Did the Tribe Win Last Night? No! Detroit picked up right where they left off Saturday night. Sunday afternoon the Tigers posted three runs in the first inning and three more in the second inning to chase T.J. House out of the game after just four recorded outs. It was all the Tigers needed to coast to a 8-5 victory and a three game sweep of the Indians in their season series opener.
Cleveland seemed to always be one hit away from climbing back into the game early against Tigers’ southpaw Kyle Lobstein. After Michael Bourn started the bottom of the first with a single, Carlos Santana drove him home, but could only plate the lone run. Again the Tribe had a chance with a pair of runners on in the second inning, but could not score and in the third, when Ryan Raburn singled home a pair to cut the score to 6-3, Miguel Cabrera started the top of the fourth with a leadoff home run to deflate momentum and make it 7-3. Lobstein scattered eight hits over five innings to earn the win, while House only lasted one and two-third innings for the loss.
After trailing much of the game 7-3, the Indians were able to string together a couple runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but could not crawl any closer. Brandon Moss walked and Raburn doubled before Lonnie Chisenhall grounded out and Roberto Perez hit a sacrifice fly to center field to cut it to 7-5, but the Tribe didn’t have anything left for the ninth inning.
Detroit continues their dominance against the Indians. Since the start of 2013, Detroit is 29-12 against Cleveland and 18-5 inside Progressive Field.
WP: Lobstein (1-0) LP: House (0-1) SV: Soria (2)
Key Inning: Top of the first inning. After having not pitched in seven days, House struggled to find his command immediately and the Tigers’ vaunted hitters took advantage quickly.
Rajai Davis walked to start the game before moving to second base on Ian Kinsler’s single. Davis scored easily when he tried to steal third base and Perez threw the ball down the left field line. It made little difference, however, because he would have come home any way. Cabrera hit a two run home run into the left field bleachers to make it 3-0 before the Indians ever reached the plate.
House had little command or control of his pitches and already trailing by three runs, just three hitters in, the game had a feel of “here we go again,” very quickly. Even when the Indians answered back with a run in the bottom half of the inning, it felt as if the Indians were never in the game. After House faltered in the second inning, the game was over quickly.
Player of the Game: Cabrera remained hot, registering four more hits, including two home runs as he continues to punish Indians pitching. The Indians either respected Cabrera, or admitted they have no answer for him, in the eighth inning when they intentionally walked him with a runner on first base.
Cabrera was 11-for-14, with three home runs and six runs batted in for the three game series. Cabrera now has 37 home runs in 136 career games against the Indians.
They Said It: “He’s that good of a hitter, and when he’s feeling that good at the plate, it’s a bad feeling (for the Indians).” Terry Francona on Cabrera.
Standings: The Indians are now 2-4 after their first week of play and four games behind the 6-0 Tigers. The Tribe’s inability to beat the Tigers continues to hamper their pursuit to compete in the American League Central Division. Despite just completing the first week of the season, the Indians are already four games back in the standings.
Etc.: Michael Brantley missed his second straight game and fourth in five games. He’s expected to be ready for Tuesday game. Jerry Sands again replaced Brantley in left field, but only went 1-for-5 after his big Saturday evening.
Yan Gomes was placed on the 15-day disabled list before the game. During the game the Indians announced he suffered a sprained MCL in his collision at the plate in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday. The injury will sideline him 6-8 weeks, likely sidelining him until at least Memorial Day. Catcher Brett Hayes is expected to have his contract purchased before Tuesday’s game.
Shaun Marcum made his first big league appearance in two years, tossing five innings, allowing just one run and walking three while striking out four. In a weekend full of bad news, Marcum’s outing may be some of the only good news for the Tribe.
Analysis: Known as a defensive catcher, Perez had three bases stolen off of him early by Detroit. Perez will likely see the majority of the time behind the plate while Gomes is sidelined and do not be surprised to see him challenged. Big league teams like to test young, unproven players. Don’t be surprised to see teams take more chances on the bases against Perez until he proves he can control the running game.
Marcum’s solid outing will no doubt garner him more opportunities. The Indians don’t need a fifth starter until April 22, so there is no rush to judge. Zach McAllister is also expected to be available in the bullpen beginning on Tuesday. In the short term, the bullpen will be deep, but Marcum, McAllister and House could all be competing for the final two rotation spots for the next couple weeks.
Up Next: Cleveland is off Monday—and they need it. Another day of rest for Brantley and the abused bullpen is just what the Tribe needs. The Indians will resume action on Tuesday evening against the Chicago White Sox. Carlos Carrasco (1-0, 0.00) will try to pick up from where he left off in his first start against Houston against another left-hander, Jose Quintana (0-0, 9.00). The game is slated to begin at 7:10 p.m. from Progressive Field.
Photo: Mark Duncan/AP Photo