The Indians, who suddenly find themselves 4 1/2 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central, take on the Tigers in three games this weekend, with the first game scheduled for 7:05 this evening at Progressive Field.
The Indians are coming off of a three-game sweep of the Royals, while Detroit was just swept at home by the Seattle Mariners, to fall below .500 at 12-13.
The Tribe has had to make some adjustments to their rotation, with the injuries to starters Mitch Talbot and Carlos Carrasco. Thus, Alex White will be making his major league debut on Saturday evening, taking Carrasco's spot, and tonight, Jeanmar Gomez gets the nod against Detroit's Max Scherzer.
Gomez will be making his third appearance of the season for Cleveland, and his second start. Gomez (0-1, 7.36 ERA), started -- and lost -- in his season debut on April 19 in Kansas City. In that game, Gomez went 4 1/3 innings and was knocked around for nine hits and five earned runs in a 5-4 Royals' win. In his next appearance, Gomez came on in relief when Carrasco left last Sunday's start in Minnesota. Gomez, in the 4-3 Twins' victory in which Minnesota came from behind for the win, Gomez gave up one run on three hits in three innings, giving the Tribe a chance to win which was later given away.
On the season so far, Gomez has gone 7 1/3 frames, and has surrendered 12 hits and 6 runs, walking three and striking out four.
In two starts against Detroit last year, Gomez went 1-1 in ten innings with a 4.50 ERA, giving up 15 hits and ten runs -- of which only five were earned.
Scherzer has a third of the Tigers' wins this year, and will be trying to even his career mark at 26-26. In five starts to this point, Scherzer (4-0, 3.19 ERA) has started five times, and has worked 31 innings, giving up 33 hits and 13 walks, putting nearly a runner-and-a-half per inning on base, but has given up only eleven runs. Scherzer has struck out 30, and for his career, in 453 innings, has struck out 454.
Detroit has a low batting average of .246 as a team, ranking 17th in the major leagues. The Tigers are led in hitting by Brennan Boesch, who is batting .350 in 80 at-bats. The team lead in homers belongs to Miguel Cabrera, with five dingers, while Cabrera and Alex Avila each have 16 RBI. Detroit has hit 22 home runs in 25 games.
The Indians, on the other hand, are batting .272 as a team -- 5th in the majors -- led by Grady Sizemore at .390 in 41 at-bats. Among Indians who have been with the squad since Day One of 2011, Travis Hafner leads at .342. Five different Indians have four homers apiece, while three share the team lead with 15 RBI. As a team, Cleveland has smacked 29 home runs in their 24 games.