Bullpen Blows Up; White Sox 8, Indians 1
By Craig Gifford
The Detroit Tigers spent the past week laying a beatdown on the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians. In the process Detroit all but clinched the AL Central Division crown, rendering this weekend’s four-game series, which began Thursday night, between Chicago and Cleveland a battle for pride and second place.
After squandering a chance to get back in the chase for first, getting swept by the Tigers Monday through Wednesday, the Indians got off on the wrong foot in Chicago Thursday, losing 8-1 and falling 1.5 games behind the second-place Sox. They are now 10 behind the Tigers, who at this point would have to have one of the greatest collapses of all time to not reach the postseason.
Cleveland’s Thursday night started well enough in Chicago. With two outs in the first, Asdrubal Cabrera got a single and stole second base. He scored on a Jim Thome single. However, that would be all the production the Tribe’s offense would muster. Thome and Cabrera had a pair of hits each, while three other batters had one hit. That included a single from rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis in his second game back from injury.
Up until the seventh inning the lone run was enough to make the game interesting. Starting pitcher David Huff yielded a run in the third, tying the game. It remained 1-1 until Huff got in trouble in the seventh. He left the game with two on and one out in the frame.
A usually strong bullpen faltered from there, as two of the Tribe’s lesser used relievers struggled. Frank Herrmann came on and gave up a three-run home run to Brent Morel. It was Morel’s second blast of the game.
Herrmann put two more runners on before giving way to rookie Josh Judy who loaded the bases and then gave up the biggest blow of the night. Long-time Indians nemesis Paul Konerko delivered a back-breaking grand slam to close the game’s scoring.
The Indians, after dropping to 70-71, will look to get back to .500 and within a half-game of Chicago when the teams resume their series tonight. Jeanmar Gomez will take the mound against White Sox ace Mark Buehrle. Game time is set for 8:10.
Photo: David Banks/Getty Images