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Game 57 Preview: Indians at Tigers

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CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 1: Starter Derek Lowe #26 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field on June 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 1: Starter Derek Lowe #26 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field on June 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Cleveland Indians (30-25) at Detroit Tigers (25-31)

Time/Place: 1:00 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation Blog: Let's Go Tribe

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: Derek Loiwe (7-3, 3.06 ERA) vs. Casey Crosby (0-1, 16.20 ERA)

If the season ended today, Lowe would have his lowest ERA total in a decade. How is he doing it? By keeping the ball in the park. His HR/FB ratio is 6.5%, almost half of his career mark of 12.3%. He's also leaving a lot of guys on base, stranding runners at a 78.3% clip. Combine that with a strikeout rate of just 2.66 batters per 9 innings, and you will understand why his FIP and xFIP are nearly a full run higher than his ERA. He will regress at some point, but probably not as much as some people think.

All of our worst fears came to life when Crosby walked 4 hitters in just 3 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees -- and no, the grand slam off the bat of Curtis Granderson didn't help either. No matter how you slice it, it wasn't a good debut (though it's not exactly fair having to make your first start against the Yankees). I'd like to think that Crosby will be better today, but I've been wrong quite a bit so far this season.

Outlook

Roughly paraphrased from that Hunger Games movie, the odds are definitely not in the Tigers' favor today. Lowe is having a resurgent season while we're starting a lefty who should be in AAA. I still have hope for this season and think that the Tigers will be able to win the division, but not starting today. This team is just too banged up at the moment.

Prediction

Lowe goes 7 strong and the Indians sweep again.