Shane Bieber usually gives the Detroit Tigers a rough time. The Cleveland Guardians will turn to the right-handed starter to salvage the finale of a four-game series on Wednesday afternoon.
In 10 career starts against the Tigers, Bieber is 7-3 with a 2.18 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.
Bieber (3-4, 3.16 ERA) has faced the Tigers twice this season. He was tagged with a loss on May 22 despite limiting them to three runs (two earned) in seven innings while striking out 10. He faced Detroit again six days later and recorded a victory, allowing just one run in eight innings.
In his last five outings in June, Bieber went 0-1 with four no-decisions. He gave up three runs and five hits in six innings to the Minnesota Twins on Thursday in his latest appearance.
Tigers right-hander Michael Pineda (1-3, 3.62 ERA) will be making his second start since coming off the injured list. Pineda allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings to the Kansas City Royals in his return to action on Friday.
Pineda sustained a fractured middle finger on his pitching hand when he was hit by a line drive while opposing the Baltimore Orioles on May 14. He is 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA in five career outings against Cleveland, including four starts.
First baseman Josh Naylor was in the Guardians’ original lineup on Tuesday but was scratched. He departed the opener of the teams’ doubleheader on Monday due to back spasms.
“He went down to get loose (and couldn’t). We’re just trying to use good judgment,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “He’s a little sore. I don’t know that anything good comes from trying to force the issue.”
Another Guardians player, Myles Straw, has been fighting himself. After batting .291 in April, he hit .178 in May and .149 in June. July hasn’t been any kinder to Straw — he is 1-for-16 this month, though the hit did come on Tuesday.
“It’s been hard for him,” Francona said. “We’ve talked to him about it.”
The Tigers can not only sweep the series, but they can match their longest winning streak of the season as they seek their fourth straight victory.
They won 11-4 on Tuesday, scoring all of their runs in the first six innings.
“We know we need wins desperately,” said catcher Eric Haase, who blasted his seventh homer of the season. “To do it in the division, especially with these guys — they’ve notoriously given us fits in the past — it’s definitely huge. We’re just playing a better brand of baseball overall. So it’s good to see and hope it continues.”
The Tigers are 6-2 against Cleveland this season. They haven’t won a season series against the Guardians franchise since 2015.
“Everyone is contributing,” said Detroit second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who has seven hits in the series. “I hope we can keep it up for a long time.”
The Wednesday contest will be the Tigers’ final home game prior to the All-Star break. Detroit will embark on a 12-game road trip, all against Central Division foes, through July 17. Following the pause, the Tigers will play a doubleheader at Oakland before finally returning home on July 23 for a two-game series against Minnesota.
Cleveland will continue its seven-game road trip with three games in Kansas City this weekend before opening an eight-game homestand to close out the first half.
–Field Level Media