Second Thoughts Game #135: Tigers 10, Indians 5
Late inning falters lead extend Tribe losing streak to five straight
Player of the Game: Omar Infante (2-for-5 with two homers and five RBI)
No Miggy, no problem.
Even without Miguel Cabrera in the Tigers lineup, Detroit still handed Cleveland their fifth straight loss defeating them, 10-5.
Five runs on nine hits for the Indians wouldn't be enough in the heart of Motown, as the Tigers exploded for 10 runs on 15 hits offensively, capped off on a two homer night from shortstop Omar infante.
Traded to Detroit before the July trade deadline in 2012 along with starter Anibal Sanchez (12-7, 2.68 ERA), it was on the bat of Infante and arm of Sanchez that gave the Tigers their 15th win against the Tribe on the season, their most since 1960.
Sanchez went 6 2/3 innings giving up three runs on six hits while striking out five. His opponent, Indians lefty Scott Kazmir (7-7, 4.36 ERA) has seen better days. The southpaw allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings of work for his third loss in his last four starts.
The Indians have now lost 14 of the last 15 meetings with their A.L. Central rivals.
"The (Almost) Catch"
Michael Brantley is usually about as smooth as they come out in left field, leading the league with 10 outfield assists.
That wasn't the case Saturday night, as Brantley had a deep fly ball hit by Infante tip off the top of his glove and just clear the outfield wall for a two-run homer in the sixth inning.
Making the score 6-2 at the time, it could’ve gave the Tribe some needed momentum if in fact he does come down with the ball.
All "what if's" aside, the once dubbed critical six-game roadtrip has turned into a critical mess, as the team has dropped the first five games.
Brantley's assist Saturday tells all about this nightmare roadtrip.
Bullpen hands game away late
Looking for a comback win down 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth, the Indians bullpen removed all doubts of a possible come from behind win at Comerica Park. Detroit put up a four spot on the scoreboard, on a two-run triple by Austin Jackson before Prince Fielder capped off the inning with an RBI single.
Just when the offense starts to click late, the 'pen hands the game to the Tigers buffet style. If it's not one thing with this team it's another. They haven't won games on the road all year (31-38 record) and yet they are somehow still in contention as the month of September is about to begin.
Goodbye August, Hello September
I don’t think there is a single Cleveland fan out there that is sad to see August end.
While it was certainly more than two times better than August of 2012, it was still a struggling month for the Tribe who ended August with a 12-16 record.
The team finished the month ranked 14th in the A.L in average (.229) and runs (92), while finishing last in the league in RBI (86), on-base percentage (.295) and slugging percentage (.362).
While the remaining schedule certainly favors the Indians down the stretch, as they play 17 of their last 23 games against teams below .500, there is no such thing as an easy September.
Tribe manager Terry Francona knows about all that too well.
It was just two years ago the Tampa Bay Rays beat out his the Boston Red Sox who sat seven games up in the A.L. Wild Card on September 1, 2011 only to send them home on the final day of the season.
Scoreboard watching aside, as long as the Indians can take care of their own business and win games they should, they will be right in the thick of things though the final days of the regular season.
Santana does damage inside the park
The lone bright spot offensively Saturday came off the bat of Carlos Santana in the top of the eighth inning.
After Jason Kipnis doubled with one out, Santana slammed a deep fly ball that kicked off the glove of Jackson out in center field. With the Tigers outfielder injured on the play, the Indians desigated hitter flew around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
It was the team's second inside-the-parker on the season.
The "injured" Jackson would have his revenge a half inning later, but it was nice to see Santana give some life to the offense late with his team-high 17th long ball.
Even with another loss, Cleveland (71-64) still remains 4 1/2 games in back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second spot in the A.L. Wild Card race. The loss does however put the team a season-high 8 1/2 games behind the Tigers for first place in the Central Division.
Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will look to finally snap both their five-game losing streak and seven game streak against Detroit in the rubber match Sunday. Rookie Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.67 ERA) takes the hill in the season finale and will be opposed by Tigers ace Justin Verlander (12-10, 3.73 ERA). Salazar pitched well in his only start against Detroit back on August 7, allowing four runs in a season-high 7 2/3 innings and striking out 10. Verlander is 3-1 with a 4.32 ERA in four starts versus Cleveland this season.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
against tigers 3-15.
23.4% of loses the Indians have is against one team.