Cleveland (91-65) at Detroit (83-73)
When: Tuesday, September 27th 2016
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit, MI
Time: 7:10 ET | TV: MLB Network
The Cleveland Indians dominance over the Detroit Tigers continued last night as they clinched the American League Central title at Comerica Park. Cleveland is now 14-2 this season against Detroit including a 7-0 mark at Comerica. Corey Kluber started the game but left after four innings with tightness in his right groin. With the Indians already injury-plagued starting staff, this setback put a little damper on last night’s celebration. Coco Crisp hit a two-run home run, Roberto Perez added a solo shot plus an RBI single, and Cleveland’s bullpen pieced together five workable relief innings to assure the Indians of a postseason berth and reduce second-place Detroit to scramble for a Wild Card spot. The Tigers have surrendered 26 runs over the last three games and are now two games behind the Orioles for the second AL Wild Card. The Seattle Mariners are also tied with Detroit with just six games to go. Second baseman Ian Kinsler is on a tear for Detroit since returning from concussion-like symptoms, going 11-for-18 with seven runs scored in the last four games.
Mike Clevinger will make another start after moving over from the bullpen to help with the ailing pitching staff. Clevinger has pitched well over his last four turns, but has three straight no-decisions due to the fact that he’s on a low pitch-count right now. He has allowed four runs on nine hits over 13 innings in the last three starts. He gave up two runs and four hits in five innings against Kansas City in his last outing. Clevinger has made just one appearance against Detroit, tossing two scoreless innings of one-hit ball on July 5th.
Justin Verlander broke a four-start winless streak by beating the Twins last week. He struck out 11 while giving up two runs on four hits over six innings. Verlander was rocked by Cleveland twice this season, but came back ten days ago to stymie them on one hit over seven innings while striking out seven. Carlos Santana is batting only .206 versus Verlander, but has homered seven times in 63 at-bats.
Even though Cleveland is still very much in the hunt for the top seed in the American League, there has to be some sort of let-down after clinching the division last night. They might even rest some of their regulars. Detroit needs this bad and they have their ace on the mound.
Pick: Tigers -200