Tigers-Indians PreviewMay 10, 2009 - 4:14 AM By ANTHONY GIORNALISTA STATS Senior Writer
Detroit (15-13) at Cleveland (11-19), 1:05 p.m. EDT
The Detroit Tigers have gotten strong performances on the mound after a poor start, enjoying their best run of the season. Most pitching staffs, though, would get a boost from facing the Cleveland Indians these days.
After receiving yet another pitching gem, the Tigers look to extend the Indians' 19-inning scoreless streak Sunday in the finale of a three-game series.
Detroit (16-13) struggled through its first 16 games, posting a 4.64 ERA. In 13 games since, however, Tigers starters are 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA and a .215 opponents' batting average, including three shutouts in their last four contests.
Detroit beat Cleveland 4-0 on Saturday night, with Edwin Jackson and two relievers combining on a seven-hitter. The previous evening, the Indians (11-20) managed only two hits against Justin Verlander as the Tigers won 1-0.
Cleveland, which has lost six of eight, has not scored since the eighth inning of a 13-3 loss at Boston on Thursday night.
The Indians didn't open the clubhouse doors to reporters until 42 minutes after Saturday's game.
"If we wanted you guys to know (what was said), we would have invited you in," Cleveland closer Kerry Wood said of the players-only meeting. "It's not because we're playing well."
Cleveland will now face rookie Rick Porcello (2-3, 4.71 ERA), who helped the Tigers shut out Minnesota in his last outing. The 20-year-old right-hander had the best start of his career, giving up four hits in seven innings as Detroit beat the Twins 9-0 on Tuesday night.
Porcello lost his previous two starts, surrendering 10 runs in 9 2-3 innings. This will be his first appearance against the Indians.
Cleveland will counter with Anthony Reyes (1-0, 6.84), who has an 8.36 ERA in three starts at home this season. On the road in his last outing, the right-hander surrendered three runs and six hits in six innings during Cleveland's 10-6 loss to Toronto on Tuesday.
Reyes was terrible in his only start against Detroit, giving up seven runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings for the Cardinals, who lost 8-7 on May 19, 2007.
With Reyes struggling, Cleveland desperately needs to end its offensive woes to avoid being swept for the first time since opening the season with three losses to Texas.
The Indians went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position Saturday and are hitting .239 (73 for 305) in that situation on the season.
"We have to execute," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "Each individual has to take pride in what he's doing."
Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore ended an 0-for-11 skid with a sixth-inning single but finished 1 for 4. The veteran is batting .143 (4 for 28) in his last six games.
Sizemore has also been struggling on the basepaths, getting caught five times in 10 steal attempts. Last season, he was 38 for 43 in steal tries.
Indians shortstop Jhonny Peralta has not played in two straight games, being replaced by Asdrubal Cabrera. Peralta is in an 8-for-63 (.127) slump, and is 1 for 15 with six strikeouts in his last four home games against Detroit.
It's uncertain if Peralta will be in the lineup Sunday.
Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez, meanwhile, should be back for the Tigers after getting Saturday off. The All-Star right fielder is in a 7-for-52 (.135) slump.
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