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The Cleveland Indians have surged their way into the wildcard playoff picture over the last couple of weeks. It hasn’t nearly been the same to say the least for the Detroit Tigers as they hold one of the worst marks in the American League pushing their way through another tough campaign. With the Indians grabbing their fourth straight win, the team is looking to close out the four-game series on a sweep on Thursday night.
Detroit’s offense continuing to stumble
It has been yet another difficult campaign for the Tigers that have seen them continue to head south. This has certainly been the case over the last 10 games dropping eight contests during that span including their last three games. This has pushed Detroit further out of the playoff picture as they sit 27.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central division lead. This has seen them already drop at least 30 games both on the road and at home, which they are one of three teams in the majors to have reached that mark alongside the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. A large part of their lack of offensive production that has been among the worst in the majors in several categories with the argument that could be strongly made that they are the least productive team in the majors in that regard.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 18, 2019
The Tigers are currently last in runs scored and hits, 29th in batting average, home runs and slugging percentage. Detroit has been abysmal at best with their run production that has put them in this huge hole up this point in the year. This alone has made it quite difficult to trust them on a nightly basis. Beyond that, they have had that instability from their pitching staff as it has led to many problems with them relying on their starting rotation. Left-hander Matthew Boyd, who holds a 6-7 record with a 3.95 ERA in his first 19 starts. Most of his issues have come on the road this year, where he holds a 3-4 record with a 4.53 ERA in 10 starts. That has certainly been the case with both of his starts this month on the road, where he holds a 5.84 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched while allowing 15 hits and a pair of home runs over that span. With Boyd stumbling into Thursday’s contest, it certainly pushes things in the Indians’ favor to stay hot against their AL Central division rivals.
Indians have found their groove
In the last couple of weeks, the Indians have been one of the hottest teams in the majors. They have had a steady push forward up the AL wildcard picture, being in contention for the second spot alongside the Oakland Athletics. This has been fueled by their strong overall play having won eight out of their last 10 contests including their last four straight contests. This includes them taking the first three contests of the four-game series against the Tigers in largely convincing fashion. This alone has helped them get to within striking distance of the Twins for the division race, being only four games behind them heading into Thursday’s contest. The Indians have been able to push forward with their balanced play largely coming from their core bats picking it up in the process led by their dynamic right side of the infield. Star third baseman Jose Ramirez has been a major factor as of late pushing his way up toward batting .310 with three home runs, 10 RBI, and 10 runs scored in 10 games played this month.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 18, 2019
Meanwhile, All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor has also been a factor with his play at the plate in July as he’s batting .273 with two home runs and seven RBI. It may not be to the level that Ramirez has brought, but his production has been a main contributor to the Indians’ success over the last couple of years. Beyond that, the Indians will need right-hander Trevor Bauer put forth a strong outing as he has had his fair share of struggles as he’s holding an 8-7 record with a 3.65 ERA. Bauer has stumbled a bit over his last three outings giving up at least three runs twice over that stretch, but he has been one of their most experienced arms and relied upon heavily with Corey Kluber out of the mix. Bauer was also a tremendous asset on the mound in his previous and only outing this season against the Tigers where he threw seven scoreless innings. Their success on the field on Thursday night lies on the shoulders of the left-hander at home on Saturday night.
- Indians are 6-0 in Bauer’s last six starts against a team with a losing record.
- Indians are 10-1 in Bauer’s last 11 Thursday starts.
- Indians are 6-1 in Bauer’s last seven starts.
- Tigers are 1-6 in Boyd’s last seven starts.
- Tigers are 1-6 in Boyd’s last seven starts on grass.
- Tigers are 0-6 in Boyd’s last six starts against a team with a winning record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Indians have continued to stay on track as one of the hottest teams in the majors that have been on this path against the Tigers. That will remain the case with Bauer on the mound going up against Detroit’s underperforming lineup. The Indians are also 6-1 in Bauers’ last seven starts against the Tigers.
Prediction: Cleveland -200
Full-Game Total Pick
The Indians have been swinging hot bats over the last three games, scoring at least seven runs in each of those contests. Their run production should be more than enough to help push this game beyond the over/under line. Keep in mind, the over is 10-1 in Bauer’s last 11 home starts against the Tigers.
Prediction: Over 8.5