Cleveland Indians (76-69) at Detroit Tigers (80-66)
Time/Place: 7:08 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation blog: Let's Go Tribe
Pitching Matchup: RHP Carlos Carrasco (7-4, 2.69 ERA) vs. LHP David Price (13-11, 3.33 ERA)
Carlos Carrasco repeatedly danced his way out of trouble against the Tigers 10 days ago, allowing just one run on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out 10 batters with just one walk, but threw 98 pitches before being lifted in the sixth inning. The ninth inning heroics of J.D. Martinez took the sting out of the offense's inability to plate more than one run in the early innings, as the Tigers won 4-2 despite leaving 12 men on base.
There are several other teams that would have been happy with so many LOBsters against Carrasco, as he has been utterly dominant over the past few weeks. In his last start, Carrasco tossed 8 2/3 shutout innings against the Chicago White Sox, allowing just four hits. He has given up just 25 hits in 38 2/3 innings since rejoining the rotation, and the Tigers have 10 of them. Carrasco's ERA in his last six starts is a scant 0.70, and the Tigers were a timely hit or two away from putting him on the ropes. Part of that speaks to him finally harnessing his incredible stuff, as he has 42 strikeouts to just four walks during this stretch. Opponents are whiffing on that devastating slider 30.4 percent of the time this season, resulting in a .143 batting average and .191 slugging average.
David Price ran into trouble in the first inning of his last start, allowing five consecutive two-out hits to the San Francisco Giants. After staking them to a four run lead, Price settled down to retire 24 more batters while allowing just one more run, a Buster Posey homer. The two-out hits were maddening, but Price was quite dominant afterward, striking out 11 with just one walk. Big innings have been an issue for him since arriving in Detroit, as 12 of his 22 earned runs have come in just two bad innings -- one against the New York Yankees, and the aforementioned frame against the Giants.
Hitter to fear: Carlos Santana (.400/.500/.667 in 18 plate appearances)
Hitter to fail: Michael Brantley (.154/.214/.154 in 14 plate appearances)
Price dominated the Tribe 11 days ago, holding them to a run on eight hits in seven innings. While the low run count didn't matter thanks to an offensive explosion of 12 runs, the outing was a slight reprieve from Price's previous start, where he allowed eight runs against the Yankees. Price is 6-1 with a 2.87 ERA in his career against the Indians. Only two hitters -- Carlos Santana and Ryan Raburn -- are hitting above .300 in 10 or more career plate appearances, though Lonnie Chisenhall is 3 for 6 with a home run. None of the lefties have fared well, though. Michael Brantley, David Murphy, and Jason Kipnis are all hitting .200 or lower.
Despite all of the strikeouts, the Tigers demonstrated a great approach against Carrasco in their last meeting. Given his numbers against other teams, it's a small victory in itself that the Tigers were able to get so many runners on base. A timely hit or two would have entirely changed the outlook of that game. Tonight, however, they need to capitalize on the opportunities handed to them. Runs should be at a premium tonight, and it's not likely that they have as many scoring chances as they did last week.
Price pitches like he did in the last seven innings of his previous start and the Tigers get back into the win column.
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