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Game 98: Tigers 5, Indians 3

One of two Asdrubal Cabrera errors in the second inning.
One of two Asdrubal Cabrera errors in the second inning.

The Indians went on a run-scoring binge, getting all the way to three runs. Unfortunately, Derek Lowe was pitching, and to make matters worse, the Indians defense (specifically Asdrubal Cabrera) was throwing the ball all over the infield.

Lowe was pretty lucky just to allow the five runs. In the first inning, Miguel Cabrera made the first out on the bases while trying to go to second on the throw to the plate. Lowe would get out of the inning having given up just one run. He'd give another two runs in the second (thanks mainly to Asdrubal Cabrera's two errors), but again, Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play with runners on first and third and one out, defusing what could have been a early knockout.

But although somehow Derek was keeping the game close, Manny Acta stuck with him, seemingly bound and determined to get six innings out of him no matter what. He did settle down somewhat after the second inning, retiring the Tigers in order in the third and fourth, but he walked the bases loaded in the fifth, and by the time Esmil Rogers started warming, it was either going to be Lowe getting out of the inning or a Tigers blowout. It turned that yet again Lowe managed to only allow one run despite allowing three walks and a single.

Lowe went out again in the sixth, and would allow his fifth run. By this time the Indians had scored two runs on a Casey Kotchman homer, so the game was still in doubt. So while Lowe did not really pitch that well, he kept the Indians to within striking distance. But because the offense has been running on a just a couple cylinders since the All-Star Break, a three-run deficit was large enough for the Tigers to not feel threatened the rest of the night.

At this point, the Indians are going to either have to replace Lowe with a trade acquisition (if they think that they can contend) or with Corey Kluber (if they don't). He gave the Indians some very good starts when Masterson and Jimenez were really struggling at the beginning of the season, but hasn't pitched well in almost two months now (June 1).

Max Scherzer only allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 7 innings, though it seemed that he fighting himself all night. Yes, I know it's odd to say that about a pitcher with those results, but the Indians did have good at-bats against, though only putting together a good inning once. That good inning was the third, when Kotchman hit a two-run homer, Choo doubled, and Jason Kipnis walked. Michael Brantley then just missed hitting a three-run homer. That was their chance, and they missed it.

Esmil Rogers, Cody Allen, and Tony Sipp finished up the game. Those three now form the second corp of relievers, and they did a good job keeping the score where it was. Rogers pitched a scoreless seventh, Allen got four outs (including striking out Cabrera on a high fastball) and Sipp finished off the rest of the ninth.

Source: FanGraphs