Indians manager Terry Francona isn't looking into the past to figure out how to beat Detroit in the future.
Oh, he's aware of the Tigers' seven-game winning streak against his club and their 15-3 record against Cleveland this season. But, as he has treated every game and every opponent all year, the skipper is entirely interested in only the next game, the one in which the outcome has not yet been decided, no matter the club in the other dugout.
"Sometimes there's not a lot of explanations," Francona said before the Tigers won, 10-5, on Saturday. "You play teams so many different times of the year, it's different every time. Each game is its own entity. It doesn't make sense to concern yourself with what they did to us a month ago or two months ago. We need to find a way to beat them tonight -- that's hard enough."
The Indians and Tigers will meet for the last time in the regular season Sunday at Comerica Park. Righty Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.67 ERA) will take the ball for the Tribe, while right-hander Justin Verlander (12-10, 3.73 ERA) will pitch for Detroit.
If the Tigers pull off the sweep, they'll have racked up at least 16 wins against Cleveland in one season for just the sixth time. Including this year, they've reached at least 15 wins for the 10th time.
The job of keeping Detroit off the scoreboard falls to Salazar, a young flamethrower and Tommy John alumnus whose workload has been monitored in the season's final stretch. He last pitched in Atlanta on Tuesday, when Francona removed him after 77 pitches and four innings in which he allowed three hits and two runs.
"We're in a position with him right now where, when he has long innings, we owe it to him and to the organization to keep an eye on him," Francona said. "There's going to be a day when we can turn him loose and let that four [innings] turn into six or seven, but not right now."
Working under a watchful eye is not something with which Verlander has much experience. Nor is pitching without dominating, which the Tigers' workhorse ace has done often this season. But his 2013 struggles aside, Verlander has beaten Cleveland three times in four meetings, and that's comforting to him.
He last faced the Indians on Aug. 6, when he held the Tribe to four hits and one run, racking up seven strikeouts without issuing a walk over eight innings. It's performances like that which Verlander hasn't been able deliver with his usual regularity. And with the postseason a mere month away, he knows the time to find whatever he lost is running out.
"The deadline's there for me," he said. "I've got to figure it out, and I've got to figure it out in a hurry. It's been quite the grind, but also you look at a couple of the big games that I've had, specifically Cleveland, that's something I look at and say, 'That was a big game for us, and I went out and had probably the best start of my year in that game.' So hopefully that's something that clicks when I need it."
Indians: September callups aplenty in Cleveland
Cleveland added recently acquired outfielder Jason Kubel to its active roster Saturday, making room by optioning right-hander Carlos Carrasco to Triple-A Columbus. Carrasco should rejoin the Tribe on Tuesday, however, as part of the September roster expansion.
And he's not the only one. The Indians also announced that right-hander Preston Guilmet, left-hander Nick Hagadone, right-hander Blake Wood, infielder Jose Ramirez and catcher Kelly Shoppach will be called up to the club on Sunday. Left-hander Clay Rapada will report to Cleveland on Monday, while right-handers Josh Tomlin, Vinnie Pestano and C.C. Lee will join Carrasco on Tuesday.
"We're trying to keep an eye on Danny," Francona said. "[Corey] Kluber will be coming back, but he certainly will need to be stretched out. So maybe we can win games. Again, the games might be a little longer, because we'll have four lefties in the bullpen and we'll match up a little bit. If that's the way we need to win, that's the way we need to win."
Tigers: Coke and Perez come back to Detroit
Detroit recalled southpaw Phil Coke and infielder Hernan Perez from Triple-A Toledo on Saturday and optioned long relievers Jeremy Bonderman to Triple-A Toledo and Luke Putkonen to Class A Lakeland. Both of the latter players will be recalled in the coming days once their respective Minor League seasons end.
"Coke went down there and threw well, which does not surprise us, because his velocity has been good," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "He kept the ball down better there, which is one thing we wanted him to work on. He wasn't just throwing hard for the sake of throwing hard. Part of his problem has been the command aspect of it, and he did a better job of that at Triple-A. Hopefully, he can continue. He only had a few outings."
Perez, the Tigers' eighth-ranked prospect, is in his third stint this season with the Major League club.
"He's not a burner, but he allows [Tigers manager] Jim [Leyland] to use him as a pinch-runner, with the flexibility of position," Dombrowski said. "He can play second, play short, move some other people around. But he does give us some speed."
• Detroit has outscored the Indians, 120-66, this year.
• The Tribe averaged two runs per game during its five-game losing streak.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.