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The Detroit Tigers will look to extend their lead in the AL Central when they take on the second-place Cleveland Indians tonight in the first of a three-game series at Progressive Field. The game is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. (ET) and it will be available on MLB TV.
Detroit has won five of its last seven games to open up a four game lead in the division. It is now 61-53 on the year with a 33-25 record at home and a 28-28 record on the road.
The Tigers continue to race towards the postseason behind a lineup that is ranked third in the AL in hitting with a .268 team batting average and fifth in runs scored with 508. Their pitching has not been nearly as effective with a team ERA of 4.20, which is ranked 11th in the league.
Doug Fister is expected to be on the mound tonight for Detroit. He was recently acquired from Seattle and last Wednesday earned his first win since late May by holding Texas to two earned runs on eight hits in a full seven innings of work. Fister is now 4-12 on the year with a 4.13 ERA. He is 0-2 against the Indians with an ERA of 3.16.
Cleveland has not won a series since taking two of three from the Yankees in early July. It is 4-6 in its last 10 games and an even 56-56 overall. The Indians are 27-32 on the road this year and 29-24 at home.
The cracks in Cleveland’s lineup and pitching staff are starting to widen down the season’s stretch. It is now ranked 11th in the AL in hitting with a team batting average of .247 and the staff’s ERA has slipped to 4.01.
Justin Masterson is slated to get the start for the Indians tonight. The right-hander is 9-7 this season with a 2.63 ERA in 23 starts. He has been extremely impressive over the past few months with an ERA of just 1.97 in his last 12 outings. Masterson is winless against the Tigers, going 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA.
Head-to-head this season, the Indians have won four of six overall and are a perfect 3-0 at home. The total has been evenly split 3-3 in the six games.
Stick with Cleveland to extend its home winning streak over the Tigers to 12 games as Masterson finds a way to shut down this Tiger lineup.