against the division rivals.
Sanchez is from the same hometown (Maracay, Venezuela) as Tigers All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
The Indians have taken five of six in the series this season, including a three-game sweep of Detroit at Progressive Field from May 22-24.
Cleveland RF Shin-Soo Choo has homered in two of the last three games.