Tigers-Indians Preview


The Detroit Tigers may have a losing record while trailing the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central, but they're not worried yet.

The Indians would like to give them reason to be.

The Tigers will try to avoid dropping another game behind the division leaders when these teams meet in the middle game of this series at Progressive Field on Wednesday night.

Detroit (20-22) handily won the Central last season, besting the second-place Indians (24-18) by 15 games en route to an appearance in the AL championship series.

The Tigers were expected to do the same in 2012, but are struggling to live up to expectations thanks in part to a 10-17 stretch that continued with Tuesday's 5-3 loss at Cleveland.

Detroit isn't concerned despite being third in the division and four games behind the first-place Indians.

"We're not worried," first baseman Prince Fielder said. "With this team, never. We have a lot of people doing it for us. We had some chances, but didn't get it done. Not because of mistakes, just because that's baseball.

"We're going to be all right. We start analyzing every little thing, that's when you make the game a whole lot harder than it is. I hit that ball hard, but there's no GPS on it. I took a swing, hit it, but can't control where it goes."

Fielder and Miguel Cabrera are doing their part to spark Detroit's offense despite collectively going 0 for 7 on Tuesday in the Tigers' first loss to the Indians in 11 meetings.

Fielder is hitting .394 with five doubles, two homers and eight RBIs in eight games, while Cabrera has a .400 average with 12 RBIs and five walks - three in the series opener.

The third baseman is 12 for 25 with three doubles, a homer and four RBIs in his last six meetings with Cleveland.

Doug Fister (0-2, 1.59 ERA) hopes that production continues as he takes the mound looking to win a fourth straight start against the Indians.

The right-hander has compiled a 0.78 ERA in those three wins while striking out 29 in 23 innings. He's also been backed by an average of 11.0 runs in those outings, but support has been much harder to come by this year.

Fister has received seven total runs in his four 2012 starts. He allowed a season-high four runs - three earned - and nine hits over six innings of a 4-3 loss to Minnesota on Thursday.

The Indians will give the ball to Zach McAllister (1-1, 4.34), who is 0-1 with a 4.97 ERA in two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus to replaced the injured Josh Tomlin (wrist) in the rotation.

McAllister labored through 100 pitches in 5 2-3 innings of his latest outing Thursday, yielding four runs and three hits with a career-high five walks and six strikeouts in a 6-5 win in 11 against Seattle.

The right-hander pitched well in his only start against the Tigers on Sept. 28 but left without a decision in a 5-4 loss. He gave up one unearned run and six hits with four strikeouts in five innings.