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2021 Series #15 | Indians @ Tigers | May 24-27, 2021

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Wham with the Right Hand

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The Indians arrive in Motown for four games against the 18-28 Tigers, who have a run differential of -58, worst in the A.L. However, they are on a roll having won 9 of 13 after starting 9-24. The Indians and Tigers played two series in April with the Indians winning 4 of 6.

The Tigers are a mess offensively, ranking last in scoring at 3.69 runs per game. Since the Indians are 13th at 3.98 runs this could be a very low scoring series.

There’s nothing to like about the Tigers’ offense. They’re 13th in wRC+, on-base percentage, walk percentage, and home run percentage. They last in strikeout percentage at a whopping 28.6%. If Bieber brings his A game on Thursday he may whiff 15.

In terms of pitching it’s not much better; 12th in ERA and FIP. Defensively they’re ranked 15th by FanGraphs. Worst offense, worst defense, and almost the worst pitching in the A.L. Yet somehow they’re 9-4 in their last 13 games.

Former Tribe prospect Eric Haase is hitting .323/.924 but only has 31 at-bats. Their only every day player with an OPS over 800 is Robbie Grossman at .810, but he’s only hitting .239 against RHP’s. Miggy is hitting .205/.604. He might be done.

But watch out for another former Tribe farmhand, Harold Castro, who is hitting .475 in his last nine games (19 for 40). However, he never walks and those 19 hits consist of 18 singles and a double. They’ve been platooning Castro; he’s 2-for-9 against lefties.

FanGraphs has the Tigers as the only team in the A.L. with a negative WAR at -0.5. In other words, you could bring up a team of minor leaguers and they would be a little better than the guys they have now.

On to the matchups.

Tonight it’s Hentges v. Spencer Turnbull, 3-2, 2.88. Turnbull is putting together an All-Star season; five of his six starts he’s allowed three runs or fewer and his last start was a no-hitter against Seattle. His worst start was allowing four runs against the Yankees. He’s having a better year than any of our starters.

Hentges is coming off a disastrous start where he was tagged for six runs in 1.2 innings by the Angels. He needs a solid bounce back start tonight. He needs to be careful with Grossman who is hitting .311/.929 against lefties.

Tuesday it’s Civale v. Tarik Skubal, a 24-year-old lefty who the Tigers are force feeding. He’s 1-6, 5.45. In two games against the Indians in April he gave up 8 runs in 9.1 innings. Luplow abused him for five RBI’s in one game. He’s only completed six innings once in nine starts.

The Indians are 7-2 in games Civale starts and he's already beaten the Tigers twice this year. The Tigers are 1-8 in Skubal's nine starts so the numbers say the Indians can't lose. I'm predicting the Tigers win this one because whenever I go into a game confident of an Indians win they lose.

Wednesday it’s TBD (Mejia?) against Jose Urena, 2-4, 4.62. Urena went 4.1 innings against the Indians in April, giving up two runs. He has been shaky lately with a 5.85 ERA in May. Lefties are hitting .330/.812 against him.

Thursday afternoon it’s Bieber v. Oil Can Boyd. Just kidding, Matthew Boyd, another lefty with a 2-5, 3.08 line. Obviously Boyd has been victimized by lack of run support. On Opening Day he shut down the Tribe on 3 hits and no runs in 5.2 innings. After putting up a 2.27 ERA in April he dropped off to 4.76 in May and has given up nine earned runs in his last two starts. He has a career mark of 36-59, 4.94, so his May numbers are more in line with his career norms.

Bieber lost to the Tigers on Opening Day when he gave up a two-run homer to Miggy in a 3-2 loss.

The Indians are 24-20 with a run differential of -2, which suggests their record should be 22-22. They now are 7th in the A.L. in winning percentage. They’re a mediocre team at this point and have yet to play most of the strongest teams in the A.L. including the Red Sox, Rays, Astros, and A’s.

So far the Indians have played 14 games against teams with winning records against 30 games against losing teams. That will get more balanced eventually, but the good news is the schedule looks pretty decent until July 1 with seven games against Detroit, seven against Baltimore, three against Pittsburgh, and four against Minnesota - all losing teams. The schedule isn’t too bad while Franmil Reyes is out - 21 of the next 30 against sub-.500 teams.

The second half is tougher, starting with the first 10 games against Oakland, Houston, and Tampa Bay. We get the Red Sox in Aug-Sep and the Yankees in Sep. For the next five weeks the Tribe needs to keep their heads above water until Franmil gets back while figuring out who their 4th and 5th starters are and trying to find a lineup that can score 4-5 runs a game fairly consistently.
 
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Please option Chang down today, it's beyond time. Second time he contributed to a close game loss with bad defense at 1B and hits like a NL pitcher. 80% of the Columbus roster makes more sense than Chang at this point.
 
Please option Chang down today, it's beyond time. Second time he contributed to a close game loss with bad defense at 1B and hits like a NL pitcher. 80% of the Columbus roster makes more sense than Chang at this point.
We have a week of facing lefties. Possibly he and Bradley swap places once that run is over.
 
As always great insight Wham. Series intro articles are great. One small correction in that Harold Castro is not a former Indian farmhand. He was drafted by the Tigers and never moved. You must be thinking of Willie Castro who came over in the Martin trade.
 
Here's to hoping a mix of Miller, Naylor and Eddie R can fill in for the loss of Franimal..
 
As always great insight Wham. Series intro articles are great. One small correction in that Harold Castro is not a former Indian farmhand. He was drafted by the Tigers and never moved. You must be thinking of Willie Castro who came over in the Martin trade.
Yeah, I got Harold and Willie mixed up. It doesn't help they're both middle infielders. Thanks.
 
Every game is must win the rest of the way.

Keep that in mind each time you choose a pair of pre-game underwear, spot to sit on the couch, pre-game song to listen to or when to urinate.
You're assuming most of us can choose when to urinate. I think that's a little presumptuous.
 
The bad news is that Sam Hentges is starting tonight. The good news is that JC Mejia will be the first guy out of the pen.
 
The bad news is that Sam Hentges is starting tonight. The good news is that JC Mejia will be the first guy out of the pen.
I think the plan is for Mejia to start on Wednesday, unless Hentges gets shelled early in today’s game and they go to Mejia to save the bullpen.
 
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I think the plan is for Mejia to start on Wednesday, unless Hentges gets shelled early in today’s game and they go to Mejia to save the bullpen.
After thinking about this...I think you are 100% correct. Mejia relieved Tristan...my bad.
 
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Miller playing 3rd today giving Jose a day off. One of the best things about Miller is he can play anywhere so some of our players can get some much needed rest that they've been missing out on with Franmil plugging up that DH spot.
 
If Hentges gets blown up, I think Stephan and Quantrill get called upon.

It's kind of sad to say, but you are hoping for 3 solid innings from your starter and if he gets to 5 that's a great bonus.
 

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