Tigers vs. Indians Preview: Baddoo-Mania Marches On, Cleveland Seeks Revenge

Written By Drew Ellis on April 8, 2021
Detroit Tigers Surprising Start Miguel Cabrera 2021

A week ago, the Detroit Tigers’ surprising start raised eyebrows. They won their first two games of the Major League Baseball season against the Cleveland Indians.

The Tribe avoided a series sweep in the finale and will look to garner a bit of revenge when the two teams open a series Friday in Cleveland.

Can Detroit continue to manufacture wins against the Indians? When odds for the next game in the weekend series are released, you’ll find them just below.

Pitching rematches highlight Tigers-Indians series

Last week at Comerica Park, the Tigers earned a 3-2 win over Cleveland in the season opener and followed that with a 5-2 victory. The Indians took the finale 9-3 to avoid a sweep.

Since that series, Detroit dropped two of three at home to the Minnesota Twins. Cleveland split a two-game series at home with the Kansas City Royals.

Here’s a look at the probable starting pitching matchups for the Tigers (3-3) and Indians (2-3):

  • 7:10 p.m. Friday: Julio Teheran (DET, 1-0) vs. Zach Plesac (CLE, 0-1)
  • 6:10 p.m. Saturday: Tarik Skubal (DET, 0-0) vs. Aaron Civale (CLE, 1-0)
  • 1:10 p.m. Sunday: Jose Urena (DET, 0-1) vs. Logan Allen (CLE, 0-1)

Cleveland still comes into the series having won an astounding 46 of their past 58 meetings with Detroit. These will be games Nos. 4, 5 and 6 out of 19 during the season between these two teams.

Oddsmakers not impressed either way

The Detroit Tigers showed some good things in the opening week of play, but oddsmakers don’t seem fazed.

Current futures odds for Detroit haven’t changed. If anything, they have gotten longer.

The Tigers sit at +6000 to win the AL Central, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Indians have actually fallen back to +850.

FanDuel Sportsbook feels a little differently, as Detroit sits at +4000, with the Tribe listed at +750.

Both continue to see the Chicago White Sox (-110) as the slight favorite, with the Minnesota Twins (+125) as a close contender. The Royals sit in the middle at +2000.

Tigers lose series, but find a spark

The Detroit Tigers’ surprising start has hit a hiccup, with Detroit losing three of four since the 2-0 beginning.

The concerns over starting pitching depth showed in a 9-3 loss to Cleveland and a 15-6 loss to Minnesota. However, the Tigers bounced back with a 4-3 win over the Twins in 10 innings before getting edged on Wednesday in a 3-2 loss at home to Minnesota.

One positive over the recent string of games has been outfielder Akil Baddoo. The rookie was taken by the Tigers in the Rule 5 Draft this winter.

In the first pitch he saw on Sunday, Baddoo hit a home run to left field. In four games to start his MLB career, Baddoo has recorded at least one hit in all of them. Through the four games, Baddoo has two home runs and seven RBI while hitting .455. He’s even entered AL Rookie of the Year odds markets, a development first reported by PlayMichigan.

As nice as Baddoo’s story has been, the Tigers still have worries about some of their pitching and veteran first baseman Miguel Cabrera.

Urena gave up five earned runs in just three innings in his start, while relievers Buck Farmer, Derek Holland, Daniel Norris and Tyler Alexander all have ERAs over 10.00 thus far.

When it comes to Cabrera, he homered in the season opener but has just two hits since. Cabrera is hitting .176 with a .412 slugging percentage entering the weekend.

Cleveland seeking some momentum

Following the series finale win over the Tigers last Sunday, the Indians split two games with Kansas City at home.

The opener was a 3-0 loss that saw Cleveland muster just three hits against KC starter Danny Duffy and the Royals’ relievers.

Cleveland bounced back with a 4-2 win on Wednesday, thanks to a 2-run home run from Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 2-all tie.

Shane Bieber was magic on the mound but didn’t get a decision. He struck out 12 in 6.1 innings of work.

Runs are a concern thus far for Cleveland. Outside of the nine-run flurry in the finale with Detroit, Cleveland has just eight total runs over the other four games. The Tribe currently rank 25th in the MLB in scoring.

On the mound, Cleveland ranks ninth in the league in team ERA (3.35). That’s a big advantage, compared with Detroit’s 5.40 team ERA, which ranks 26th.

As both teams continue to find their identity at the plate, Cleveland has to feel confident that it can outpitch the Tigers this weekend at home.

Photo by Carlos Osorio/AP
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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