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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | December 18, 2018

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Game #99: Detroit Tigers (53-45) at Cleveland Indians (49-49)

By Mike Brandyberry

Last night the Indians fell behind early, allowing three runs in the first two innings, and could never catch up, losing to the Tigers 5-3. Derek Lowe had another shaky outing and Asdrubal Cabrera made two errors in the second inning to open the door for the Motor City Kitties. The anemic Indians offense could not scratch back into the game, the closest was when Casey Kotchman hit a two-run homer to cut the deficit to a run.

The loss drops the Indians back to four games behind the Tigers and Chicago White Sox who are tied atop the American League Central Division. Cleveland is also four and a half games behind the final wild card spot, but also has four teams in front of them. This series, and now tonight’s game, remains a very pivotal series for the Indians to make ground in the standings before the trade deadline so that they can decide if they are buyers or sellers before Tuesday.

With the Indians desperate for a victory tonight, they stare down the barrel of the Tigers’ starting pitcher, Justin Verlander (11-5, 2.42 ERA). Verlander, the reigning Cy Young and American League Most Valuable Player, is having another great season. He was the American League starter in the All-Star Game and a contender again for the Cy Young award. Verlander pitched eight innings, allowing only two runs on four hits last Friday evening while defeating the White Sox. The Indians did defeat Verlander on May 24 by a score of 2-1. The Wahoo Warriors will have to find away to upset Verlander again if they intend to not lose ground on the Tigers and first place in the division.

Cleveland will counter with the young Zach McAllister (4-2, 3.21 ERA). The 24-year old, tall, right-hander has emerged as a surprise and spark to the Tribe rotation in 2012. McAllister shined while filling in for Josh Tomlin in late April and has taken hold of a spot in the rotation since replacing Jeanmar Gomez a month ago. McAllister suffered a tough 3-1 defeat in his last start against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday. He threw shutout baseball until Jim Thome hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Orioles the lead. He’ll need the same type of effort tonight to give the Indians a chance against the vaunted Detroit lineup.

Roberto Hernandez will make his first rehabilitation start this evening in Lake County. Hernandez is currently suspended for three weeks for falsifying his identity with the United States government. He is expected to throw four to five innings and not exceed 75 pitches at the Low-A level tonight. The Indians intend for Hernandez to make starts every fifth day in the minor leagues until he is eligible to pitch in the big leagues on August 11.

The Tribe will fight for their postseason lives tonight beginning at 7:05 pm at Progressive Field. The game can be seen on WKYC-3 and SportsTime Ohio and heard on WTAM-1100 and the Indians Radio Network. The weather is very hot and thunderstorms are in the forecast that could affect the start time of the game.

Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Michael Brantley, CF
5. Carlos Santana, C
6. Travis Hafner, DH
7. Jose Lopez, 3B
8. Casey Kotchman, 1B
9. Shelley Duncan, LF

Detroit Tigers Starting Lineup
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Quintin Berry, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Brennan Boesch, RF
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Ramon Santiago, SS
9. Omar Infante, 2B

Photo: AP Photo/Mark Duncan

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