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Fulmer, Kluber to close down season's first half

MLB.com

Despite both of their nominations to the All-Star team, neither Corey Kluber nor Michael Fulmer will be pitching in the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday. That makes their face-off on Sunday night at Progressive Field on ESPN a de facto Midsummer Classic, of sorts, for the right-handers.

Kluber is in his second straight All-Star campaign and has been dealing as of late. He has given up two total earned runs in his past four starts, lowering his ERA on the season to 2.85. However, the Tigers have hit him hard for 11 runs over 9 1/3 innings in two starts this season.

Full Game Coverage

Despite both of their nominations to the All-Star team, neither Corey Kluber nor Michael Fulmer will be pitching in the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday. That makes their face-off on Sunday night at Progressive Field on ESPN a de facto Midsummer Classic, of sorts, for the right-handers.

Kluber is in his second straight All-Star campaign and has been dealing as of late. He has given up two total earned runs in his past four starts, lowering his ERA on the season to 2.85. However, the Tigers have hit him hard for 11 runs over 9 1/3 innings in two starts this season.

Full Game Coverage

Fulmer is impressing in his second Major League season, with a 3.20 ERA over 109 2/3 innings. He didn't allow a homer in 10 straight starts before giving up two to the Giants last time around, and he has not yet faced the Indians this year.

Three things to know about this game

• The heart of the Tigers' order all hit .300 or better in their career against Kluber. Miguel Cabrera (.442) leads the way with six homers in 52 plate appearances, followed by Justin Upton (.385), Victor Martinez (.341), Nicholas Castellanos (.333), and J.D. Martinez (.308).

• Fulmer has been one of the hardest pitchers to make quality contact against this season. Among 39 pitchers with at least 300 batted balls against them, Fulmer's average exit velocity of 85.4 mph ranks sixth-best, according to Statcast.

• Fulmer's fastball, in particular, has been hard to touch. Among 125 starters with at least 50 fastballs put in play, his .228 expected batting average ranks 27th-best, according to Statcast.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.