Game #106: Cleveland Indians (50-55) at Detroit Tigers (55-50)
By Mike Brandyberry
Even when the Indians receive nine shutout innings from their pitching staff, it somehow isn’t enough. The Indians were swept out of Kansas City last night, losing in 11 innings, 7-6. Corey Kluber allowed six runs in the first inning of his 2012 Indians’ debut and the Tribe battled back to tie the game, but couldn’t take the lead. The Royals finally made it a walk off win in the 11th inning, sweeping the Indians and dealing them their sixth straight loss.
What a different a week makes for the Indians.
When last the Tribe and Tigers matched up, the Indians looked to have won their game of the year, possibly the game that would springboard them to new heights. The Tribe trailed, 3-1 in the bottom of seventh inning before posting four runs on Justin Verlander, taking a 5-3 lead and eventual win. The victory had the Indians three games out of first place in the division and in wild card race. Seven days later, six straight losses and a trade deadline that provided no help has now left the Indians 7.5 games out of first place and five games under .500.
Tonight, the Indians head to the Motor City on the third and final leg of their nine game road trip, still looking for their first win. They’ll send Justin Masterson (7-9, 4.47 ERA) to the mound to try and snap the streak and continue their dominance of the Tigers this season. Masterson was the center of trade discussions at the beginning of the week, but will now look to find consistency in his season and as the Tribe ace. He allowed a career high 10 runs in five and two-third innings last Saturday evening at Minnesota.
Detroit will send Anibal Sanchez (0-1, 7.50 ERA) to the hill in only his second start as a Tiger. Sanchez was acquired with Omar Infante from the Miami Marlins on July 23. He allowed five runs, and three home runs, in six innings of work in his Tiger debut against the Blue Jays on Saturday. He may benefit from the deep fences and spaciousness of Comerica Park and his Tiger home debut.
This afternoon the Indians recalled Ezequiel Carrera from Triple-A Columbus. Johnny Damon was designated for assignment to make room for Carrera on the 25-man roster. Carrera was hitting .294, with 65 runs scored and 26 stolen bases with the Clippers. He leaves a 20-game hitting streak in Columbus, where he was hitting .440 since the All-Star break. He was named the Indians’ Minor League Player of the Week this week.
Indians manager Manny Acta has shaken up the lineup this evening, hitting Jason Kipnis leadoff and Shin-Soo Choo in the third position. Choo opened the season as the team’s third hitter but was moved to the top spot when he slumped in early May. Choo can better help produce runs from the middle of the order, while Kipnis could use the same spark the leadoff role did for Choo a couple months ago.
With Damon gone, it will be interesting to see how the outfield time and alignment is constructed. Carrera is primarily a centerfielder and in spring training Acta said he was the only player who could move Michael Brantley to left. Tonight, Carrera is in the lineup playing left field. Damon’s removal from the 40-man roster opens a spot for a starting pitcher to be added to start on Sunday, if the Tribe chooses to promote someone needing added.
Game time slated from the Motor City for 7:05 pm and can be heard on WTAM-1100 AM, WMMS-100.7 FM and the entire Indians Radio Network. The Indians can be seen on television on SportsTime Ohio.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Jose Lopez, DH
7. Casey Kotchman, 1B
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Ezequiel Carrera, LF
Detroit Tigers Starting Lineup
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Quintin Berry, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Brennan Boesch, DH
6. Andy Dirks, RF
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Ramon Santiago, SS
9. Omar Infante, 2B
Photo: AP Photo/Paul Battaglia