A giant goose egg has been put up in the win column for the Detroit Tigers against the Cleveland Indians. In 10 chances, the Tigers have been unable to earn a victory over their division rivals, the Cleveland Indians. It appears as if each time the two teams face-off in a series against one another, it always has big implications for the Detroit Tigers, who are trying to live up to the expectations that have been set forth before them by themselves, the owner, and the city of Detroit. The Detroit Tigers currently have a payroll of over $200 million, and the window for them to win the World Series appears to shrink a little smaller each year. This is especially true, considering how much the teams within the Central Division continue to be more competitive.
One of the biggest issues for the Detroit Tigers against the Indians this year is the lack of depth their starting rotation has been able to give them. In 10 games, starting pitchers have only gone an average of 4.2 innings pitched; meaning that the relievers have had to do as much work as the starts have. Justin Verlander was able to give the Tigers 7 strong innings in the Tigers’ first loss to the Tribe back on April 22, earning 10 strikeouts along the way; but that has been the deepest any starter has gone against Cleveland since then.
Last night was, perhaps, the Tigers’ best chance at earning a victory against the Tribe, as the Tigers were able to tie the Indians at 3 runs apiece going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Unfortunately for them, though, a Mike Napoli 2-run home run in the bottom of the inning sealed the Tigers’ fate for the 10th consecutive meeting between the two teams.
Tonight, the Detroit Tigers will rely on on-again/off-again starter Anibal Sanchez, as they needed to re-shape their rotation, which is becoming hammered with injuries. On the season, Sanchez posts a record of 5-8, with a 6.05 ERA. He’s already faced Cleveland as a starter three times so far. In those three games, he’s gone a combined 14.1 innings, and given up 14 earned runs. He squares off against Carlos Carrasco, who is 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA this season.
The Tigers have seen Carrasco twice this season. The first time they faced him was an injury-shortened outing, as he went 2.2 innings, still managing not to give up an earned run against them. The second time they faced Carrasco, he threw a complete-game shutout and struck out 7 Tigers. The opposing pitcher that day? Anibal Sanchez.