MLB Baseball

Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Cleveland0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 261
Detroit2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 350
  W: M. Boyd (1-0)   L: S. Bieber (0-1)   S: G. Soto (1)
10:10 AM PT11:10 AM MT12:10 PM CT1:10 PM ET13:10 ET17:10 GMT1:10 10:10 AM MST12:10 PM EST12:40 PM VEN21:10 UAE11:10 AM CT, April 1, 2021
Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan  Attendance: 8,000

Tigers begin AJ Hinch era at home against Indians

According to STATS
According to STATS

Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

  1. The Indians won seven of the 10 meetings with the Tigers last season, including six of their seven games in Detroit. The Indians have won 14 of the 16 meetings in Detroit since the start of 2019, outscoring the Tigers by 57 runs in those 16 games (95-38).
  2. Cleveland has made the playoffs in four of the last five seasons but has not won a playoff game since 2017 -- it was swept by the Yankees in the Wild Card round last postseason. The Indians' eight consecutive winning seasons are the fourth-longest active streak in MLB and tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history behind a 10-year run from 1947 to 1956, a span which included their most recent World Series title (1948).
  3. Eddie Rosario was signed by the Indians this past offseason after spending the first six years of his career with Minnesota. Rosario has a career .282/.309/.495 slash line in 77 career games against the Tigers, including a .311/.340/.522 line with five home runs in 23 games since the start of 2019.
  4. Shane Bieber will start his second consecutive Opening Day after pitching six scoreless innings against the Royals last season, allowing just four hits and one walk. His 14 strikeouts in that game were the most in franchise history on Opening Day and the most by any pitcher on Opening Day since Randy Johnson struck out 14 for the Mariners in 1996.
  5. Since winning four straight division titles from 2011-14, the Tigers have missed the playoffs in six straight seasons, finishing last in the AL Central in four of those seasons. The Tigers' .414 win percentage since the start of 2015 is the worst in MLB.
  6. Miguel Cabrera enters the 2021 season with 2866 career hits, second most among active players behind Albert Pujols (3236). Cabrera ranks third on the Tigers' all-time home run list with 349 -- only Al Kaline (399) and Norm Cash (373) have more.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 4/1/2021 thru 4/4/2021

AJ Hinch couldn't go to the ballpark last season, and it had nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Houston Astros manager served a year-long suspension in the aftermath of that organization's sign-stealing scandal. The downtrodden Detroit Tigers hired Hinch once his suspension ended last fall to help turn around their fortunes.

Detroit has endured a lengthy rebuild, piling up four consecutive losing seasons. The Tigers, who open this season at home against Cleveland on Thursday, are hopeful of ending that streak with Hinch at the helm.

Hinch believes the young players that GM Al Avila has drafted or acquired in recent seasons are ready to blossom.

"We have a really good farm system," Hinch said. "It's validated when you're around these guys, and I look forward to the future. ... There's a great hunger to be better and provide a better product and to win games."

Detroit chose not to make any bold moves during the offseason. The Tigers brought in some veterans such as catcher Wilson Ramos and outfielders Robbie Grossman and Nomar Mazara, along with re-signing second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

Miguel Cabrera remains entrenched in the middle of the lineup. He'll play first base on Thursday after serving as the designated hitter in recent seasons.

"I think he gives us the best chance to win at first base," Hinch said.

The starting rotation has some lively young arms, including Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, both of whom got experience during last year's abbreviated campaign.

Left-hander Matthew Boyd will get the start on Opening Day. Boyd is coming off a woeful season, finishing with a 3-7 record, 6.71 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Boyd was sharp in five spring starts (2.45 ERA, 19 K's in 18 1/3 innings). In 13 games (12 career starts) vs. the Indians, he is 2-6 with a 4.13 ERA.

"It's an honor. It's not something I take lightly," Boyd said of the Opening Day nod. "I think it's really exciting that when we get back, it will be our first game back with fans at Comerica. As you know, it's so special on Opening Day at Comerica Park. It's a state holiday."

Cleveland will counter with last season's American League Cy Young Award winner, Shane Bieber. In 12 starts, Bieber compiled an 8-1 record with a 1.63 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. He recorded two of those victories at the Tigers' expense. In six games (six starts) vs. Detroit, he is 5-1 with a 2.13 ERA.

Bieber notched nine strikeouts in his last spring start.

"His breaking ball was swing-and-miss all day," manager Terry Francona said. "His velocity was good. ... I think he's ready to go."

Bieber is challenging himself to be a workhorse this season. In seven of his 12 outings last season, he pitched six innings or fewer.

"That's a focus of mine at all times," Bieber said. "Maybe it got a little bit away from me at points last year. I feel like that's still something I'm capable of doing, going out there and challenging hitters and putting myself in a good spot to go deep in ballgames and save some arms in the pen."

Fearing they would be unable to retain him after this season, the Indians traded away star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets. One of the players they acquired, 22-year-old Andres Gimenez, will replace Lindor at that spot.

Another notable newcomer is Eddie Rosario. The former Minnesota Twin will play left field. Cleveland still has a solid 1-2 power punch in third baseman Jose Ramirez and DH Franmil Reyes.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 30, 2021

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