Thanks once again to their pitching staff, the Cleveland Guardians will be seeking their fifth straight win on Thursday.
The Guardians have given up just five runs in their last four games. They followed up back-to-back wins against Houston over the weekend by taking the first two games of a three-game series in Detroit, giving up two runs in each game.
Zach Plesac (2-10, 4.49 ERA) will start the matinee for Cleveland. Plesac has lost his last three starts and hasn't recorded a victory since June 5.
He issued a season-high five walks over 4 1/3 innings last Thursday against the Astros, though most of the seven hits off him in that game were of the soft-contact variety.
"I'm trying to do everything I can to help us win, trying to do everything in my power to not focus on things that aren't going my way," Plesac said. "I think it's just one of those periods where I'm really being tested if I'm going to give in or if I'm going to prevail. It's something I'm never going to back down from."
In two starts against Detroit this season, he has a loss and a no-decision. In nine lifetime starts against the Tigers, he's 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona will likely have to look for someone other than Emmanuel Clase should a late lead need protecting Thursday. Clase has pitched in each game during the winning streak, recording three saves in the process.
"He does a really good job warming up," Francona said. "I know we talk a lot about him, like he's a veteran, but he's learning fast. He warms up really good, he doesn't waste ammo down there (in the bullpen) and he's really mature how he goes about it."
Garrett Hill (2-3, 5.12 ERA) will make his seventh start of the season for Detroit. Hill won his last outing, holding Tampa Bay to one run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings while recording a career-high six strikeouts on Saturday.
Manager A.J. Hinch praised Hill when he made his mound visit to take the 26-year-old out of the game against the Rays.
"I told Garrett on the mound, that's the best we've seen him up here in demeanor and stuff," Hinch said. "Put those two things together, he was just going through the day, pitch-by-pitch, hitter-by-hitter, making some executed fastballs up when he needed to. It was pretty good execution throughout, and he put us in a great spot."
Hill won his major league debut against the Guardians on July 4, limiting them to one run and two hits in six innings.
Detroit made headlines off the field Wednesday, as well, firing general manager Al Avila. The Tigers have lost nine of their last 11 games and are 26 games under .500.
"I will oversee the search process for our next baseball operations leader, in collaboration with several members of our baseball and business operations executive teams," Christopher Ilitch, the team's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "I want to re-establish our momentum and progress towards building a winning team and I am driven to find a talented executive to help us do that."
Both teams will be on the road this weekend. Cleveland completes a six-game journey with three games in Toronto, while the Tigers head to Chicago for a three-game series against the White Sox.
--Field Level Media