Cleveland (76-61) at Detroit (63-72)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 12° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue Sep 6, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Considering the offensive futility of their opponents, the Cleveland Indians have to feel good about their chances of at least maintaining their position in the AL wild card race.

The Indians will look to do just that when they send left-hander Cliff Lee to the mound in the middle game of their series with the struggling Detroit Tigers.

Cleveland beat Detroit 2-0 on Monday and moved within 1 1/2 games of the idle New York Yankees in the wild card race. Jose Hernandez homered for Cleveland, and starter Scott Elarton allowed just four hits over 6 1-3 innings.

The Indians may not have to generate much offense to win this series, considering the fact that the Tigers have scored just six runs during their five-game losing streak, and have dropped 10 of 12 overall.

Detroit has not scored a run in its last 19 innings.

“This is just one game,” said Mike Maroth, who started for Detroit on Monday. “Obviously the past two games we haven’t scored any runs. But that’s going to change.

“We’ve got a good offense. You can expect us to score runs. But there’s going to be days where even the best hitting teams are going to get shut out.”

Ivan Rodriguez was 3-for-4 on Monday, and Carlos Pena went 2-for-3.

“This is probably our toughest stretch,” manager Alan Trammell said.

Lee allowed just two runs and five hits over six innings in the Indians’ 4-3 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday, but escaped without a decision.

“I kept the game close,” Lee said. “On the two runs I gave up in the first, both of the hits I gave up runs on I was ahead in the count. … But after that, I felt like, at times, I was a little erratic, but for the most part, I was locating my fastball and throwing my offspeed pitches for strikes. I was just throwing strikes.”

Lee has won his last five decisions and has not lost since July 8 against the Yankees.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Lee PHI vs. J. Johnson NYY
18-5 Record 8-13
3.79 ERA 4.54
143 K 93
52 BB 49
1.22 WHIP 1.34