April 17, 2014

DETROIT -- There isn't anything mysterious about it.

The Cleveland Indians are dominating the Detroit Tigers this season with their pitching.

Manager Terry Francona's team is getting a good start from just about everyone he sends out to face the Tigers this season.

And the starters manager Brad Ausmus is sending out to face the Indians haven't measured up.

Look at the scores:

--Cleveland took the first series from Detroit by scores of 2-1, 10-1 and 6-3. The second series was 7-3, 4-0, and 9-4.

The first two this weekend have been 7-5 and 7-0 with a matchup Sunday that features Detroit's Justin Verlander (7-5, 3.78 ERA) against Cleveland's Josh Tomlin (8-1, 3.32 ERA).

"When you run up against good pitching," Ausmus said, "it doesn't matter how well you're swinging the bats. Good pitching always trumps good hitting, simple as that."

The name recognition for Sunday's matchup goes to Verlander but the stat recognition belongs to Tomlin, who bested Verlander on May 3 in the 7-3 game.

Ausmus was reminding folks prior to the series that he believed his team would remember how Cleveland had handled it through their first six games. Now that run is up to eight.

"No, I wouldn't say it happens a lot," Ausmus said. "I agree with you. It doesn't happen a lot.

"Sometimes it just happens to be when you catch a team. I can't really explain it, but we do play them nine more times, so we'll see how it goes the rest of the way."

"We've got a lot of confidence," Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "The guys are loose. One guy picks another guy up."

Francisco Lindor, who hit two home runs Saturday and has 10 this season, noted the quick-strike offense has helped Cleveland.

"Whenever we have our starters out there and we score in the first inning, it's huge for every single starter that we have,'' Lindor said. "For the whole team. The chances of us winning, because of how good they are, how long they can go in the games, it's huge."

Carlos Carrasco pitched a four-hit shutout at Detroit on Saturday -- Cleveland's third complete game in its last four contests.

Said Lindor: "The thing about our starters is how consistent, how positive they are with each other. They push each other. They compete with each other. They want each other to be better."

Meantime, Detroit is holding open auditions among its starters to see if it can't get some consistent quality outings from the last two spots in the rotation.

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