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Second Thoughts Game #75: Tigers 5, Indians 4

Second Thoughts Game #75: Tigers 5, Indians 4
Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez celebrate. (Photo: AP)
June 22, 2014
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The Cleveland Indians (37-38) dropped their second straight game to the Detroit Tigers (39-32) 5-4 on Saturday night at Progressive Field, this time in 10 innings.  Miguel Cabrera doubled in Ian Kinsler in the tenth inning to give the Tigers the lead back. 

In the ninth, the Indians stageg a dramatic two-out rally against Tigers closer Joe Nathan where they got consecutive singles from David MurphyYan Gomes and Michael Bourn to produce the tying run.

Victor Martinez gave Detroit an early 1-0 with a lead off second inning home run to right.  But the Indians got the run back thanks to a sharply hit ball by Nick Swisher that handcuffed second baseman Ian Kinsler.

Carlos Santana gave the Indians the lead in the fifth inning with a one-out rocket-shot over the wall in right.

Indians starter Trevor Bauer pitched well through the first five, allowing only the one run, but he started to labor in the sixth.  Miguel Cabrera led off the inning with a double and was driven home on a single by Victor Martinez.

Despite some hard-hit outs, Bauer was sent back out for the seventh.  After striking out Eugenio Suarez to open the inning, Bauer served up back-to-back home runs to Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler and the Tigers had a two-run lead.

Michael Bourn was hit by Al Alburquerque to lead off the eighth, and then while in motion, Asdrubal Cabrera sent him home with a double to center.

Bauer pitches well, but stuggles late

There was no point in Saturday night’s game where I thought Trevor Bauer looked dominant.  At the same time, he threw the ball well.  But he hit a wall last night in the sixth inning and it was pretty apparent that he was done.  Every out was a rocket off the bat. 

That said, I completely agree with Terry Francona’s decision to leave him out there.  It probably cost them this game, but the Indians need their starters to pitch deeper into games.  Their bullpen is like a lot of other bullpens, they are better when they aren’t overused.

Decisions, decisions

Ian Kinsler led off the tenth with a single to center and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt.  The decision for Cody Allen and the Indians was either pitch to batting champion and MVP Miguel Cabrera or former Indian and current Indian killer Victor Martinez.  I like that they went after Cabrera.  Why not?  Go after the biggest guy in the yard.  This is baseball – you’re likely to get him out.

Except they didn’t get him out and I’m here writing about a loss.  They had two bases open; maybe they should have walked both of them and took their chances with the other Martinez.

Glass-half-full

They fight.  With two outs in the ninth and nobody on three consecutive batters got one strike away from ending it and all three singled to extend the game. 

Also, the bullpen, despite Cody Allen’s tenth inning, looked good last night.  Scott Atchison struck out two over 1.2 innings in relief of Trevor Bauer.  Kyle Crockett, who had his permission slip from his parents, got an out to start the ninth.  Vinnie Pestano made his second appearance since his return and got the other two outs. 

Glass-half-empty

As good as the ninth inning was, the tenth featured batters who swung at pitches out of the zone against Phil CokeMichael Brantley got himself in trouble early in the at-bat by swinging at a pitch that was at his neck, which led to a strikeout.

Jason Kipnis struck out on a pitch in the dirt and a batter later, Lonnie Chisenhall struck out on a slider that didn’t threaten the strike zone. 

Their lineup is oddly put-together.  Jason Kipnis is hitting .206 against left-handers this season, so they put him in the fourth spot behind Michael Brantley, who is also a left-hander.  That pretty much gaurantees that he’s going to face a lefty in the late innings.  But that’s also a byproduct of the Indians being too left-handed in the first place.  Kipnis, Brantley and Nick Swisher combined to go 0-for-14 on Saturday night.

Final Thought

After the Indians finish up on Sunday afternoon with the Tigers, they head west in search of gold.  They have an off day on Monday, followed by two in Arizona and another off day, which is why Zach McAllister was sent down to Columbus.  On Saturday, he made his third start for the Clippers and pitched fairly well.  He gave up two runs over seven innings in the Clippers 14-2 victory over Lehigh Valley, and yes, Lehigh Valley was wearing the bacon uniforms.

Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.

User Comments

Nikolaos
June 23, 2014 - 9:04 AM EDT
I was at this game and I can tell you that Santana, Chisenhall and Murphy impressed me. Murphy plays a better Right Field that people realize. Santana and Chisenhall looked locked in (finally Santana!). Swisher, Cabrera and Bauer really drove me nuts. Swisher takes that 1st pitch fastball down the middle of the plate and swings at 3 sliders in a row in the dirt...he used to have a great eye at the plate...not sure what happened. Asdrubal just needs to be traded...let Aviles play SS until Lindor is ready. Bauer....the guy drives me nuts. For a guy that has some high velocity, he sure nibbles around the plate a lot. He might have a high baseball IQ, but he has a lot to l learn about pitch sequences and the scouting report on the hitters he is facing.
LeaguePark
June 22, 2014 - 6:53 PM EDT
Shy, the Tigers are not a small market team. The suburbs including Canada have a lot of fans and the owner is the head of Little Caesar's Pizza and is one of the richest owners in baseball
yourtribe
June 22, 2014 - 2:49 PM EDT
And the little league caliber errors continue. Cabby has at least one a week. Just routine plays we blow.
shy
June 22, 2014 - 2:41 PM EDT
The TIgers are a small market team, the city is bankrupt, it looks like something out of BladeRunner and the owner is right where Dolan is on the richest list. No excuses. If they're better it's because Dombrowski can recognize and sign talent better than Antonetti, And he still makes mistakes- the Tigers have a mediocre bullpen 4 yrs running now, and they are not going anywhere without one.
yourtribe
June 22, 2014 - 2:02 PM EDT
Our cleanup guy has 12 extra base hits in 49 games!
Two guys over .265.
Bring Aguilar up and give him ABs. Can he be any worse than what we have?
If the bats don't come around we have no shot at wildcard. Won't catch the yanks and angels and some others.
LeaguePark
June 22, 2014 - 1:27 PM EDT
No intelligent lineup proposal should include Swisher
yourtribe
June 22, 2014 - 1:24 PM EDT
The tigers are just a much better team. Other than bullpen we are not at their level. Their lineup is worlds better right now.
Joe Chengery
June 22, 2014 - 1:21 PM EDT
It would help if Francona would get Kipnis out of that clean-up spot and start putting his best hitters back-to-back (Brantley and Chisenhall). If you don't want those two hitting back-to-back (though they've hit lefties this year, and Brantley hitting them throughout his career), put Santana or Gomes in the cleanup spot between them. Kipnis should not be there- how long before Francona takes him out of that spot- he faltered with a runner at 3rd and less than 2 outs last night, never mind the fact he's still not hitting.

I'd propose this lineup:

Bourn
Cabrera
Brantley
Santana
Chisenhall
Gomes
Kipnis
Swisher
Murphy

The only two lefties back-to-back are Murphy and Bourn, and both (especially Murphy) have been decent/solid against lefties. It would be hard for opposing teams to match up against this lineup, it would take advantage of Santana's hotness, it would propel Gomes higher up, with that better trio hitting in front of him, it would limit Kipnis' ineffectiveness and offensive struggles, as well as Swisher's, with the hope it would get both of them going on a consistent basis.

One thing working against Francona: He sticks with ineffective lineups a little too long- he did this with Swisher and Santana, and he's doing it again with Kipnis. He needs to get Kipnis out of that spot- in my opinion, he shouldn't have been in that spot to begin with- he put Chisenhall in there for a few games, he would have been and still would be a better bet there than Kipnis.
Rich
June 22, 2014 - 11:25 AM EDT
It's pretty simple. The Tigers have a lot of money, the Indians don't. So the Tigers go out and get Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabera, and they sign Verlander to a long term deal. Meanwhile the Indians are forced to trade Martinez, Sabathia, Lee, etc.

So in a game like this, with Verlander starting and Victor and Miggy coming up in the 10th with a runner in scoring position, the outcome is easy to predict.

At least the Indians are winning their share of games against the Tigers this year - so far.

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