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Tigers open three-game series against division rival Indians

The American League Central has a tight race for first place and this weekend the top teams will face one another in a three game series. The Cleveland Indians visit the Detroit Tigers in a matchup of two division rivals.

This season, the Tigers and Indians have traded first place and currently Detroit is in first place with an overall record of 32-26, but the Tigers are just 4-6 over their past 10 games overall.

Cleveland has an overall record of 30-29 and trail the Tigers by 2 ½ games in the division race. The Indians have been in a tailspin of late dropping four straight games and 7 of their past 10 overall.

When the two teams meet on Friday night, the Tigers will have their ace Justin Verlander on the mound facing Ubaldo Jimenez for the Indians. Verlander is 7-4 on the season with an ERA of 3.70. Jimenez is 4-3 with an ERA of 4.83.

The Tigers have had very good results from their starters of late. The starters for Detroit have pitched at least six innings in all of the previous 13 games and have allowed three runs or more just once, while posting an ERA of 2.49 with 114 strikeouts in 94 innings. Nevertheless, the team is only 6-7 during that period.

Thursday afternoon Max Scherzer pitched well for the Tigers yielding just one earned run in seven innings, as the Tigers defeated Tampa Bay 5-2 at home.

Detroit started the season 3-2 versus the Indians. However, when Jimenez and Verlander faced off on May 11, the Indians defeated the Detroit ace 7-6. In that game, Verlander gave up four runs in five innings giving up five walks.

The two pitchers met head to head again on May 22 with both not faring well. Between the two they allowed 11 runs on 17 hits over a combined nine innings pitched. In that game, Verlander took the win and Jimenez suffered the loss.

Since that outing, both pitchers have each had two solid starts. Verlander has won two straight allowing only six runs over 14 innings and recording 18 strikeouts. Jimenez has given up even less over that period. He has allowed just two runs over his past 15 innings pitched on eight hits.

Terry Francona, the Indians manager said Jimenez knows he can get into the zone and record outs. The manager told that to the press following the last start for Jimenez on Saturday when he pitched shutout baseball over eight innings for a 5-0 victory against Tampa Bay.

The Indians lost three straight against the Yankees and need a big outing from Jimenez. On Wednesday, the Indians lost for the eight consecutive time on the road.

The inconsistency has hurt the team. Their current run of 4-12 followed a surge of 18-4 that put them into first place for a brief period. Offensively the Indians are not hitting well as Nick Swisher is just 1 for his last 24 during the team’s last seven games.

Miguel Cabrera continues to hit the cover of the ball for Detroit as he recorded 3 hits on Thursday and knocked in his 66th run of the season.

Look for lots of offense in this series and for all your betting information on this matchup or any sports matchup, click here.


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