The Indians aim to record their eighth straight series victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday when the American League Central rivals complete their three-game set in Cleveland.
The Indians rebounded after seeing their 20-game winning streak over the Tigers halted in the series opener by registering a 6-1 victory on Saturday. Cleveland last dropped a series to Detroit by losing two of three games Sept. 14-16, 2018.
Domingo Santana provided the big blow on Saturday with a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning. The 28-year-old, who has hit safely in three of his last four games while totaling seven RBIs, credits his additional plate appearances for his production.
“From the start, I’ve been getting some regular time,” Santana said. “I’m very grateful just to be a part of this group and just keep grinding.”
Franmil Reyes, who carries a four-game hitting streak into Sunday’s tilt, is 8-for-19 with four homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored against Detroit this season.
Conversely, Jose Ramirez has just one hit in his last 22 at-bats overall.
“He’s been like that before,” Indians acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said of Ramirez. “He played while he was banged up. He pushes himself. We just don’t want him to start messing up his hitting mechanics when he’s nursing something. But at the end of the day, he goes up there and competes.”
Cleveland right-hander Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 3.71 ERA) will need to focus on his control when he takes the mound on Sunday. Carrasco has walked 12 batters in his last three starts (14 2/3 innings).
Carrasco owns an 11-8 record with a 3.56 ERA in 29 career appearances (23 starts) versus Detroit. The 33-year-old has struggled in his battles with Jeimer Candelario (3-for-9), who is batting .359 (23-for-64) with five doubles, three triples, two home runs and 10 RBIs in his last 17 games.
Detroit left-handed prospect Tarik Skubal (0-1, 18.00 ERA) looks for a better performance on Sunday when he makes his second career start.
The 23-year-old’s debut didn’t go so well on Tuesday, as he permitted four runs on seven hits — including a homer — in two innings of a 10-4 setback at the Chicago White Sox.
“I wish I could get a couple of pitches back, but it’s part of the game,” Skubal said.
Tigers pitching coach Rick Anderson saw Skubal battling on the mound, against the White Sox as well as himself.
“He was caught in between. He was trying to be calm, telling himself to be calm. Sometimes, when you do that, it works against you when you’re trying to get after it and finish your pitches,” Anderson said, via the Detroit Free Press. “He was in between (on Tuesday), sometimes not being as aggressive as he usually is. That’s stuff you’re going to see. He was trying his best to keep his emotions in check.
“The biggest thing was, ‘Hey, we got that first one out of the way. Now let’s take off running.'”
Miguel Cabrera hopes to take off running after sputtering out of the blocks this season. The 2012 Triple Crown winner and four-time AL batting champion is 1-for-16 in his last four games to see his batting average plummet to .176.
–Field Level Media