As if it mattered to Tribe fans, the All-Star Break is now upon us, and the Indians are still in last place…and worst in the American League. Barring something that happens in the movies, such as Major League (parts I or II), this season will go down like several others in Cleveland sports lore…a huge disappointment.
Sunday afternoon, the Indians (a microscopic 13 games out of first place) tussled with AL Central leading Detroit. The Tigers demolished Cleveland 10-1 in the rubber match to win the series.
As if facing Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander wasn’t enough to dampen the Indians lumber a bit, Detroit put up a combined 9 runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings. Tiger rightfielder Clete Thomas, replacing Magglio Ordonez, homered, tripled, and singled on the day to drive in half of the Detroit’s runs. He also scored two of his own. All-Star third baseman (and Home Run Derby participant come Monday) Brandon Inge hit two homers, driving in three runs. Not to be left out, Marcus Thames had a sparkling day at the plate as he went 4-for-4 with an RBI.
Justin Verlander (10-4) recorded the win while pitching seven strong innings, striking out eight, and only surrendering five hits and three walks.
On the flip side, Grady Sizemore was the only Indian to have a multiple hit afternoon, with two. The lone All-Star from Cleveland, Victor Martinez, went 1-for-3 at the plate.
Starting pitcher Tomo Ohka (0-3) only lasted 3 2/3 innings while giving up five earned runs, aided by two long balls. The bullpen didn’t fare much better, but little was left in doubt at that point.
After the game, Ohka stated, “My fastball was up. I felt OK, but I kept making bad pitches.” Last I checked, leaving a fastball up in the zone usually doesn’t make any pitcher feel okay.
Eric Wedge countered with: “It’s been a disappointment. There’s a long way to go, and I still feel good about the lineup we are putting out there every day, but we’ve got to improve the rotation and our bullpen.”