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Tigers feast on atrocious bullpen, beat Indians 9-6

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Kluber's solid outing was spoiled by a bullpen meltdown, and Jerry Sands' heroics weren't enough to save the Tribe from defeat.

I knew I should've gotten the warranty on that contract with the Devil
I knew I should've gotten the warranty on that contract with the Devil
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Tigers 9, Indians 6

Box Score

Tribe falls to 2-3

I generally try to avoid the "roller coaster ride" cliche, but it is an apt metaphor here. Today's game was an up-and-down affair. A long, thrilling, and eventually terrifying roller coaster that ended up careening out of control and derailing, maiming everyone aboard. There were so many positive stories I was hoping to write about. Corey Kluber turned in another sterling performance after a shaky start. Jerry Sands channeled the spirit of George Kottaras to transform from AAAA nobody into Cleveland's new cult hero. Sadly, that all faded into the background by the time the game ended. The Tigers came to Cleveland with an appetite for destruction, and a complete Tribe bullpen meltdown was the main ingredient in today's feast. And because they're never satisfied, they topped it all with a dash of salt: a potentially serious knee injury for Yan Gomes.

OK, I think I've got the colourful language out of my system. Let's talk about what actually happened. I went into this game expecting a pitcher's duel between two of the best in the AL. That's sorta what we got, for the first six innings at least. Corey Kluber struggled in the 1st, giving up a leadoff home to someone called Anthony Gose, and then allowing another run to score on a Victor Martinez GIDP. Over the next five and a third innings, though, Kluber would strike out ten Tigers and give up just two more hits. He was pulled in the 6th due to high pitch count, and left the field to a standing ovation.

David Price was very effective as well, shutting out the Tribe and holding them to just four hits through five and two thirds. The Indians finally started to get to him in the 6th. Price dug himself a nice hole, giving up two walks and making an error to allow Yan Gomes to reach and load the bases. The Indians finally got on the board with a Ryan Raburn sac fly, then new Tribe hero Jerry F'n Sands knocked Price out of the game by doubling home Santana and Gomes and putting the Indians up 3-2. Sand would take the field in the top of the 7th to rousing chants of JER-RY! JER-RY! from the RF seats.

Kluber notched his 10th K, striking out Nick Castellanos, but was pulled due to a high pitch count. Once both starters left the game, things started to get ugly. Mark Rzepczynski faced two batters and allowed both to reach base. Bryan Shaw came in to relieve him, and gave up three runs on back-to-back-to-back singles from Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez. Cabrera continued his lifelong war on Cleveland, going 4-5 with an RBI today. You hate the guy so much, but it's impossible to deny the talent. He's like Michael Jordan against the 1980's Cavs. Except much fatter.

Anyway, the Indians had a bit of fight in them, as Jerry Sands would once again step up to drive in the tying runs with a two-run double in the 8th. By the top of the 9th, the Sands storm began to die down, and the bullpen poopstorm began to rage in its place. Cody Allen walked the first two batters he faced, then gave up an RBI single to Kinsler. Cabrera then hit a deep fly ball to RF, which Sands tracked it, lept for, had in his glove, and dropped. The Tigers had the bases loaded with one out, and they'd go on to score three more runs, putting the game out of reach.

An RBI single by Jason Kipnis in the 9th couldn't overcome the damage done by Scarbble, Shaw, Allen, and Kyle Crockett. The quartet pissed away what was another fine showing by the Klubot, and has many wondering if the bullpen is going to be a repeated source of pain and agony this season. Remember though, kids, that this is just the fifth game of the season, so it's not wise to jump to any conclusions.

Hey wait, did that sound too positive? Let me fix that. Somewhere in the midst of the bullpen meltdown, Yan Gomes left the game with an injury. Rajai Davis was forced out on a play at the plate, but took out Gomes' leg with a hard slide. No word yet on the severity of the injury, but losing Gomes for more than a few games would be a serious blow to the team's chances of contention. Also! This was the second-longest nine inning game in Progressive Field history, clocking in at just under four and a half hours. It was like a standard Yankees-Red Sox game, but less fun to watch.

I don't want to end on a down note, so again, it's just five games. Let's hope ol' Gomie is OK, and the bullpen is just working out its early season jitters. And hey, it's not all bad. Anthony Swarzak threw a scoreless inning!

Win Expectancy Chart:


Source: FanGraphs


Roll Call:

GameThread

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