Another night, another loss at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. The Indians had their chances late, but in the end the Tigers were just too much too handle. the Tigers escaped Progressive Field yet again and have left town sporting a 3.5 game lead in the division. It’s not insurmountable, but you have to feel a bit less optimistic after the way the past four days have played out.
The Tigers got going early on Monday against Indians starter Scott Kazmir. In the top of the second inning, former Indian Jhonny Peralta doubled to deep center field scoring the Tigers’ other former Indians, Victor Martinez. With a 1-0 lead and the way Max Scherzer had been pitching this season, that may have been enough for him.
However, in the bottom of the second, the Indians responded following a 20 minute rain delay. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall singled to right field. Michael Brantley and Mike Aviles both scored on the play to give the Indians a 2-1 lead, but it didn’t last for long.
In the top of the fourth, Matt Tuiasosopo homered to right off of Kazmir. The 385 ft. shot was Tuiasosopo’s fourth home run of the year and tied the game at 2-2. Things would then remain gridlocked for the next six innings.
However, before the Tigers would plate the winning runs in the top of the tenth, the Indians would get once really great chance to score in the bottom of the ninth.
Leading off the inning, Mark Reynolds singled to left and was immediately replaced by Drew Stubbs as a pinch runner. Stubbs advanced to second on a wild pitch by Tiger pitcher Drew Smyly. What happened next is sure to be a subject of great debate over the next few days.
Rather than advance Stubbs to third with a bunt, Terry Francona allowed Chisenhall to hit. It didn’t work out well. Chisenhall flew out to center. Yan Gomes followed by striking out and then Michael Bourn flied out to left. Stubbs was stranded at second base igniting a fire storm of should they or shouldn’t they debates among Tribe fans as to whether or not Chisenhall should have bunted. Of course hindsight is 20/20 so there is no telling what might have happened. One can only wonder though what might have been.
In the top of the tenth the Tigers scored their third and fourth runs when Victor Martinez doubled off the wall in center. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder both scored. Once again a former Indian came back to stick it to the city of Cleveland.
The Indians put the tying runs on base in the bottom of the tenth, but Tiger closer Joaquin Benoit was able to strike out Mike Aviles to end the threat and the game.
The Good: Scott Kazmir was solid yet again. This is the third straight start in which Kazmir has looked like he deserves to be a member of the rotation moving forward. His final line: 5.2 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 5 strikeouts and 2 walks. However, once again he stepped off of the mound without a decision.
The Bad: The overall performance of the Indians over the past four days was a total disappointment. A lot was riding on this series. It was the Indians chance to take hold of the division. Instead, they lost three of four and now find themselves 3.5 games back. It could have been worse, they could have been swept. But, losing three of four still wasn’t good.
The “Huh?”: Nick Swisher made the blooper reel last night. In the bottom of the eighth, Swisher had a swinging bunt that dribbled down the third base line. Assuming that it would stay foul, Swisher never ran to first. Problem is the ball came back fair and Brayan Pena picked up the ball and ran over to tag out a befuddled Swisher. It’s not everyday you see 2-unassisted in the score book.