The Cleveland Indians are having their way with Detroit and will go for a four-game sweep when they visit the Tigers for the finale on Sunday. The Indians took both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday after putting on a power display in Friday’s opener and are getting plenty of help up and down the lineup as they stalk Detroit in the American League Central. The Tigers have dropped four straight going back to before the All-Star break.
Cleveland had a chance to take a big chunk out of its deficit in the Central with the four games against the Tigers and are doing just that, going from 7 1/2 down to 4 1/2 games out in only two days. The Indians are the top home team in the division but had struggled on the road until coming to Detroit, where they have put up 20 runs in the first three games of the series while getting strong pitching. The Tigers continue to come up short in the bullpen, and closer Joe Nathan surrendered the go-ahead three-run double in the ninth inning to suffer the loss in the nightcap on Saturday.
TV: 1:08 p.m. ET, STO (Cleveland), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Josh Tomlin (5-6, 4.21 ERA) vs. Tigers LH Drew Smyly (5-8, 4.00)
Tomlin pitched a one-hit shutout at Seattle on June 28, but allowed 19 earned runs in 22 innings covering the two starts before and the two starts after that gem. The Texas native has not issued a walk in any of his last three turns while totaling 22 strikeouts. Tomlin was knocked around for eight runs - five earned - in four innings to suffer a loss against Detroit on June 22.
Smyly needed the All-Star break to recharge after being knocked around for 13 runs and 23 hits in 14 1/3 innings over his last three starts. The 25-year-old made it through 6 2/3 innings at Kansas City on July 10 and got enough run support to overcome a pair of home runs surrendered. Smyly issued a career-high five walks in as many innings at Cleveland on May 19 and was charged with three runs and seven hits without factoring in the decision.
1. Tigers CF Austin Jackson has recorded multiple hits in five of the last six games.
2. Cleveland OF Chris Dickerson homered twice in Saturday’s nightcap and is batting .435 since joining the team on July 7.
3. Detroit DH Victor Martinez is 2-for-12 with four strikeouts in the series.