Here is a bit of obvious analysis. In order to win the AL Central the Indians need to figure out a way to beat the Detroit Tigers. So far that has been a riddle they just can’t figure out. After winning two of their first three games against the Tigers this season, the Indians have now dropped seven straight after Saturday’s 9-4 disaster.
Carlos Carrasco was ineffective once again. In 3.1 innings of work he coughed up seven runs, six of which were earned, on 10 hits and a walk. Even worse, Carrasco allowed back-to-back home runs to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder for the first three runs of the game. Why again do the Indians continue to pitch to Cabrera?
The Indians threatened to get back in the game in the bottom of the third. After breezing through the first two innings unscathed, Tiger starter Anibal Sanchez gave up three straight hits to Lonnie Chisenhall, Drew Stubbs, and Michael Bourn to put the Indians on the board. Unfortunately, after Chisenhall score to make it 4-1, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, and Nick Swisher were retired to end the inning and the threat.
Meanwhile, the Tigers didn’t waste any time getting that run back and then some. In the fourth, After the first two batters reached base, Ramon Santiago attempted to sacrifice bunt. On the play, Carrasco made an ill-advised throw to try and get Andy Dirks at third. Instead the throw was wide of the bag and caromed into left field scoring Dirks and advancing Alex Aviles and Santiago. Austin Jackson hit a sac fly, and Torii Hunter doubled to make it a 7-1 affair. Two innings later Hunter struck again when he hit a two-run home run off of Matt Albers to put the Tigers up 9-1. Hunter would end up a single short of the cycle.
There was plenty of time left for the Indians to make a comeback, but even as the Fangraphs chart below would suggest, this was not a likely scenario to play out. Nick Swisher homered in the bottom of the sixth to make it 9-2 and Ryan Raburn homered in the bottom of the ninth to make it 9-4, but it was all for naught. The Tigers were just too much once again for the Indians.
The Indians have two more chances to figure things out and somehow salvage a split of the series. Corey Kluber will take the mound for the Tribe today against Tigers starter Doug Fister. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05.
The Good: Lonnie Chisenhall went 2 for 3 on the day. It’s beginning to look as if the adjustments Chisenhall made down in Columbus are translating well to the big leagues. He’s shown more success at the plate and he even drew a walk. Other than that there wasn’t much good about yesterday’s game.
The Bad: Everything else. Carrasco was terrible and the offense couldn’t put anything together. Even more frustrating was the rally in the bottom of the third that never fully materialized. Runners on the corners and they couldn’t even manage a fly ball to score the run from third. What happened to the timely hitting we had seen from this team earlier in the season.
The “Huh?”: Why do the Indians keep pitching to Miguel Cabrera? It has reached a point of ridiculousness with just how much damage he has done to the Indians this year. I don’t know what can be done, but Terry Francona should consider walking him or pitching around him from here on out.