The Detroit Tigers resided in the cellar of the American League Central last season due in large part to their porous road record.
The Tigers aim to find success away from Motown on Friday when they begin a 10-game road trip with the opener of a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians.
Detroit had lost 65 of 85 games against Cleveland since the start of the 2016 season before taking two of three from its division rival to begin this campaign.
The Tigers benefited from two-run leads in the first inning to claim both a 3-2 victory over the Indians on April 1 and a 5-2 triumph two days later.
New sensation Akil Baddoo didn’t play in either of those contests, however he followed up a solo homer in Detroit’s 9-3 setback to Cleveland on Sunday with a grand slam in a 15-6 loss to Minnesota the next day. Baddoo is 5-for-11 with three extra-base hits and a team-leading seven RBIs in his last four games.
“Akil’s in the middle of everything,” manager AJ Hinch said following the Tigers’ 3-2 loss to the Twins on Wednesday. “I mean, his first few games have been about as active as you can get when you’re getting introduced to the big leagues.”
Detroit right-hander Julio Teheran (1-0, 1.80 ERA) had a significant role in one of his new team’s victories over the Indians, his first win since Sept. 7, 2019. Teheran, who will get the start in the series opener, overcame Eddie Rosario’s solo homer in the second to allow just the one run on four hits in five innings of Detroit’s victory on Saturday.
Teheran’s lone other start against Cleveland came at Progressive Field on April 20, 2019, and it was one he’d rather forget. Teheran, who was pitching for the Atlanta Braves at the time, surrendered five runs on seven hits with four walks in 4 2/3 innings of an 8-4 setback.
Teheran’s recent victory over the Indians came at the expense of right-hander Zach Plesac (0-1, 3.00), who also will be back on the mound Friday. Plesac, 26, permitted two runs on six hits in six innings on Saturday to fall to 2-1 with a 1.14 ERA in four career starts against Detroit.
Working at least six innings is nothing new for Plesac, who accomplished the feat in all eight of his starts in 2020. He matched a career high with 11 strikeouts and scattered five hits over 7 2/3 frames in a 1-0 win at Detroit on Sept. 18.
Jose Ramirez belted a pair of two-run homers in the Indians’ 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday afternoon.
“Josey, it doesn’t really matter how he swings, he’s capable at any time,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “But it looked like he was becoming more hitter-ish as the day progressed, which is never a bad thing.”
The powerful display by the runner-up for the 2020 AL MVP Award was a welcome one for Cleveland, which has struggled to find consistent offense on the young season.
“No, I don’t feel that pressure,” Ramirez said through a translator. “We’re a team and we’re supposed to do this all together. I just feel like we’re pulling this together and I don’t feel any pressure of that type.”
–Field Level Media