Series Result: Tribe drops another series to the “rival” Detroit Tigers, losing the series 2-1.
Game 1: Cleveland 13, Detroit 1
Game 2: Detroit 4, Cleveland 1
Game 3: Detroit 8, Cleveland 6
Sure, Brandon Moss could have easily taken this award, but he missed the opportunity with his game two performance. Meanwhile, Brantley seems to have put his back issues behind him. Dr. Smooth went 8-for-13, with 3 runs and 2 RBI in the series.
The former Indians lead off man (he was moved into the 9-hole in the series finale) went 0-for-12 in the series with 4 strikeouts. Is he the 2015 version of 2014 Nick Swisher? Bourn is being paid $13.5 million to hit .169.
Game 1: Like a Moss, Indians explode for 13 runs
Coming off a series loss to the White Sox, along with a 6-0 shutout loss, the Indians had a day off on Thursday to hit the reset button. Tribe fans were expecting much with a series against the Tigers looming, but all worry was put to rest, at least for one game. Brandon Moss powered the Tribe with 2 home runs and 7 RBI in the game, while Danny Salazar pitched to his mega-potential, going 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits, as he struck out a career-high 11 batters.
The game started off just like any other; Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis grounded out to start the game. Michael Brantley started to look like Dr. Smooth in this game, as he singled, followed by a Carlos Santana walk. With two-on and two-out, Brandon Moss lined a gap-shot to centerfield, scoring both Brantley and Santana, giving the Tribe a surprising 2-0 lead in the first inning. After a Jose Ramirez sac-fly in the second inning, Nick Castellanos provided the only blemish on Salazar’s line as he blasted a solo shot to centerfield, making it a 3-1 Indians lead.
The score would stay at 3-1 until the fifth inning. A Jose Ramirez single, a Michael Bourn walk, and a Jason Kipnis single loaded the bases for Michael Brantley. Brantley swung at the first pitch, lacing it into rightfield, driving in a run. Carlos Santana followed with a RBI double that scored two runs. Brandon Moss stepped into the box next, Moss smashed an absolute no-doubter into the bleachers, giving the Indians a 9-1 lead. The Indians scored 6 runs in the fifth, equaling their season high for a game in 2015.
Things would go quiet for a couple innings. Then in the eighth inning, Lonnie “Baseball” launched his first home run of the season into the right field seats, making it an 11-1 game. In the ninth, Brandon Moss punched a hole in the moon with his second home run of the day, a 2-run bomb, to make it a 13-1 game. My only concern is that the Indians used up all their runs in this game. On the bright side, Terry Francona saved the bullpen as Salazar pitched 7 innings, throwing 115 pitches. Scott Atchison and Anthony Swarzak were able to close out the game.
Game 2: Indians offense returns to to norm in 4-1 loss
“My only concern is that the Indians used up all their runs in this game.” I wrote that sentence in the previous game review. Turns out that I was right. Take out Michael Brantley, who went 4-for-4 with a RBI, and the Indians offense combined to go 4-for-28. Take away the 13 run game one performance, and the Indians have scored 45 runs in 15 games, averaging 3 runs per game.
Trevor Bauer was supposed to take the mound for the Tribe in this game, but an illness forced T.J. House (and his 14.14 ERA) into the spot start. The Indians started the game by getting Brantley and Carlos Santana on base with two outs, only to have Brandon Moss ground to end the inning. What the Indians lack in RISP, the Tigers make up for. In the bottom of the first, Rajai Davis led off with a single, Ian Kinsler walked, then Miguel Cabrera walked (probably for the best). Victor Martinez made his old team pay, singling home two runs, and giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The inning could have been a lot worse, but House was able to get J.D. Martinez to ground into a double play.
The Indians were able to respond in third. Jason Kipnis singled, then stole second base. Michael Brantley, looking fully healthy, was able to drive Kipnis in with a RBI single. The Tigers got that run back in the next frame though. Rajai Davis walked, then the Miguel Cabrera intentional walk fest began, followed by another Victor Martinez RBI single, making it 3-1 Tigers. The Tigers would get an insurance in the fourth as well, courtesy of an Ian Kinlser RBI double.
The Indians had chances in the sixth, seventh, and eighth inning to get some runs on the board, but failed to get the job done. The Indians would leave 7 men on base, and go 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Some notes from the game: Miguel Cabrera saw 23 pitches, but only needed to swing at one. He went 0-for-1 with 4 walks, including 3 intentional walks. Michael Bourn is batting .223 over his last 55 games. He is currently hitting .180 on the season, and leading off for the Indians. Is it time for a change?
Game 3: In like a lion, out like a lamb
Raise your hand if you watched this game. Okay, now put it down, because I know you were watching the Cavs game instead. While many Cleveland fans were watching what seemed like the most hard fought series sweep in NBA history, the Indians and Tigers played the rubber match of their series.
Carlos Carrasco took the mound, hoping for a better fate than T.J. House. Turns out, Carrasco would have a worse outing than his rotation mate. The Indians decided to pitch to Miguel Cabrera today, and we all realized that walking him the previous game was the correct decision. For the Tigers offense, the game started out with three straight hits, leading to an early 2-0 lead. The Indians were able to respond in the next frame, when Ryan Raburn “doubled” home Carlos Santana. I put doubled in quotes, because Raburn should have had a triple, but video replay didn’t provide enough evidence to over turn the call. Just another blow to the 2015 Cleveland Indians. CURSE YOU SPORTS ILLUSTRATED AND KELLY OLYNYK!!!!!
In a game where a run(s) was scored in every inning, of course the Tigers would extend their lead to 3-1 in the third, when a J.D. Martinez double play forced in a run. The Indians got it back in the fourth with a Brandon Moss RBI single (Moss had 9 RBI in the series), making it a 3-2 Tigers lead. It seemed like the Tigers nail shut the coffin in the fifth and sixth innings. A J.D. Martinez double and a Miguel Cabrera home run made it a 7-2 game heading into the seventh inning.
The Indians began chipping away at the lead in the seventh with a Michael Bourn RBI groundout, then in the eighth with a Carlos Santana RBI single and a Brandon Moss sac-fly. Heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Indians had cut the lead to 7-5. The “Revenge of Miggy” continued with a sac-fly to give the Tigers an insurance run, and a 8-5 lead. Miguel Cabrera would go 3-for-4 with 2 runs and 3 RBI in the game, we should have just walked him.
Leave it to the Indians to tease the fans, though. In the top of the ninth, David Murphy hit a solo home run to make it a 8-6 game. Following a Jason Kipnis walk, Mike Aviles flied out to the left fielder, I mean shortstop, Jose Iglesias, who made a Willie Mays-type play. Michael Brantley would ground out to end the game, and the Indians would fall to 6-11 on the season. But who cares? The Cavs won, Kevin Love got injured, JR Smith was ejected, and Kendrick Perkins became a hero in Cleveland. Heck, you probably won’t even read this series recap, you’d rather read about the Cavs.
Up Next: And you thought the Tigers were having a good season. The Indians return home for a three-game series against the buzz-saw that is the 12-4 Kansas City Royals, a.k.a. baseball’s version of the Bad Boy Pistons.
–Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya