August 20, 2011 – By Scott
The American League Central is shaping up to be an exciting race in Major League Baseball. The Cleveland Indians were in second place behind the Detroit Tigers heading into their weekend series against each other and after Friday’s game, they are still in this position.
Not that it would have changed if they won, they could have gotten one step closer. However, the Tigers got strong pitching from Max Scherzer Friday night as Detroit took the first game 4-1 in the weekend series. Austin Jackson, Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta all hit homers to put the Tigers 2 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland.
Part of the reason the Tigers (66-58) have been playing well as of late is their offense, most notably the production by Avila and Peralta. This month, Avila is batting .420 with 12 RBIs and 4 homers in their last 15 games. Peralta, in his last three games, is batting .600 and has now homered in consecutive games after Friday night’s matchup.
David Huff will get the honors on the mound Saturday as he hopes to find a way to silence the bats of Detroit. Huff is 1-1 on the year with a 0.51 ERA and in his last start, he gave up an unearned run in five innings in their loss to Boston back on August 2. In his most recent work, he came out of the bullpen and gave up the winning run in the Indians’ 8-7, 14-inning loss on Tuesday to Chicago after facing just one batter.
Doug Fisher will get the start for Cleveland (62-59) on Saturday. However, he must find a way to get back on track after a miserable outing last Sunday. Fisher (4-13, 3.59 ERA) allowed eight runs in just 5 2/3 innings of work in Cleveland’s loss to Baltimore. He hasn’t had much success against the Indians this year either and is 0-1 with a 2.81 ERA for the season.
Detroit will enter Saturday’s matchup against Cleveland as the favorite according to MLB sportsbooks with a moneyline set at -140. The Indians have their line set at +130.