MLB Odds for August 21: Cleveland Indians vs Detroit Tigers
Sunday, August 21, 2011
by Frank Martin
The Detroit Tigers can't put the American League Central race on ice, but a win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday may go a long way toward that goal. The Tigers will move 4 1/2 games ahead of the Indians if they complete a sweep of the three-game series at Comerica Park.
After hitting three home runs in Friday's 4-1 win, the Tigers rolled to a 10-1 victory Saturday. Detroit has won four of five against Cleveland at home this season and is 12-2 versus the Indians at Comerica Park dating back to 2010. Cleveland leads the season series 6-5, but Detroit has won the last three games.
Jimenez is 1-0 in three starts with the Indians, but has been shaky in the no-decisions, allowing nine earned runs and 16 hits in 9 2/3 innings. His win came against Detroit on Aug. 10. Jimenez gave up three unearned runs and five hits in eight innings. He's 2-2 in his career against the Tigers.
Porcello is 4-1 lifetime against Cleveland, but that loss came on Aug. 10 when he matched a career-high by allowing eight runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings. Porcello lost to the Minnesota Twins in his last start and gave up four runs on nine hits in six innings.
Cleveland's hitters have a tendency to swing and miss. In fact, they have a tendency to swing and miss a lot. The Indians lead the league with 953 strikeouts. The hitters have whiffed 66 times in the last six games, including 19 times in a 14-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Some of that can be attributed to inexperience. Manager Manny Acta has started three rookies several times in the last month, but the problems making contact can't all be pinned on young players. Veterans Asdrubal Cabrera, Travis Hafner, Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore (when he hasn't been on the disabled list) are striking out at a rapid pace.
Brandon Inge provided a feel-good story Saturday by hitting a home run in his first at-bat since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo. He also had an RBI double. The 11-year veteran has been a fixture in Detroit since 2001, but was sent to the minors last month after being designated for assignment. Most players with Inge's experience wouldn't have accepted a demotion and taken the remainder of his $5.5 million salary and gone home. Inge, a clubhouse leader, and Wilson Betemit will platoon at third base.
The Indians acquired Jimenez to pitch in big games. Well, one could call Sunday's contest a big game. Although six weeks remain in the season, a 2 1/2-game deficit would look a lot better to the Indians than trailing by 4 1/2 games.
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