In just under a week, the Cleveland Indians have gone from American League Central contenders to a club that can’t keep opponents off the scoreboard. Starting rotation struggles are largely to blame as the Indians bring a six-game losing skid into the opener of their weekend series with the division-rival Detroit Tigers. Cleveland has been outscored 48-17 in dropping the first six games of what has become a nightmarish nine-game road trip. Detroit comes in having dropped two of three in Boston.
Justin Masterson will try to dig the Indians out of their dreadful stretch – and the bar isn’t that high, considering that Cleveland starters are 0-5 with an 11.93 ERA so far on the road swing. Masterson will be opposed by fellow right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who makes his second start for the Tigers since coming over in a trade with the Miami Marlins. Sanchez will be looking to put a dreadful debut behind him as he was tagged for five runs over six innings in a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Indians Tigers Betting
When: 7:05 PM ET, Friday, August 3, 2012
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Justin Masterson (7-9, 4.47 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Anibal Sanchez (0-1, 7.50)
Consistency has eluded Masterson, with the Jamaica native alternating good and bad starts for more than a month. He scuffled mightily last time out, charged with 10 runs – eight earned – over just 5 2/3 innings in a one-sided loss to Minnesota. Masterson’s struggles extend to his career against Detroit; he’s just 1-4 with a 4.59 ERA in 11 games versus the Tigers, including eight starts. His only win came in his last outing against them back on May 24.
Sanchez will finally hear some cheers – not only is he making his Comerica Park debut, he’ll also be making his first home start since June 27. Sanchez’s last five outings have come on the road, and he made things easy for the home side last time out as he served up three home runs in a loss to Toronto. Sanchez made his one and only career start against the Indians earlier this season, limiting them to two runs over seven innings but taking the loss back on May 19.
1. Indians C Carlos Santana is hitting .327 (16-for-49) with six home runs and 15 RBIs in his last 15 games.
2. Cleveland has won seven of nine meetings between the teams this season, including two of three the last time they met in Detroit from May 22-24.
3. The Marlins’ new ballpark wasn’t friendly to Sanchez, who went just 2-5 with a 5.20 ERA in nine starts there.