The Tigers will look to beat the American League Central-leading Indians for the first time this season when the rivals open a three-game series Friday night at Comerica Park, with Cleveland's Danny Salazar and Detroit's Jordan Zimmermann taking the mound.
The Tribe earned a three-game sweep at Comerica in April before sweeping the Tigers again at Progressive Field in May.
"I guarantee if you ask the players, they're well aware that we haven't beaten Cleveland this year," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "If that's motivation, then great. It should be, really."
Salazar (8-3, 2.23 ERA) will make his 14th start for the Tribe, which has won six in a row. This month, the righty has a 3-0 record with a 1.77 ERA in three starts. He has recorded 24 strikeouts compared to 10 walks in June. Opposing teams are hitting just .183 off him in 2016.
Last time out, Salazar gave up five hits. It was just the fourth time this season he permitted five or more hits in a start. He got the win, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Salazar whiffed seven batters and walked one.
Zimmermann (9-3, 3.24 ERA) will also be making his 14th start this season. In four starts this month, he has posted a 2-1 record with a 4.97 ERA. After allowing nine earned runs in his first two June outings, Zimmermann has surrendered just five earned runs over 15 innings in his previous two nods.
In his last start, Zimmermann went eight innings, giving up one run on four hits in a no-decision. He recorded five strikeouts and did not walk a batter against the Royals. It was the fourth start this year in which he didn't walk a batter.
Things to know
• Zimmermann has made only one start against the Tribe. As a member of the Nationals, he surrendered six runs on eight hits, including a pair of homers, on June 15, 2013. Zimmermann exited after five innings with a no-decision in the eventual 7-6 Nats win.
• Salazar has made 10 career starts against the Tigers, going 2-4 with a 4.55 ERA.
• Miguel Cabrera has a career .346 average (9-for-26) off Salazar. Cabrera has recorded five RBIs and a pair of home runs against the Tribe hurler.