American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, August 31st (All times Eastern)
Cleveland Indians (71-63) at Detroit Tigers (79-56), 7:08 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cleveland - Scott Kazmir (7-6, 4.25) Detroit - Anibal Sanchez (11-7, 2.61)
(Sports Network) - American League ERA leader Anibal Sanchez tries to help the Detroit Tigers increase their lead atop the American League Central on Saturday when they continue a three-game series versus the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park.
Sanchez, though, may have to get by without the amazing Miguel Cabrera, who was forced from a second straight game on Friday because of irritation in his abdominal area.
"I don't feel very good," said Cabrera, who leads the majors with 130 RBI, a .358 average and is second with 43 homers. "I don't want to be specific. I don't feel 100 percent."
Tigers' manager Jim Leyland acknowledged that his team would likely be without the reigning Triple Crown winner on Saturday.
"All I can tell you is when you pull a guy out one night, normally he doesn't start the next day," he said. "I don't have any idea. I don't really know. I just have to play it by ear, see what happens.''
Even without Cabrera on Friday Detroit handled Cleveland for a 13th time in 14 games, as Victor Martinez smacked a two-run double among his two hits in the Tigers' 7-2 win.
Rick Porcello (11-7) allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win. Bruce Rondon was credited with his first career save by recording the final out in the top of the seventh inning.
Zach McAllister (7-8) was roughed up for five runs on six hits and four walks over just 3 2/3 innings for Cleveland, which has dropped four consecutive games and has fallen 7 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the American League Central.
It won't get any easier for the Tribe on Saturday.
Sanchez has won his last four decisions and is 11-7 on the year with a league- best 2.61 ERA. He did not get a decision against the Oakland Athletics on Monday, as he allowed four runs and five hits in five innings in five innings.
It was his the first time in eight starts since the All-Star break that the right-hander surrendered more than two runs.
"He was just totally out of sync for whatever reason," Leyland said. "Certainly you're allowed to have those. He's been absolutely fantastic. That's one of those games where it just wasn't his day."
Sanchez has faced the Indians six times and is 3-1 against them with a 1.88 ERA.
Cleveland, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Scott Kazmir, who was brilliant his last time out. Kazmir had yielded 10 runs in his previous two starts before holding the Minnesota Twins to a run in six innings on Sunday to improve to 7-6 on the year, while lowering his ERA to 4.25.
"I felt fresh out there, I did," Kazmir said. "Especially with runners in scoring position, I felt like I was able to kick it up a little bit and just throw quality pitches. That was my main goal."
In 12 starts against the Tigers Kazmir is 4-4 with a 3.73 ERA.
Detroit has dominated the Indians this season, taking 14 of the 17 overall matchups.
08/31 10:23:10 ET