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Tigers vs. Cleveland Preview: Alright let’s end this losing streak already

Matthew Boyd is in charge of snapping a 10-game Tigers losing streak against Cleveland.

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Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

For a while earlier this decade, the Detroit Tigers owned Cleveland. They went 12-6 against their AL Central rivals in 2011, 15-4 in 2013, and 11-8 in 2014, the last of their four consecutive division titles. They even added in an 11-7 mark in 2015, a last-place season, for good measure. In all, the Tigers went 57-35 (a .620 win percentage) over the Naps from 2011 to 2015. Hilarity ensued.

Since then, the tables have turned. Cleveland was 30-16 against Detroit from 2016 to 2018, with at least 13 wins over their division rivals in each season. They have nearly matched that total already in 2019, with 11 wins in 12 tries over the Tigers so far this year. Detroit hasn’t won a game against Cleveland since April 10, when they were 8-4 and in first place. Yes, that actually happened.

Now, the Tigers are staring at their third consecutive series sweep at the hands of the former Blues, and their 11th loss in a row. Standing in Cleveland’s way? Matthew Boyd, who has a career 3.40 ERA against the reigning AL Central champs. Boyd has given up at least four earned runs in each of his past five starts, but he has also struck out 47 hitters in 29 13 innings across that span. He was able to avoid the home run ball in his last start for the first time in a while, but will that be enough against a Cleveland side that is 26-11 since June 1?

Detroit Tigers (29-62) at Cleveland Indians (54-40)

Time/Place: 7:10 p.m., Progressive Field
SB Nation site: Let’s Go Tribe
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, fuboTV, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Matthew Boyd (6-7, 3.95 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (8-7, 3.65 ERA)

Game 93 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Boyd 114.0 32.1 5.1 3.48 3.0
Bauer 138.0 27.4 9.3 4.26 2.2

The Tigers have seen Trevor Bauer three times so far this year, and the results are widely mixed. Bauer has given up at least 10 hits in two of those three outings, including Detroit’s lone win over Cleveland this year. They also tagged him for five runs on 10 hits in their last meeting, a game the Tigers had in hand until their bullpen got involved. Overall, Tigers hitters have an .880 OPS against him this year, and he has a 4.34 ERA in 18 23 innings.

Then there are the days Bauer puts it all together. He had one of those against Detroit on June 16, and tossed a four-hit shutout for his fifth win of the year. He has alternated good and bad outings since then, and has 38 strikeouts in his last 25 23 innings.

Key matchup: The Tigers offense vs. making contact and scoring runs

When you manage just one hit one night and strike out 17 times the next, the “key matchup” doesn’t get any simpler than this.

Prediction

Bauer has a good day and Cleveland completes the sweep.