Tigers vs. Indians MLB Pick – August 21, 2020

My scorching-hot free MLB Picks streak was halted on Wednesday as my lone pick between the Tigers and White Sox didn’t come to fruition.

The Tigers also took a 3-1 lead in that one and Casey Mize pitched well in his MLB debut, but the White Sox got to the Tigers bullpen in that one while the Tigers’ offense was shut down by the opposing bullpen in what was a 5-3 White Sox final score.

All good things come to an end, but that doesn’t mean we can’t heat back up with another MLB pick as we head into the weekend!

Season Record: 15-7

Units: +6.62

Now let’s take a look at tonight’s Free MLB Pick featuring the Tigers vs. Indians from Progressive Field in Cleveland!

Tigers vs. Indians Betting Odds

  • Tigers (+170)
  • Indians (-185)
  • Tigers +1.5 (-115)
  • Indians -1.5 (-105)
  • Over 9.5 (-102)
  • Under 9.5 (-118)

Tigers vs. Indians MLB Pick Breakdown

Pitching Matchup: DET – Fulmer (0-0, 7.56 ERA/10.97 FIP) vs. CLE – Plutko (1-1, 3.95 ERA/4.12 FIP)


The Tigers will send right-hander Michael Fulmer out to start this one tonight as the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year is still searching for it in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Fulmer missed all of the 2019 season due to the TJ procedure, but also endured struggles in 2018 in which he worked to a 4.69 ERA/4.52 FIP after posting an ERA of 3.83 or under as well as a FIP of 3.76 or under in each of the two previous seasons.

His rookie season was his finest as he posted a 3.06 ERA/3.76 FIP in that year while accruing 3.1 fWAR in his 159 innings of work.and

All this said, Fulmer will be limited to just three innings as mandated by the Tigers’ brass prior to the season and he’s been piggybacked by left-hander Daniel Norris for the most part this season.

If that’s the case again tonight, Norris will bring a 3.86 ERA/2.63 FIP into action in his long relief role this season while showing quality command in the form of a 2.89 BB/9. His 6.75 K/9 leaves plenty to be desired, but owns a solid 4.35 SIERA and has yet to allow a homer in his 9.1 innings of work, thanks in part to a quality 55.2% ground-ball rate on the season.


After watching Shane Bieber cruise through the lowly Pirates last night, it’s Adam Plutko’s turn tonight as he looks to continue another solid season for the Indians.

Plutko owns that quality 3.95 ERA/4.12 FIP on the season, but his 5.27 K/9 on the season is a number that will need to improve moving forward.

His command has been elite, however, with a 0.66 BB/9 on the season, but other peripherals spell some doom. Plutko owns a 5.01 SIERA on the season and has allowed hard contact that a 47.8% clip as well.

He struggled against the Tigers in his most recent outing, however, going just 2.2 innings while allowing three earned runs on six hits while striking out just one.



After a surprisingly potent start to the season, the Tigers’ offense has been cooled off of late and they are one of the weaker groups in the league against right-handed pitching.

They have lost nine in a row entering this one while they have averaged just 3.2 runs per game during that stretch. Also in that stretch, they rank 29th with a .265 wOBA and 64 wRC+, better than only the Pittsburgh Pirates during that time.

Against right-handers, the Tigers rank 28th with a .273 wOBA – ahead of only the Pirates and Brewers – while ranking dead last with a huge 29.9% K-rate on the season versus righties as well.

While the strikeouts might not be a huge concern against Plutko and his low-K ways, this Tigers’ offense is struggling mightily at the moment and has for much of the season versus right-handed pitching.


While the Tigers have scuffled versus righties, the same can be said for this Indians’ offense.

For the season, the Tribe rank 26th with a .295 wOBA versus righties while they have hit for less power than the Tigers have against right-handers in the form of a .122 ISO that ranks 29th, ahead of only – you guessed it – the Pirates and their . 104 mark.

That said, the offense has perked up a little bit of late despite scoring just two runs in last night’s win over Pittsburgh.

Over the last seven days (against both lefties and righties) the Indians rank 15th with a .326 wOBA and their power has also perked up with a .193 ISO in that time, good for a share of 11th with the Houston Astros.

It’s not a massive improvement, but it’s a start while they’ll look to keep their assault on Tigers pitching going in this one after averaging seven runs per game in their three-game sweep of Detroit last weekend.



This is where the Tigers are at the biggest disadvantage.

Their bullpen was good early and has generally improved from their disastrous results from last season, but they’ve slipped of late.

Tigers relievers will enter this one ranked 17th with a 4.58 ERA on the season, but also 18th with a 4.51 FIP and 4.54 xFIP. Their 0.5 fWAR from their bullpen ranks 17th again, but their tiny 7.50 K/9 on the season sits 29th.

Not a terrible bullpen whatsoever, but it’s also a group that’s posted a 6.25 ERA/6.61 FIP with a tiny 6.75 K/9 over the last week.

The good news is that they’ll get their setup man in Buck Farmer back from the IL for this one as he’s turned in a 2.84 ERA this season and has been the Tigers’ most reliable reliever since being converted to a full-time reliever in the 2017 season.


While the Tigers’ bullpen has been okay, the Indians’ bullpen has been flat-out dominant.

The Tribe will enter this one rocking a third-ranked 2.52 ERA, first-ranked 2.96 FIP and second-ranked 3.84 xFIP on the season in their 71.1 innings of work. They usually have their top arms available as the Indians’ bullpen has thrown the third-fewest innings in baseball this season with 71.1 on the year.

In addition, they’ve surrendered home runs at the second-best rate in baseball in the form of a 0.63 HR/9 while their command is elite as well in the form of a second-ranked 2.78 BB/9. Interestingly, the only the Tigers’ bullpen has been better in that regard with an MLB-best 2.42 BB/9 on the season.

Nonetheless, very few bullpens have been better than Cleveland’s dating back to the beginning of last season.

Tigers vs. Indians MLB Pick

Fulmer has scuffled so far this season, and he was touched up for three earned runs on five hits – including two homers – with two walks in just 2.2 innings of work his last time out.

However, he’s a very capable arm that possesses career numbers astronomically superior to what he’s shown this season. If Norris does indeed piggyback him in this one, the Tigers will also have a solid reliever with starter’s experience going as well.

Plutko has been solid despite some concerning peripherals, and despite the Tigers hitting him his last time out, this is one of the coldest offenses in baseball and one of the worst against righties.

With the Indians also generally struggling against righties, I’m looking at the total here and I am looking at the under.

I don’t see the Tigers getting much off of the Indians’ bullpen whatsoever once Plutko departs and I have faith in the Fulmer/Norris combo to keep the Indians quiet on their part. I’ll certainly look for the Tigers’ bullpen to shake off their recent work later on.

Add it up and I’m heading for the under 9.5 run total tonight from Cleveland.

The Bet
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.

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