The Tigers dominated the Indians last year, winning 15 of 19 games, their most wins against the Indians in a season since 1960.
Can anyone tame the Tigers?
The Tigers once again are atop the AL Central, leading by seven games, the largest division lead in the majors. They have the best record in the AL and only the Oakland Athletics (+95) have a better run differential than the Tigers (+55).
Teams to Play in 4 Straight ALCS
Detroit has reached the ALCS in each of the last three seasons yet has zero World Series wins in that span.
This year they'll try to become just the fourth team to make four consecutive ALCS appearances and the first since the Yankees from 1998-2001.
The Tigers have also been nearly unbeatable on the road this season with a MLB-best 14-4 record and wins in each of their last 11 games away from home, their longest road win streak since 1983-84.
Cabrera rounding into form
Miguel Cabrera started the season cold but has been on a tear over the past month. Through April 21, he was hitting just .206 with one homer. In 23 games since then he has hit six home runs and a .389 batting average in that span.
Miguel Cabrera Through 39 Games
As you can see in the chart on the right, his numbers for the season are now on par or better than what he did in his first 39 games in 2012, when he won the MVP and Triple Crown.
What are some of the keys to his turnaround so far?
From 2011-13, no AL player had a higher batting average vs. off-speed pitches than Cabrera. Yet he started this season just 4 for 23 (.174) against soft stuff in his first 16 games. Since then he has been crushing those offerings, hitting .533 with three homers in at-bats ending in an off-speed pitch.
Cabrera is also hitting the ball with authority to all fields now. Through April 21, he had just one hit to right field, a double against the Royals on April 19.
In 23 games since then he is 14 for 30 when putting the ball in play to the opposite field, and four of his six homers in that span have gone over the right field fence. Over the last five seasons, only Joey Votto (47) has more opposite field homers than Cabrera (42).
Indians defensive problems
The Indians rank 26th in runs allowed so it’s no surprise that they are arguably the worst defensive team in the majors this year.
They have the fewest Defensive Runs Saved, the most errors, the lowest defensive efficiency, and have allowed the most unearned runs.
The Indians have negative Defensive Runs Saved at every position except pitcher and catcher this season, meaning every other position has cost them at least a run on defense.
The Carlos Santana experiment at third base has not worked well for the Indians on defense this season. He has played the majority of the team's games at the hot corner and has cost the team four runs, the third-most of any third baseman in the majors.