The Indians are in a position to finally seize full control over their personal footstool in the past decade. They’ve proven the superiority in the first of a four-game series against bitter division rivals on Thursday night. Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber were the main catalysts for the much-important victory as the playoffs hopefuls snapped a horrendous eight-game losing thread. The first one celebrated his 28th birthday by homering twice on the occasion, while the latter took a shutout into the eighth inning. Can Cleveland repeat the feat and make it two from two in September at Comerica Park? Stay tuned and see what our expert pick for the game is!
Detroit Tigers – The Playoffs Underdog
It would take a miracle for the Tigers to catch a playoffs spot in this shortened 60-game MLB campaign. They come into the second clash against the Indians on a 21-28 record and need to step up big time to even keep any hopes of getting involved in mathematical wild card calculations. Nonetheless, the mediocrity of the team's roster is probably a much bigger issue than the record itself. The reality is the Tigers are a very modest, young, rebuilding outfit. They head into the second tie with the Indians off the back of four losses in the last five games overall. Detroit have been struggling badly to even get themselves on the scoresheet throughout the whole season, and particularly in the last several weeks. The team grabbed three or fewer points in five of the last six outings.
They were brutally outplayed by the White Sox losing on each of three successive visits to Chicago this month and scoring no more than five points along the way. The second of three losses was particularly painful as it saw the AL Central leaders cruising past the Tigers 14-0 on the occasion. Detroit did bounce back with a 6-0 win over the rock-bottomed Royals on the home patch. Nonetheless, it counted for little as Kansas City got the revenge victory 0-4 the very next day to leave the Tigers hopeless ahead of four ties with the Indians. The team continued the dreadful rhythm on Thursday night falling 3-10 at home to Cleveland. Do not forget the visitors are paid at -192 odds to pick up the second straight victory here. From this perspective, it clearly looks like a banker bet.
Pitcher: Michael Fulmer, 0-2
Expected Line-Up: Victor Reyes, Willi Castro, Miguel Cabrera, Jeimer Candelario, Niko Goodrum, Jorge Bonifacio, Austin Romine, Isaac Paredes, Diaz Cameron
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Cleveland Indians – Rediscovering their Form
Despite the horrendous slide in form, the Indians entered the four-game series holding the last American League playoffs spot. They’ve got the precious streak-ending victory on Thursday night thanks to fantastic displays from Shane Bieber and Jose Ramirez. Bieber was exceptional the whole evening holding the Tigers at bay all up until he faced his final hitter, Willi Castro. Detroit were without a single run before Castro’s turn, but it by no means affected the final score as the Indians stormed past Detroit 3-10. The visitors will be even greater favorites on the second night as they are about to face Michael Fulmer on the occasion. With all due respect, any team in the league can get at least three runs against Fulmer.
After all, the Indians rocked Fulmer in two head to head encounters last month. Cleveland notched five runs and three home runs over two clashes against the Tigers with Fulmer in charge. On the other side, Michael has not pitched more than three innings in any outing so far in the season. Moving forward, Michael allowed five White Sox runs in two and 2/3 innings in his most recent start. It is clear who we will be backing to win here as the main pick. On the other hand, Zach Plesac will be looking to bounce back from one of his weakest showings of the season. The Indians' pitcher allowed five runs on six hits over seven innings on Saturday against Minnesota. For the sake of comparison, he has only given up five runs total in his five initial starts of the campaign. They must feel good about themselves having ended a poor eight-loss streak on Thursday. However, most of these defeats were narrow ones, especially in the last week as they fell twice by just a single-point margin at Chicago Cubs. Much like the counterparts, Cleveland also struggled to get points lately, but their confidence will no doubts grow significantly after a commanding win in the first game in Detroit.
Pitcher: Zach Plesac, 3-2
Expected Line-Up: Francisco Lindor, Delino DeShields, Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana, Franmil Reyes, Jordan Luplow, Roberto Perez, Austin Hedges, Oscar Mercado