August 30, 2013
The way things are looking, that "weak" schedule starting a week from tonight isn't going to matter much.
Let's be honest. The division race for all practical purposes is over. This weekend series in Detroit is important to the Indians because they have an opportunity to gain ground in the Wild Card race. With Tampa Bay playing Oakland and Baltimore playing New York, the Indians would be guaranteed to gain a game on two competitors. Well, the flip side is that with each loss this weekend they will lose a game against two of their Wild Card competitors. And that's what will happen today, as the Indians once again lost to the Tigers.
Zach McAllister went the mound the Indians' hottest pitcher, but after an easy first inning he just couldn't find the plate. This start was reminiscent of his last start against the Tigers, also a short outing. Tonight he walked four batters, all of them coming after that first inning. And unfortunately giving up 5 early runs just about guarantees a loss these days, for the Indians just aren't scoring runs.
The game I think turned on a play in the second inning. Carlos Santana led off the inning with a double, and Michael Brantley followed with a single, the first hit with RISP since the Minnesota series. Santana held up at third with nobody out, and Asdrubal Cabrera came to the plate. Cabrera hit what against many shortstops would have an RBI single, but the Tigers have Jose Iglesias, who isn't your ordinary shortstop. Not only did he grab the liner on one hop, but he started a double play. Santana scored, but that diving play by Iglesias prevented at least one more run from scoring, and perhaps a multi-run would have changed the course of the game.
The Tigers led 2-0 and had loaded the bases in the third when Victor Martinez hit a deep fly ball to center, a ball that Michael Bourn could have run down. But Bourn didn't see the ball in the twilight sky, and stood rooted the ground. The ball dropped on the warning track, and by the time Drew Stubbs chased it down two runs would score. Had Bourn caught the ball, the Tigers would have gone ahead 3-1 but with no further damage in that frame. But instead the Tigers jumped to a 5-1 inning and wouldn't look back.
The Indians got a bit closer in the sixth, and had their chance to get back into the game. Tigers starter Rick Porcella was chased after loading the bases with two out (and one of those outs was a line shot right at the center fielder). Al Alburquerque came on and promptly walked Asdrubal Cabrera to force in a run, but Yan Gomes ended the threat by grounding out to third baseman. The Indians again rallied in the seventh, pushing runners to second and third, but Jason Kipnis ended the threat with a ground out. Time and time again the Indians have had chances this month, but haven't capitalized on them. It's like they've already used up their year's supply of clutch hits.
The Tigers scored two runs in the seventh inning, making the score 7-2. Then the rains came, and shortly afterwards the game was called. The way the Indians have been hitting, it probably wouldn't have mattered whether they played two more innings or nine for innings.
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