|Tigers Host Rival AL Central Leading Indians|
|Tuesday, 03 July 2007 07:30|
Trouble at Home
The Indians look to put more distance between themselves and their closest pursuers in the AL Central Tuesday night when the teams open a three-game series at Comerica Park.
Oddsmakers have made Detroit -130 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 10ev total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on Cleveland +120 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
Cleveland (50-32) has won five straight and seven of its last eight games - all at home - to open a two-game lead over the Tigers (47-33) in the Central.
While the Indians are a major league-best 31-12 at home, they are just 19-20 away from Jacobs Field, the worst road record of any division leader except Milwaukee.
Detroit, meanwhile, owns the best road record in the majors at 27-15, but is 20-18 at home, where it has lost six of eight.
The Indians swept a three-game series from the Tigers at Comerica Park from May 25-27, and the teams split a four-game set at Cleveland one week later.
"One of three things could happen," Detroit's Curtis Granderson said on the team's official Web site. "They can gain a lot of ground, we can gain a lot of ground, or we can both leave this series pretty much in the same situation. That's the fun part of it. It's exciting to finish up the first half, good or bad, but very exciting for both sides."
While the Tigers were idle Monday, the Indians beat visiting Tampa Bay 10-2 to complete a four-game sweep.
Rookie Ben Francisco homered and drove in three runs, and is 6-for-12 with two homers and four RBIs in his first seven games. His presence has further strengthened an offense that ranks second in the majors in runs scored with 444.
"Once you contribute, you settle in and it starts to calm your nerves," Francisco said.
Detroit, which leads the majors with 472 runs, got an outstanding performance from Jeremy Bonderman in its last game. The right-hander allowed six hits over eight innings Sunday in a 1-0 victory over Minnesota.
That left the Tigers 2-4 on a 12-game homestand. They have lost their last three series at home, and are 2-6 at Comerica Park since Justin Verlander's no-hitter against Milwaukee on June 12.
Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez is one game shy of becoming the fourth player in major league history to catch 2,000 games.
Paul Byrd (7-3, 4.67 ERA) looks to win his third straight road decision for Cleveland. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.87 ERA in his last three road starts, and has allowed three runs or fewer in four of his past five outings away from Jacobs Field.
Byrd won for the first time in five starts Thursday, yielding three runs and 10 hits over seven innings in a 4-3 victory over Oakland.
He won at Detroit on May 25, allowing four runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings. Byrd is 7-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 13 career starts against the Tigers.
Nate Robertson (4-6, 4.82) gets another shot at the Indians after pitching poorly in his first appearance against them this season. The left-hander was tagged for five runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 7-4 home loss on May 25.
Robertson, who missed three weeks with a tired arm, pitched well in his first start off the disabled list on June 26, limiting Texas to one run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings before leaving without a decision.
He is 2-4 with a 5.24 ERA in 12 career starts against the Indians.
Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta and Casey Blake should both be happy to see Robertson. Peralta is batting .526 (10-for-19) against him while Blake is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with five home runs.
by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us
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