Tribe falls to 76-71
Before I tell you about the game, I need you to know something. It still isn't over. It's nearly over, but it isn't there yet. That's the good news. The bad news is that after tomorrow, you probably need to root for the Tigers. Isolating the AL Central and forgetting about Seattle, New York and Toronto for a minute, the Indians have the best chance to catch the Royals and almost no chance to catch the Tigers. Those two teams play a head to head series still and the Indians only have games remaining against the Royals. Their chances look better the more the Royals lose, especially at the hands of the Tigers or the Indians.
Now for the other bad news.
Bryan Shaw blew a 4-3 lead for the Tribe in the 8th with 2 outs and a full count on Alex Avila. Talk about back against the wall level stuff. He got through Victor and J.D. Martinez after walking Miguel Cabrera, but hung a slider to Avila that ended up in the seats.
Jason Kipnis led off the 9th with a walk, but a bunt meant the Indians now only had two outs to work with. That was followed by a Lonnie Chisenhall strike out to bring us to our final out. David Murphy came on to pinch hit for Jesus Aguilar but, alas, there was no more Magic in those Hands and his liner to left fell into the glove of Rajai Davis to end the game. I hate bunts.
Michael Brantley kicked off the scoring in the 1st inning with a 2-run shot to right, his 19th of the year. Things looked promising against the left hander Kyle Lobstein. Tribe batters chased him after 5 having only struck out twice, a big improvement from the last time they faced him. They could never seem to rally against the rough Tigers pen, though.
Danny Salazar was equal parts dominate and hittable tonight. His final line would read 7K 6H 1BB and 3ER and he handled Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez with seeming ease, but struggled more against the bottom half of the lineup. In the 3rd, singles by Nick Castellanos, Andrew Romine and Ian Kinsler would put Detroit on the board. A sacrifice fly from Torii Hunter would tie the game until Victor Martinez's homer in the 4th put the Tigers up 3-2. It will be very interesting to see what happens with Victor the free agent this offseason.
To the Tribe's credit, they fought back in their next at bat. Chisenhall and Aguilar singled to setup a miraciulous 2-out double from Mike Aviles to drive them both in. Later, in the 8th, things got interesting against Joba Chamberlain. With 2-outs again, Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana both singled to bring Yan Gomes to the plate. Somehow they executed a double steal, putting both runners in scoring position for Yan. He had flared a single in front of Torii Hunter earlier in the game and he put the ball there again, but this time Hunter made a great play to rob Yan and at least one, maybe two, insurance runs. After the back breaking homer by Avila in the 8th, the Indians were sorely missing those runs that never were.
In the end, the Tribe danced much better with a strong Tiger's lineup but just couldn't walk away with the victory. They fought all night long and did a good job of coming back when the Tigers took the lead but it wasn't enough. We're now one day close to our reality, whatever that may be.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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|Mr. Bad Example