The Indians free fall continued in Detroit on Friday night as they dropped their 13th of their last 17 games to drop to a .500 record of 30-30. It is the first time the team has been at .500 since May 5th.
Ubaldo Jimenez (4-4, 5.03 ERA) took the loss and lasted 3+ innnings allowing 5R/3ER on 7 hits walking 3 and striking out 3. On the evening he made 85 pitches and 50 were for strikes and he threw a first pitch strike to 13 of the 20 batters he faced. Of his 85 pitches thrown the recorded 1o swinging strikes but the Tigers were able to spoil his pitches and run his pitch count up by fouling of 15 pitches.
After working around a 1-out double by Torii Hunter in the second inning Jimenez was touched for 3 runs in the second. Victor Martinez led off the inning with a solo homer to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. The Tigers extended their lead in large part due to a fielding error by Nick Swisher. With Bryan Pena on 1st and 1-out Ramon Santiago sent a grounder to first and despite the fact that Pena was in motion on the pitch Swisher still tried to get the force out. His throw ended up hitting Pena and everyone was safe. Jimenez then walked Avasail Garcia before striking out Andy Dirks for the second inning.
Torri Hunter followed with a slow roller to Mike Aviles who fielded the ball cleanly but had no play and the Tigers got their second run and brought Miguel Cabrera to the plate with the bases loaded. Jimenez fell behind 3-1 but did not give in walked a run home and then retired Prince Fielder on a fly out to left.
The comedy of errors and cloud of misfortune didn’t dissipate from above Jimenez’s head as the game moved to the Tigers half of the 4th. The initial hit in the inning was self inflicted damage as a 1-2 fastball was left up in the strike zone and Avisail Garcia drove the ball over Michael Brantley‘s head for a leadoff double.
Andy Dirks drove Garcia in on a ball that went through Jimenez’s legs and hit 2nd base to get past Mike Aviles who seemed to be in position to at least field and hold Garcia at 3rd base. Torii Hunter followed with a poorly struck ball to the opposite field that fell in front of Drew Stubbs and advanced Dirks to third. At this point Terry Francona had seen enough and went to the bullpen to bring in Matt Albers to face Miguel Cabrera. Albers got the double play ball but Dirks scored from third to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead.
Handing a Justin Verlander (8-4, 3.71 ERA) a 5-0 lead is not a game that many foresee the tying run coming to the plate but that’s what happened in the top of the 5th. The Indians loaded the bases with 1-out thanks to singles by Mark Reynolds, Mike Aviles, and Drew Stubbs. Michael Bourn delivered a single to drive in Reynolds and then Aviles and Stubbs came in on a Jason Kipnis double to cut the Tigers lead to 5-3 with 1-out and runners at 2nd and 3rd. Verlander diffused the Indians rally by getting Nick Swisher to pop out and Michael Brantley to fly out.
After cutting the lead to 5-3 the Tribe needed a quick inning to get Verlander back out there and work on chipping into the lead. Victor Martinez led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a ground ball off the bat that Nick Swisher couldn’t handle and Martinez raced to 3rd. With runners at the corner and Bryan Pena due up Nick Hagadone was summoned from the bullpen. He got Bryan Pena to ground into the double play but Martinez came in to score the Tigers 6th run.
The Tigers extended their lead to 7-3 with a 2-out RBI single by Bryan Pena to score Victor Martinez.
After Justin Verlander worked the first 7 innings allowing 3R/ER he turned the ball over to Joaquin Benoit who worked a scoreless 8th. Although not a save situation Jim Leyland turned to his embattled closer Jose Valverde.
Jason Giambi greeted Valverde with his 6th home run of the year to cut the Tiger lead to 7-4 and with 1-out Drew Stubbs tagged him for a solo home run to cut the lead to 7-5. With 2-out Jason Kipnis singled to bring the tying run to the plate for Nick Swisher who grounded out to 2nd to end the game.
- The Indians offense is showing signs of waking up as they had 10-hits against Tigers pitching.
- The bullpen was effective allowing only 1ER in 5 innings of work and only walked 1 batter.
- Ubaldo Jimenez not giving in to Miguel Cabrera down in the count 3-1 and bases loaded.
- The Indians have seen first hand the Tigers weak spot (the bullpen) and will look to do what good teams do and take advantage of it.
- Nick Swisher. Bad day at the plate and a bad day in the field. He has been slumping of late and needs a feel good string of games.
- Ubaldo Jimenez was not sharp on the evening but he certainly wasn’t the Ubaldo Jimenez that we saw the 2nd half of 2012 and in early April.