Tribe Visits MoTown
On a team with a rotation that includes the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner, it's Cliff Lee that has been the Cleveland Indians' most reliable pitcher.
Lee takes the mound Monday when the Indians try for a split of their four-game series with the Detroit Tigers.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Cleveland -110 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 60% of bets for this game have been placed on Cleveland -110 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
Lee (9-1, 2.45 ERA) will be one of three AL pitchers trying for a league-leading 10th win. New York's Mike Mussina and Los Angeles' Joe Saunders will also take the mound with nine wins Monday.
Lee is the only Indian on the active roster that has a winning record - a stunning development considering the deep Cleveland rotation that helped carry the team to the AL championship series last season. Fausto Carmona (4-2) is on the disabled list, and reigning Cy Young winner C.C. Sabathia is 3-8.
Lee got off to a six-game winning streak to start the season, posting a 0.81 ERA over that span. He's won his last three outings, although he hasn't been nearly as sharp, with a 6.11 ERA in those games.
Lee lasted five innings Wednesday at Texas, allowing a season-high six runs and nine hits while striking out eight in a 15-9 victory.
The Indians (28-35) hope the left-hander won't need nearly as much run support this time as they go for the split with the Tigers (26-36). Lee, though, has struggled versus Detroit, going 3-6 with a 5.23 ERA in 14 starts and losing his last five decisions against the Tigers. He hasn't beaten them since Sept. 6, 2005.
Cleveland is looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak since a seven-game slide from May 16-23. The Indians fell 5-2 to the Tigers on Sunday, as Placido Polanco drove in two runs and Curtis Granderson homered.
Detroit is in fourth place in the AL Central, 10 games behind first-place Chicago, which it begins a three-game road series against Tuesday.
"Tomorrow is important, because we need to start winning series," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after Sunday's win. "There's a lot of baseball to play, but we need to start doing something about it. We can't afford to split series right now. We need to win two of three and three of four."
Leyland's team hasn't won three in a row since sweeping Seattle from May 20-22. The Tigers will look to Dontrelle Willis (0-0, 4.50), who will be making his second start since coming off the DL on May 21, to help them do so.
Willis, who had been sidelined with a hyperextended right knee, started Tuesday against Oakland and pitched four scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, five walks and struck out three in a 5-4, 11-inning loss.
"I think he was OK," Leyland told the Tigers' official Web site. "I saw a little of not letting it go, almost falling into that pattern of trying to place it there. But when he got in trouble, I was really impressed. I thought he really threw the ball very well."
Willis is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts against the Indians. He faced them last year in interleague play while with Florida and pitched seven innings, allowing three runs - two earned - in a 3-2 loss.
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