The Cleveland Indians don’t seem to want to stop winning. The Indians will attempt to push their season-best winning streak to 11 straight and finish off a four-game sweep when they visit the Detroit Tigers for the series finale on Sunday.
Cleveland’s streak is being fueled by its American League-best pitching staff, which is allowing an average of 1.7 runs during the stretch and surrendered two or fewer in eight of the last nine contests. The Indians are eight games clear of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central and are within three games of the Houston Astros in the race for the best record in the AL. The Tigers signaled their intentions to endure a long rebuilding process by trading away Justin Verlander and Justin Upton this week and are losers of 14 of their last 19 contests. Detroit, which is also missing two of its biggest remaining bats in Miguel Cabrera (suspension) and Victor Martinez (heart), will try to string some hits together on Sunday against Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin while the Tigers counter with lefty Chad Bell.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, STO (Cleveland), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Josh Tomlin (7-9, 5.38) vs. Tigers LH Chad Bell (0-1, 5.48)
Tomlin spent over a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury but arrives back just in time to help the Indians go to a six-man rotation and get the staff well rested for the postseason. The 32-year-old Texan was sharp in four starts before hitting the DL, earning three straight wins while allowing a total of seven runs in 24 1/3 innings. That stretch began after Tomlin served up four runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 frames at Detroit on July 1.
Bell is making his first career start in place of injured right-hander Michael Fulmer (elbow). Bell last pitched against the New York Yankees on Aug. 23 and logged four innings out of the bullpen while yielding three runs - two earned - and five hits. The 28-year-old, who matched a season high with six strikeouts in that Aug. 23 outing, made three appearances against Cleveland in July and allowed a total of seven runs in 5 2/3 innings.
1. Martinez is dealing with an irregular heartbeat and is expected to undergo a surgical procedure to address the issue.
2. Indians CF Bradley Zimmer left Saturday’s game after attempting a diving catch and is day-to-day after passing initial concussion tests.
3. Cleveland RHP Danny Salazar (elbow) threw a simulated game at Double-A Akron on Saturday and could to return to the rotation on Tuesday at Chicago.
PREDICTION: Indians 8, Tigers 3