Victor Takes Advantage of House in Bad Spot; Tigers 4, Indians 1

Did the Tribe Win Last Night? Nope. After the Indians tallied 13 runs on Friday night, Trevor Bauer ate something that made them just as contagious for him. After trying to give it a go, he had to be scratched prior to game time and T.J. House was a last minute replacement.

House struggled early, allowing a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning and another in the third. The soft-tossing, left-hander only survived three innings despite having not pitched since last Sunday. The Tribe’s bullpen only allowed one run over the final five innings, but Alfredo Simon shut the Indians’ offense down. After banging out 15 hits on Friday evening, Simon allowed just six over 6.2 innings and the Tigers snapped their four game losing streak, beating the Tribe 4-1.

WP: Simon (4-0)       LP: House (0-3)         SV: Soria (6)

Key Inning: Bottom of the first inning. With short notice and preparation, House took the mound against a Tigers lineup that knocked him around the park 13 days ago. He allowed two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but it could have been much worse.

Rajai Davis started the inning with an infield single and Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera each walked to load the bases. House seemed afraid to challenge hitters early, even when getting ahead in the count. With the bases loaded and no one out, Victor Martinez singled to right field plating Davis and Kinsler to make it 2-0, Detroit. Just as it looked like the game could get out of hand early, J.D. Martinez hit into a 5-4-3 double play and Yoenis Cespedes flied out to right field to end the inning.

House may have had short notice to prepare, but his inability to challenge hitters and hit spots created the inning. He was lucky to escape allowing just the pair of runs. The 2-0 lead, however, was enough to give the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.

Player of the Game: Victor Martinez. The former Tribesmen punished the Indians for what seemed like the one-millionth time on Saturday afternoon. After driving in the first two runs of the game, he added another in the bottom of the third inning when he singled to center field to bring Davis home again and make it a 3-1 game. The run batted in, was a response run from an RBI by Michael Brantley in the top half of the inning. Brantley was 4-for-4, registering seven hits in the last two games.

Martinez has been suffering from soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee. It doesn’t hurt when he hits right-handed and he had that advantage against the southpaw, House. Martinez was 2-for-4, with three runs driven in, but he did all his damage for the day against House. He was shut down by Zach McAllister and Anthony Swarzak.

They Said It: “How come Justin Verlander never gets food poisoning?” Tom Hamilton asked during the first inning.

Standings: Cleveland falls to 6-10 on the season and is six games back of first place Kansas City, while Detroit improves to 12-6 and trails the Royals by just a game.

Etc.: After three poor starts—albeit one on short notice—time has to be running out for House. A year ago, he was a crafty lefty, getting ground balls and keeping lineups off balance for two solid trips through the batting order before running out of gas on the third trip. This year, he isn’t fooling anyone out of the gate. Teams know what House has and are attacking him early. There is a fine line between being a soft-tossing lefty that hits spots and a 4-A pitcher. Right now, House is struggling and he could be headed to Triple-A Columbus soon if he doesn’t rebound quickly. The best thing for House, and worst for the Indians, is that a good replacement for him doesn’t really exist at Columbus. The Indians’ depth of starting pitching has been exasperated in less than a month of big league games.

Analysis: Friday and Saturday’s games is a fine example of how statistics will make the Indians’ offense look good at the end of the year. For the last two seasons the organization has touted an average batting average or its place in the American League in runs scored, but the team lacks consistency. Cleveland’s score 14 runs in it’s last two games, but scoring 13 in one game and one in the next is certainly not the same as scoring seven in each contest.

Cleveland scored three runs or less in 81 of 162 games in 2014, and are now eight of 16 in the same category after today’s contest.

Up Next: Cleveland will try to score enough runs to give Carlos Carrasco (2-1, 2.38) a chance to win and the Indians the chance to win the three game series on Sunday. Detroit will send their own left-hander, Kyle Lobstein (1-1, 3.27) to the mound as they look for the same series victory.

Photo: Carlos Osorio/AP Photo

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