MLB Predictions 2012: Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians

The Detroit Tigers (52-44) and Cleveland Indians (48-48) will open up an important American League Central series on Tuesday night at Progressive Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET

Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians 

Cleveland Indians OF Shin-Soo Choo has great career numbers against Detroit Tigers SP Doug Fister

Detroit is one of the hottest teams in baseball, as it looks to put together its second six-game win streak of the month in the series opener.  “We’re playing good right now, but we have to continue,” commented Tigers manager Jim Leyland.  The Tigers will welcome a couple of new players to the clubhouse, acquiring infielder Omar Infante and pitcher Anibal Sanchez in a trade during the team’s off day.  Detroit is 24-34 when playing after a day off the last two-plus seasons.

Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister (4-6, 4.04 ERA) has won his last three starts, including a 7-2 home victory over the Los Angeles Angels, allowing one run and two hits over eight frames.  The right-hander is 1-4 with a 4.29 ERA in seven road outings, issuing seven walks and striking out 36 batters in 42 combined frames.  In nine career games versus the Indians, Fister has compiled a 3-2 record and 2.35 ERA, but didn’t factor into the decision of a 4-2 setback at this ballpark on May 23.

Cleveland snapped a four-game losing streak by picking up a much-needed 3-1 home victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night, as the club sits four games back of its current opponent in the division standings.  “It was huge,” commented Indians manager Manny Acta.  The Indians will lean heavily on outfielder Shin-Soo Choo offensively in trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since July 3-5, as he’s gone 8 for 19 with two home runs against Fister.  Cleveland is 7-5 as a home underdog of +100 to +125, with the “over” going 7-5 in that situation.

Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 5.24 ERA) has suffered back-to-back losses, as he’s given up 13 runs and 14 hits over 10 innings over that span.  The right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.66 ERA in eight home outings, with opposing hitters batting .212 against him.  In nine career starts versus the Tigers, Jimenez has tallied a 4-5 mark and 5.37 ERA, including a 5-3 home victory on May 22.

Sports bettors will likely back the Indians due to their 22-7 mark in series openers, while the Tigers are 0-4 in Fister’s last four efforts as a road favorite.

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