The word on the street is that the Cleveland Indians are a good baseball team. The Indians won again yesterday, compiling 20 wins in a row with a victory over the Tigers. Remember when the AL Central was in doubt a couple of months ago? That’s an afterthought at this point, as the Indians have a 13.5 game lead in the division. With the Astros up 14 games in the AL West, and the Indians up 13.5 here, there is going to be no suspense down the stretch. If you want suspense, check out the NL Central and the AL wildcard race. The rest of the divisions are looking pretty clear at this point, with the Yankees having an outside shot of catching up to the Red Sox.
The Indians are trying to find history at this juncture and earn homefield advantage throughout the postseason. Thanks to their twenty-game winning streak, the Indians have 89 wins to the Astros 87, putting them ahead for homefield. The Astros can’t really do much about it or feel bad, you can’t prevent a team from getting that hot. There is still time for this team to cool down, though. Which brings up my next point: have the Indians peaked too soon? They aren’t going to win all the way through the postseason, so is it in their best interest to maybe lose a few games before?
As it has it, if the Indians don’t do well in the postseason, people will blame this hot run for their failures. The way I see it, they have to keep winning to fend off the Astros for homefield. Pulling the foot off the gas pedal can have disastrous results as well. Out on the hump tonight will be perhaps the more underrated member of the Indians’ pitching staff, Mike Clevinger. If you don’t follow baseball or the Indians, Clevinger may be a name that you don’t recognize. He is starting to deserve some recognition, though. Buck Farmer will counter for the Tigers this afternoon. Head below for our free Tigers vs. Indians pick.
Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians Pick
Buck Farmer (4-2, 6.32 ERA) vs. Mike Clevinger (9-5, 3.30 ERA)
It’s time for the Tigers to try and impress the coaching staff for next season, while the Indians are looking for something much bigger. It felt like just yesterday the Indians and Tigers were predicted to go 1-2 in the division. It could be a while before the Tigers are 1st and 2nd in the division again. They’ve gone 2-10 in their last twelve games, which was pretty well expected after they had their fire sale. The Tigers unloaded the cupboard, and Miguel Cabrera is one of the only lone survivors. At 34, though, I’m not so sure how much he has left in the tank for next year.
Clevinger has been making it look really easy lately. He hasn’t allowed a run in four starts, a perfect 0.00 ERA in his last three starts. One of those came against the Tigers, where they were shut down for 3 hits across 6 innings of work. He’s caught fire with the rest of the team, but he was struggling earlier in the season for a stretch. The Tribe are hoping this isn’t a fluky run for him. I don’t know if they’re going to get a straight answer today against the powerless Tigers’ lineup. In 53 at-bats, the Tigers are hitting Clevinger for a measly BA of .132. Cabrera is the only guy to have taken him deep. Farmer was sharp against the Blue Jays in his last start, but I could see the Indians taking him for a ride Wednesday afternoon. During the Indians 20-game winning streak, they failed to win by more than 1 run just three times. Unless I caught a cold from my recent football picks, I don’t see us losing this pick.
PICK: INDIANS -1.5 (-145)