Indians vs. Tigers

Indians vs. Tigers | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on April 2, 2021

Shane Bieber was utterly dominant last season for the Cleveland Indians in winning the AL Cy Young Award, and he takes the mound for the Tribe in the season opener Thursday against AL Central rival Detroit. The Indians are huge road favorites on the MLB odds.

How to Bet Indians at Tigers MLB Odds & TV InfoWhy Bet on Cleveland?  | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

The Indians traded their best position player this season in All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets in a salary dump. Cleveland got prospects back, led by Andrés Giménez, who was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Mets organization and No. 84 prospects in all of baseball entering 2020.

Appearing in 49 games at the Major League level, the left-handed-hitting infielder hit for a .263 average (.732 OPS), to go along with three home runs and 12 RBIs. While he best projects as a shortstop, the 22-year-old also played second and third base at times during his rookie season with the Mets.

Now that Lindor is gone, the Indians’ best position player is Jose Ramirez. The third baseman led the AL in runs (45) and slashed .292/.386/.993 en route to being named runner-up for AL MVP, marking the highest finish for a Cleveland player since 1995 and his third top-4 finish in the last four years.

Bieber, meanwhile, brought home the American League Cy Young Award unanimously, a first in club history. He was the ninth Major League pitcher to be named the recipient unanimously since 2000 and the first since Clayton Kershaw in ’14. Justin Verlander in ’11 was the last AL pitcher to receive every first-place vote. The Tribe’s four Cy Young Award winners since 2007 are the most in the big leagues in that span.

All Bieber did was win the pitching Triple Crown, leading the majors with eight wins, 122 strikeouts and a 1.63 ERA. He was the first to lead all Major League pitchers (not just those in his league) in those categories since Minnesota’s Johan Santana in 2006.

Bieber struck out nine batters in 5 2/3 innings in Cleveland’s 9-2 win over the Dodgers on Saturday in his final spring start. Bieber also offered one free pass. Though the Dodgers lineup seemed to make some good contact off Bieber, he was able to limit the damage as he gave up two runs, one of them earned. In Cactus League play, the 25-year-old had a 3.12 ERA through 17 innings, with 24 strikeouts.

Why Bet on Detroit? | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

It likely will be another long season in Detroit as the Tigers continue to rebuild. On Monday, the team announced that pitching coach Chris Fetter tested positive for COVID-19. Tigers manager A.J. Hinch would only say that Fetter will be away from the team for the foreseeable future. Toledo pitching coach Doug Bochtler will join the team for the time being. Fetter was just hired as pitching coach this offseason after coming over from the University of Michigan.

Hinch is Detroit’s new manager after Ron Gardenhire retired this offseason. Hinch guided Houston to the 2017 World Series title, but that championship is now viewed in a different light after it was proven the Astros stole signs. Major League Baseball suspended Hinch and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow for the 2020 season and the Astros immediately fired both. Hinch said then that he hadn’t endorsed the sign stealing but had failed to stop it.

Lefty Matthew Boyd gets the Opening Day start on the mound. Last year, he had a 3-7 record and 6.71 ERA (60.1IP/45ER) on 67 hits, 22 walks and 60 strikeouts over his 12 starts last season for the Tigers. He started the season 0-4, but won three of his final six outings. Boyd ranked Lefty Matthew as one of the most durable pitchers across baseball last season as he threw 1,086 total pitches, which was the 10th highest total for any American League pitcher.

In his final spring start last Friday vs. the Pirates, Boyd whiffed six while allowing two runs over 5 2/3 frames. Making his first start after being named the Tigers’ Opening Day starter, Boyd hit two batters and walked another one, but the only damage done to his bottom line came in the former of a two-run homer hit by Colin Moran in the fourth inning. The outing capped off an excellent spring, as Boyd finished with a 2.45 ERA and 19/6 K/BB ratio over 18 1/3 innings of work.

Expert Prediction
  • Indians 5, Tigers 1

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