Well, the Indians have officially graduated from struggling to total free fall without a parachute.
After being swept by both the Twins and Royals, the Indians were looking to get back on the winning track last night in Detroit. They failed miserably, falling to the Tigers by a score of 10-2. Don’t worry, it wasn’t nearly as close as the final score made it seem. In the process they ran their losing streak to lucky number seven. That’s right folks, number ten is lurking in the shadows unless the Indians can remember how to play winning baseball.
Things got off to a rocky start early as Justin Masterson allowed and RBI double to Alex Avila in the bottom of the second that one can only assume Ezequiel Carrera lost in the late evening sun. The line drive flew past him as he dove out of the way of the ball and Brennan Boesch managed to score all the way from first. The Indians immediately bounced back in the top of the third thanks to an RBI single by Shin-Soo Choo that tied the game at one.
However, in the bottom of the third things got out of control in a hurry. A walk and a single respectively by the Tigers’ speedsters, Austin Jackson and Quintin Berry put Masterson in a tight spot. After retiring Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder blasted Masteron’s 0-1 pitch to right center. He missed a home run by about two feet, but it didn’t matter. Jackson and Berry scored easily giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead. That’s all the Tigers would get in the frame, but they were far from finished for the game. Meanwhile, Anibal Sanchez looked comfortable in his second start for the Tigers. He struck out 5 over the course of 6 innings and may very well be the missing piece the Tigers so desperately needed.
In the following inning Masterson imploded. He gave up an RBI double to Berry, an RBI single to Miguel Cabrera, and then a titanic two run homer to Prince Fielder. The four runs pushed the Tigers to a 7-1 lead and put the game out of reach. Masterson eventually got out of the inning, but he wouldn’t return for the fifth. His final line, 4 innings pitched and 7 runs, on 10 hits and 4 walks. He was awful.
For the bottom of the fifth, Manny Acta sent out Jeremy Accardo for mop up duty. He didn’t fare much better. Accardo gave up three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 10-1 game. The Indians eventually added a meningless run in the top of the seventh, but it was way too little too late.
The Indians are now a season worst six games under .500 with a record of 50-56 and find themselves 8.5 games back in the AL Central. The longer this goes on, the more likely it appears that the hopes for a late October playoff run are becoming a pipe dream. Barring a major course correction, and an implosion by both the Tigers and White Sox, the Tribe will be watching the postseason from the comfort of their homes for the fifth year in a row.
The Good: Nothing. They’ve lost seven games in a row, Justin Masterson got rocked, and they were only able to score two runs. It was embarrassing to watch.
The Bad: At the risk of rambling on for 1,500 more words, I’ll keep this short, sweet, and to the point. Justin Masterson was awful. He’s the alleged “ace” of the staff, the guy who’s supposed to be a stopper. Instead, he looked like a broken flood gate giving up runs left and right and allowing the Tigers to spray the ball all over the field. Awful. That’s all I can really say.
The “Huh?”: Manny Acta decided to move Shin-Soo Choo out of the lead off spot and back to the three hole. In his place at the top of the order was Jason Kipnis, who has been struggling mightily of late. While I understand Acta looking to shake things up to get a spark, I don’t understand how moving Choo was going to accomplish anything. He’s been so good for so long in the top spot so why mess with him? Then again, his options at this point are pretty limited, so why not?