It’s been a roller coaster ride of a season for the 2013 Cleveland Indians, but after a crushing 10-5 loss Saturday night in Detroit to the Tigers, it’s fair to wonder if the ride to the playoffs is slowing down and out of gas.
You could say the playoff hopes are on life support. Or the team’s backs are against the wall.
All of these lazy anaolgies apply, and it’s uncertain if the Tribe has enough time left in the season to undo the damage of this seven game road trip. Enterting tomorrow’s finale, the Indians will have gone 0-6 against Detroit and the Atlanta Braves, two excellent teams, both en route to postseason berths.
Give the Indians some credit though, the team tried to make it interesting, and didn’t waste any time. Centerfielder Michael Bourn walked to lead off the game, advanced to second on a Jason Kipnis groundout, and then scored when first baseman Carlos Santana singled to center.
Indians starter Scott Kazmir danced around danger in the bottom of the first, but the Tigers offense caught up to him in the second. Victor Martinez led off the inning with a single, and Matt Tuiasosopo walked to bring up second baseman Omar Infante.
Infante crushed an 0-2 offering from Kazmir to deep left, and the Tigers led 3-1. Kazmir struck out catcher Brayan Pena and then gave up back-to-back singles to Ramon Santiago and Austin Jackson. After Kazmir struck out Jose Iglesias, Torii Hunter singled to center to give Detroit a 4-1 lead it would never relinquish.
The Indians would tack on another run in the fifth on a Bourn single to right, but Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez struck out Nick Swisher with runners on second and first to end the threat. Sanchez struck out five and allowed three earned runs in 6.2 IP.
Bryan Shaw relieved Kazmir and proceded to walk pinch-hitter Andy Dirks, who replaced Tuiasosopo. Infante delivered for the Tigers again, with another home run to left field to make the score 6-2 for Detroit. Indians left fielder Michael Brantley made a leaping attempt at the ball, and replays appeared to show the ball bounce off his glove and over the wall.
The Tribe tried to keep it close, adding a run in the seventh off Yan Gomes‘s ninth home run and two in the eighth, courtesty of Santana’s 17th home run of the season, making the score 6-5. Santana’s home run never left the park – Jackson misjudged his space and crashed into the centerfield wall. Jackson appeared to injure his wrist on the play but after a short delay he remained in the game.
But the Tigers would erase all doubt in the bottom of the eighth, after a quick out by Matt Albers, Pena singled to right and Santiago singled to center. Cody Allen replaced Albers, but Jackson tripled to left to score both. He would come around to score on a sacrifice bunt by Iglesias. It was a tough-luck play for the Tribe, who had a pitch-out on the play, and Allen’s throw to the plate was just a tad late to catch Jackson. Prince Fielder would double to right to score Iglesias for the final score of 10-5.
The good: The five runs the Tribe scored tonight equaled the team’s total runs scored for the previous five games in the roadtrip. Wait. This is the good section. Umm… Detroit waited until the eighth to put the game out of reach. Wait. Crap. (Editor’s Note: Ed is incapable of finding joy in anything, hence the pessimism).
The bad: Barring a dramatic turnaround, the Tribe can probably look at this trip as the Bane backbreaker, with nothing going right for the team. Kazmir’s yo-yo season continues, with a subpar performance after a nice outing last Sunday against the Twins.
The Huh: The Tigers scored 10 runs with Miguel Cabrera on the bench (abdominal irritation).