MLB- Detroit at Cleveland (9:05 ET, XM 181)

MLB- Detroit at Cleveland (9:05 ET, XM 181)

The two best teams in the American League Central


2007-08-14

The two best teams in the American League Central, Detroit and Cleveland, will battle head-to-head trying to right a season that has gone wrong in many respects.

Detroit had been cruising along all season and has hit the wall, having not won a series since July 19 (0-5-2). The largest issue has been a pitching staff that can not do the job either as starters or relievers. During the last 25 games, Tiger hurlers have allowed enormous 6.96 runs per game, including six times of nine or more. Cleveland's troubles can be marked by the last time they faced Detroit in early July. Since losing to the Tigers on the 4th of July, the Indians are 13-21, having not won more than two games consecutively in that time frame. This will be the first of eight remaining games between these long time rivals, with Cleveland currently holding the edge at 6-4 this season.

Why Tigers win Credit General Manager Dave Dombrowski for trying, as he has kept open the road between Detroit and Triple-A affiliate Toledo trying to maneuver fresh arms. Fernando Rodney is finally back as setup man off long stint on the DL. Next week flame-thrower Joel Zumaya is due back with his 100 mph fastball. In order to save the bullpen, a big effort from a staggering Jeremy Bonderman (10-4, 4.75) would sure help. He has lost four games in a row and might have a dead arm as his pitches have nothing on them. Bonderman has given up 28 earned runs in 22 1/3 innings for an 11.28 ERA and Detroit needs to see an abrupt turnaround. The Tigers have done their best work on the road with 35-25 record this year and are 38-22 against the money line in road games against division opponents over the last two seasons. Detroit is 8-0 against the ML in road games after scoring two runs or less this season.

Why Indians win Having big C.C. Sabathia (14-6, 3.52) on the hill is always comforting to Cleveland fans, especially off a three game losing streak. Sabathia is seeking his 15th win of the season to tie for the major league lead. The Tigers are just 12-24 vs. an AL starting pitcher whose ERA is 4.00 or better this season. The Indians batters have been the biggest cause of the team's lack of success of late, scoring more than five runs just once in last 11 contests. Travis Haffner missed the Yankees series with bad knees and normally consistent Victor Martinez has been slumping. Facing a beat-up and battered staff can only help the Tribe. Sabathia has lost three straight home games, however history suggests he is still a good bet at home with 12-4 mark at Jacobs Field in last 16. (Indians record)

Top Totals Trends Detroit is 14-5 OVER vs. a starting pitcher whose gives up seven or more hits a start this season. Cleveland is 20-11 OVER vs. teams outscoring opponents by 0.5 or more runs a game on the season this season.

Sportsbook.com Line Cleveland -145, Total 9

Pick Both teams are going badly, thus picking either one has more the feel of tossing a coin. Instead the total has a more appealing feel about it. Sabathia is 2-1 against Detroit this season, but has 7.36 ERA this season against the Tigers this season and 4.47 ERA lifetime. Bonderman has struggled mightily facing a Cleveland line-up in his career with 6.06 ERA, in posting 7-9 record. Detroit is 33-12 OVER after a loss this season and the Tribe is 9-0 OVER after scoring three runs or less three straight games the last couple of seasons. Play the OVER.

MLB.TV will allow those who want to watch important contest to do so and for those that can't get to a computer or local watering hole, XM 181 will provide an audio version. The Live Odds page will keep you on top of the all the changes in major league baseball and give a preview of what's ahead for week 2 of the NFL Preseason

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