DETROIT -- Even when the Cleveland Indians are feeling well, they always feel better after a visit to Dr. Detroit.
Manager Terry Francona's team opens a three-game weekend series on Friday night at Comerica Park and history suggests it will come out of the set with many of its ailments alleviated.
The Indians are 10-3 against the host Tigers this season. In fact, they owe much of their good health in the American League Central because they have feasted on the Tigers, Chicago White Sox (8-2) and Kansas City Royals (7-2).
Thanks to those three opponents, the Indians are in first place with a 55-46 record. Cleveland is below .500 against everybody else (30-39).
A terrific offense has been betrayed by a funky bullpen, which is why Cleveland traded with San Diego to obtain Adam Cimber and Brad Hand, who each worked an inning Wednesday in a win over Pittsburgh.
"They're good," Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer said after that game. "That's what we got them to do, you know? Come in and shut the game down. That's exactly what they did. It's great to see. I'm happy that they were able to finish it off, because we need to win ballgames."
Cleveland is sending out three pitchers with solid histories against Detroit to face the Tigers this weekend.
Leading off will be right-hander Carlos Carrasco (12-5, 4.03 ERA), who is only 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA against Detroit this season but 11-8 with a 3.69 ERA against the Tigers during his career.
Following Carrasco will be Mike Clevinger and then Corey Kluber.
Detroit counters with right-hander Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.49) in the Friday night opener, then will send out lefty Francisco Liriano and Jordan Zimmermann in the next two games.
The Tigers took two out of three at Kansas City midweek for its first series win since sweeping the White Sox and climbing to within a game of .500 (36-37) on June 17. Since then, Detroit has won just eight of 31 tries.
"We've played a lot of really good series. We just haven't been able to win a series," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said after the set against Kansas City. "To come and win a series is really huge. We're going right back home, and hopefully we'll play better baseball at home. We've played a lot of really good teams. It was important to win here and get yourself set up with a little confidence."
Scoring runs has been Detroit's downfall. The Tigers' only consistent hitter has been right fielder Nicholas Castellanos. He has hit well but has had limited RBI opportunities and he gets pitched around when he does bat with runners on base.
Designated hitter Victor Martinez showed some life in Kansas City, getting three hits on Wednesday and going 6-for-12 in the three games to break a 1-for-23 slump.
"I'm really, really proud of the way these guys have been playing," Martinez said. "There's no giving up. Everybody's fighting. It's pretty easy when you're down, 7-1, 7-0, 8-2, to throw an at-bat away. Everybody has been working their butt off, and it shows."
The Indians' bullpen could get another boost early next week if southpaw Andrew Miller is able to return. He has been out since May 26 with right knee inflammation.
"I feel healthy, which is good," Miller said Wednesday at Progressive Field. He has been pitching for both Triple-A Columbus and Double-A Akron to minimize his travel. "It's as good as I've felt in a long time."
The knee problem caused Miller to alter his mechanics. He was slated to pitch every other day through week's end, after which it will be determined whether he can rejoin the Indians.
Detroit's top draft choice and the No. 1 overall pick, right-hander Casey Mize, made his pro debut Thursday with two scoreless innings in the Gulf Coast rookie league. He struck out four of the seven hitters he faced with one walk.
Mize will be limited to less than 30 innings in all likelihood. He'll pitch Tuesday for high-Class A Lakeland.