Indians Starting Pitching Takes a Hit Ahead of Series With Detroit
Jason Ross Jr.
One of baseball's best starting rotations took an unexpected and rather bitter blow earlier this week when both Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac were placed on the team's restricted list.
The two right-handers, both key pieces of Indians' rotation, opted to leave the team's hotel in Chicago, last weekend, breaking curfew, and thus violating COVID-19 protocol.
Clevinger and Plesac were both reportedly removed from the restricted list and optioned to the alternate training site. The two did drive to Detroit, separately, to join the team Friday morning, but we won't see either of them in uniform this weekend.
Clevinger was forced to miss a scheduled start earlier this week vs. the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs. Adam Plutko, who filled in for him, didn't mince words about how disappointed he was in his fellow pitchers.
"They lied to us. They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn't follow through on", said Plutko, who took the loss after allowing just one earned run in four innings. "It's gonna be up to them. It really is. I'll let them sit here and tell you how they're gonna earn their trust back."
Clevinger and Plesac are vital members of an Indians pitching staff that enters this weekend boasting the second-best ERA in all of baseball (2.69). There's no denying that it's been the Indians' ability to prevent runs that have kept them above water during a season in which runs have come at a premium for their offense.
An MLB worst .195 is Cleveland's team batting average entering tonight's game with Detroit. They've scored just two or fewer runs in 12 of their past 19 contests, which has amplified their starting rotation.
The Tigers' lineup, which has shown notable improvement since last season, when they lost 17 of the 18 matchups with the Indians, will face off against RHP Adam Cirvale on Friday night at Comerica Park.
Cirvale, who just so happened to make his big-league debut at Comerica Park on June 22, 2019, shutting out the Tigers on two hits over six innings enters today's contest 1-2 with a respectable 2.84 ERA.
The Veteran right-hander Ivan Nova (1-0, 5.74), counters for Detroit in hopes of helping the Tigers rewrite a new, hopefully, happier story with the Indians.