Second Thoughts: Game #145 Tigers 4, Indians 0
|W: J. Verlander (14-8) L: C. Kluber (1-4)
Player of the Game: Justin Verlander (7 innings 6 hits 0 ER 1 BB 6 SO)
What a difference 50 days makes. It was just seven weeks ago on July 26 that the Indians last faced Justin Verlander in what was their biggest victory of the season. The win pushed the Tribe to just 3.5 games out of first place and both teams seemed to be setting up for an exciting final two month stretch of the season.
Well, even Kim Kardashian’s marriage lasted longer than the Indians this season, and last night Verlander got some payback. The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner picked up his 14th victory of the season, shutting out the Tribe, 4-0.
Tribe starter Corey Kluber settled in after a rough first two innings where he gave up all four of Detroit's runs and six of the Tigers' eight hits over the first two frames. The Indians right-hander dropped to 1-4 on the year and Cleveland now sits a season-high 25 games below the .500 mark.
The Bottom 9.
- Shutout by Detroit. No runs on just six hits were all the Indians offense could bring with them to the ballpark on Friday. The only Tribe player with more than one hit on the night was third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall.
- Verlander dominates. Any Tribe fan could have told you Cleveland would struggle against Verlander. Even though the Indians defeated the Tigers ace twice this season, there is no question that was a different team earlier this year. The Detroit right-hander went seven shutout innings, walking one and striking out six.
- Hitless with RISP. Just like they did in the final box score, the Indians would lay another goose egg in the clutch hit department last night, going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The team had chances to score with two runners on and less than two outs in both the fifth and sixth innings, all of which went for null. Detroit’s offense with RISP last night? Try 5-for-8. That’s the difference between being cellar dwellers by August and still vying for a playoff spot in September.
- Kluber first inning woes continue. What is it about Corey Kluber and the first inning? Giving up two runs in the first inning on Friday, it marked the sixth time in nine starts that the Tribe right-hander has given up at least one first inning run. Last night Kluber gave up two runs in the first frame, coming with two outs as the Tigers collected four consecutive hits to take the lead in the ballgame for good.
- Not getting the leadoff man on base. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Indians would get their leadoff man on to start an inning. In fact, the Tribe would do it just twice over the entire game.
- No leftover momentum. Even after scoring three runs in the ninth inning on Thursday night to shock and steal a win from the Texas Rangers, there was no leftover momentum for the Indians to build off of yesterday. That’s what Verlander can do to you.
- Cabrera and Brantley still not back. The injury bug continues to frustrate the Indians as both Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley were out of the lineup again on Friday night. It was the sixth consecutive game Cabrera has missed with a sprained right wrist and the third game Brantley has missed with a strained left pectoral muscle. Both players could be back by the end of the weekend.
- Canzler struggling. After starting his big league career with a seven-game hitting streak and a .400 batting average, Russ Canzler is in a slump. Over his last seven games, the Tribe left fielder is hitting just .136 (3-for-22) with two RBI.
- Record since July 26. Since the Indians defeated Verlander on July 26, Cleveland has lost 36 of their last 46 games for a record of 10-36. Wow. Well, we can only go up from here right?
The Top Moment
- La-Port to where? Don’t look now folks, but with another hit in last night’s ballgame, Matt LaPorta extended his hitting streak to a season high four-games on the season. LaPorta is hitting .429 (6-for-14) with three RBI over his last four games.
With both the Tribe and Minnesota Twins losers Friday night, Cleveland (60-85) remains tied with their division rivals for last place in the American League Central. The Indians need just three more victories on the year to avoid losing 100 games in a season for the first time since 1991.
Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and avoid losing seven of their last eight ballgames on Saturday, as it will be Justin Masterson (11-13, 4.96 ERA) against Anibal Sanchez (7-12, 4.07 ERA) at 4:05 p.m. Masterson was victorious the last time he faced the Tigers back on Sept. 4, as the Indians right-hander gave up just two earned runs on four hits over a solid six innings for his 11th win of the season. Sanchez is just 2-5 with a 4.40 ERA in eight starts since coming over to the AL in the Omar Infante trade. In three starts against the Tribe this season, Sanchez is 1-1 with a 1.42 ERA.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.