Indians-Tigers Preview

Despite a strong finish against the Detroit Tigers, a miserable 2015 record within the AL Central kept the Cleveland Indians from contention.

Continued success against their neighbors to the north has provided a better start this season.

Carlos Carrasco hopes to continue his roll Sunday while lifting the visiting Indians to their first sweep in Detroit in nearly eight years.

Cleveland (8-7) sputtered within its own division a year ago, compiling a 32-43 record to finish in the middle of five teams. A 2-9 start against Detroit (8-8) didn't help, though the Indians closed the season with wins in five of the final seven matchups.

The Indians entered the first meeting this season having lost four of six but have taken the first two of the weekend series, setting up a chance for their first sweep in the Motor City since Aug. 25-27, 2008. Cleveland is 21-44 in Detroit since that series, even with three straight wins there.

Home runs from Carlos Santana and Marlon Byrd off Justin Verlander lifted the Indians to Friday's 2-1 victory, and they broke out for 15 hits in Saturday's 10-1 rout - their fourth straight road win.

Starters Josh Tomlin and Corey Kluber combined to allow two runs and six hits in 14 2-3 innings, walking one and striking out 14. If Carrasco (2-0, 2.79 ERA) continues that trend, he would improve on his own awful numbers in this series.

The right-hander holds a 6.29 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in 15 appearances, 10 of them starts, against the Tigers. Their .346 batting average against Carrasco is the highest of any team. His 5.00 ERA and .296 batting-average against in three 2015 outings actually improved those career numbers, thanks largely to eight solid innings in an 8-2 victory in June.

After a shaky 2016 debut, Carrasco has settled in. He surrendered three home runs in his first start but has since given up just two runs over 14 1-3 innings, posting an 0.84 WHIP in consecutive victories over Tampa Bay and Seattle.

"Every start, I just take a little bit from there. I kind of learn a little bit," Carrasco told MLB's official website. "Sometimes you have to make an adjustment. That's what I did. I was trying to make my pitches."

Carrasco will face a Detroit lineup that has totaled two runs and 11 hits during a three-game skid.

J.D. Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Aviles and Justin Upton have each homered off Carrasco while hitting at least .333 against him lifetime. Martinez has homered twice off him but enters in a 1-for-14 slump without an RBI in five straight games. Cabrera is hitless in 12 straight at-bats.

Shane Greene (1-1, 7.15 ERA) starts for the Tigers against a Cleveland lineup that broke out Saturday. Yan Gomes had a three-run homer and five RBIs as the Indians posted their first 10-run game and most hits since they had 17 against the New York Yankees on Aug. 11.

Greene's ERA is inflated due to the seven runs he coughed up in 4 1-3 innings of Tuesday's 8-6 loss in Kansas City. The only time he's ever allowed more runs came in his most recent start against Cleveland, giving up eight in four innings of a 13-1 defeat a year ago to the day of this game.

Detroit has lost six of eight after a 6-2 start and has opened 2-4 at Comerica Park. The clubhouse was closed for almost 30 minutes following Saturday's loss for what manager Brad Ausmus called a "discussion."

''We're trying to fix things and help guys get better,'' Ausmus said. ''We're in here working to win games.''


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