American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, May 22nd (All times Eastern)
Detroit Tigers (20-21) at Cleveland Indians (23-18), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Rick Porcello (3-3, 5.12) Cleveland - Ubaldo Jimenez (4-3, 5.09)
(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Indians get a chance to show the Detroit Tigers they are in fact for real this evening when the American League Central rivals start a three-game series at Progressive Field.
The Indians, who lost their final 10 meetings to Detroit last season, enter this series atop the division, holding a three-game lead on under-achieving Detroit, which comes into tonight's opener in third place, boasting a 20-21 mark.
Cleveland dropped two of three over the weekend to the Miami Marlins, falling in Sunday's rubber match, 5-3. Derek Lowe (6-2) was pegged with the loss after giving up two runs on six hits over six frames.
"It was another well-pitched ballgame and we just cracked first out of the bullpen," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "A couple of walks came back to haunt us. That is something we need to improve upon."
Free passes have certainly been a problem for Ubaldo Jimenez, who takes the hill for the Tribe tonight. Jimenez is among the league leaders with 32 walks in 46 innings and is 4-3 on the year with a 5.09 ERA.
Jimenez, who is 2-5 in seven starts versus the Tigers, won for the second time in three starts on Wednesday against Seattle, as he allowed three runs and five hits in six innings.
Detroit, meanwhile, will counter with righty Rick Porcello, who is 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA. Porcello did not get a decision against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, as he allowed six runs (two earned) and six hits in four innings of his team's 11-7 loss.
The Tigers have lost four of Porcello's last six starts.
Porcello has faced the Tribe 12 times and is 5-1 against them with a 3.86 ERA.
The Tigers moved within a game of .500 on Sunday, as Max Scherzer struck out a career-high 15 batters in a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates to claim that series.
Scherzer (3-3) surrendered just four hits, two of which were solo homers, and walked only one batter over seven innings. Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth and earned his first save of the season.
"Whenever you can do something to really help the team to win, it's a gratifying feeling for anybody in this clubhouse," remarked Scherzer. "For me to go out there and have a game like today that helped get the series win, it puts a smile on my face."
The Tigers haven't won back-to-back games since defeating the Royals on April 17-18.
05/22 11:04:02 ET