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Tigers Aim To Sweep Indians, Win 12th Straight

Max Scherzer will look to win his 17th game of the season Thursday, while the Tigers aim to keep their 11-game winning streak alive.

Max Scherzer will look to win his 17th game of the season Thursday as the Tigers aim to keep an 11-game winning streak alive.

The Detroit Tigers will look to put the finishing touches on a four game sweep of the Cleveland Indians Thursday night. They’ll send ace Max Scherzer to the mound.

20130807_AL_CentralA victory would not complete the sweep but also tally a 12th consecutive victory for the Tigers, whilst also bringing Scherzer’s own win-count up to 17. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET from Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland.

The Tigers outlasted the Indians in Wednesday’s game, taking a 6-5 victory on a two-run Prince Fielder double in the 14th inning. The victory marked the third time this week the Motor City side has defeated the Tribe, and the 11th time in 12 games.

With the victory the Tigers padded their lead at the top of the AL Central to six games. Since May 24, Jim Leyland’s side has only been absent from the top of the division standings for two days. Now the surging Tigers are just one game back of the Boston Red Sox for the best record in the American League.

20130807_AL_WildcardCleveland meanwhile has taken a hit in the standings. In addition to trailing the Tigers in the AL Central, the Indians have also fallen 2 ½ games back in the American League Wild Card race, with the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers all sporting superior records. Stopping the rot will be top of the agenda for manager Terry Francona.

Thursday’s game will be tough to win for the Indians though. Already struggling against Detroit (67-45, 30-26 road) this season, the club will face the American League’s, and perhaps baseball’s best pitcher.

The first pitcher to win 16 of 17 to open the season since Roger Clemens in 2001, Scherzer (16-1, 2.85 ERA) has won three straight games since losing his first decision of the season back on July 13. The right-hander has not allowed a run in his last two starts, including a three-hit shutout through 7 2/3 innings last time out (Aug. 3).

The 29-year-old has two wins against the Indians this season. On May 21, he allowed just one run on two hits in eight innings. On July 8 he yielded seven hits and two runs in seven innings. Both games were played at Progressive Field.

Scherzer’s first strikeout in Thursday’s game will be the 1,000th of his career.

Cleveland (62-52, 37-22 home) will counter with Zach McAllister (4-6, 3.47 ERA). McAllister failed to record a decision in his last start (Aug. 3) but held the Miami Marlins to two runs on three hits. An inflated pitch count saw the 25-year-old leave with one out in the sixth inning.

McAllister has not won a game since the Tigers beat up on the Red Sox back on May 23. However, a stint on the DL due to a strained finger means he’s only five games since that win. Picking up a victory on Thursday night would be huge, almost as much for his own confidence as the satisfaction the Indians would take from snapping the Tigers’ winning streak.

Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians odds for 8/8/13 are available now.

Jason Kipnis and the Indians hope to snaps Detroit's streak.

Jason Kipnis and the Indians hope to snaps Detroit’s streak.

With Scherzer on the hill and a series sweep in sight, Detroit (-149) opened as a heavy favorite over Cleveland (+139) on the moneyline. That number has since gone to -155 with Bovada.

The Tigers have taken 12 of 15 meetings between the clubs this season, including eight of nine at Progressive Field. That dominance makes the Motown club hard to bet against on Thursday.

The over/under opened at 7 ½.

Detroit (58-51-3) has favored the over this season while Cleveland (52-58-4) has preferred the under. Five of the first seven meetings between the two clubs this season saw the total go over, but lately runs have been less common resulting in the total going under five of the last eight, including the first two games of this series. With Scherzer on the mound, Detroit has seen the total go over 10 times and under 11 times this season with one push.

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