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Tigers top Tribe 6-4 in Fall Training debut

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The Indians clinched last night, and have a day off tomorrow.

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians defeated the Detroit Tigers today 4-6 because the Indians are going to the playoffs and the Tigers aren’t.

The Tribe clinched last night and presumably many players in the clubhouse spent the evening celebrated by, uh, playing cribbage into the wee hours of the morning. As such, the lineup had a much different look today and featured few of the Indians’ normal starters.

By few, I mean none of them. Unless you count Greg Allen, who has been replaced (probably) by Jason Kipnis in center, and Josh Donaldson, who needs the work.

That’s fine. I’m referring to the rest of the season as Fall Training for that reason. Give the younger guys a look, let the starters rest, and roll into October ready to make a run at the World Series. Sound good? Good.

Okay but obviously the Indians lost today’s game

Of course they did. Shane Bieber looked great until he faced the Tigers’ lineup for the third time. He gave up four runs in the fifth inning, but battled through it and went on to pitch a scoreless sixth. One thing upon which I wish to expand in another article is a question about how, exactly, the Indians ought to use Bieber in the postseason. He is clearly a valuable starter, but he is also a young arm who is near 200 innings pitched this year. Do they want to have him continue to start in the regular season and use him out of the bullpen in the playoffs? Do they want to rest him until October and then have him act as an as-needed starter?

I have no idea. What I do know is that Bieber has pitched more innings than anyone in the Majors this season (when you add the minor league innings), except Scherzer, Verlander, DeGrom, and Kluber. He tossed 173 innings last year. It certainly bodes well for his ability to eat innings in the future, but how effective can he be the rest of the way?

Andrew Miller also gave up a home run today. I have no reason to be concerned about that; he’s still working his way back from injury/proving to the team that he won’t get some weird leg injury again.

What happened at the plate?

Stuff.

Okay, what kind of stuff?

Eight hits. It wasn’t a bad day of offense for the Tribe, though they did leave six on-base, including two in the bottom of the ninth with the winning run at the plate. Adam Rosales put the team within striking distance thanks to a right-field single, but Rajai Davis popped up to end the game.

Josh Donaldson had a rough afternoon at the plate, as he went 0-4 with two strikeouts. Erik Gonzalez went 0-fer but grounded out to bring in a run, while Davis failed to reach base from the leadoff spot. Every other hitter in the lineup contributed, including solid contributions from Brandon Guyer who reached base four times (two hits, a walk, a HBP), and Yandy Diaz (a single and a double, one run and one RBI).

Tribe Tidbits

  • Despite the game not meaning anything, Jose Ramirez clearly wanted to get into the game in the bottom of the ninth. I have reservations about human cloning but I am willing to make an exception in some cases.
  • Adam Plutko looked decent in the ninth inning. I’m not exactly sure what the Indians plan to do with him in the postseason; I would guess it depends on whether or not Bauer is allowed to start. I say “allowed” because I can’t imagine a scenario in which Bauer comes back from the DL and doesn’t insist that he can throw 125 pitches every three days.
  • Brandon Barnes is now hitting 364/.417/.636 during his limited time in Cleveland. Terry Francona alluded to wanting him on the roster next season, and while the sample size is small I think he’s proven that he’s somewhere between replacement level and start quality. You know. A fourth outfielder. I believe he is one of six on the Indians’ 40-man roster at the moment.

The Indians are off tomorrow before starting the last leg of their season. The Sox family comes to town all of the next, after which the Indians travel to face the White Sox and Kansas City for the final seven games of the season.

We’ll see what they do the rest of the way.