Josh Tomlin surrendered three home runs tonight – a two-run shot by Austin Jackson, and back-to-back solo shots by Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta. These three homers brought Tomlin’s season total to 23; the second most allowed in the American League (only Colby Lewis of Texas has allowed more). In fact, Tomlin was lights-out until the bottom of the 6th inning; the three home runs constituted all of the Tigers’ runs tonight.
Like I’ve said many times this season though, the Indians can’t expect to win when they only score one run. That run was somewhat of a gift as well; Lonnie Chisenhall took strike three with a 2-2 count (and two outs); home plate umpire Joe West called the pitch a ball and Chisenhall eventually made it on base. A wild pitch by Max Scherzer allowed Carlos Santana to score from third, but the inning would have been over with the correct strike call. After the week the Indians had with umpires, it was nice to see a mistake go in their favor at least. For the most part though, the Indians yet again looked completely baffled by Scherzer – he gave them fits back on June 16 as well.
Travis Hafner looked pretty bad tonight as he went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. In the first inning he struck out looking (it seems like he’s been doing that a lot lately) with Shin-Soo Choo stranded at third. In the 6th inning, he stranded Choo at second when he grounded out to second. If he’s able to come through in those situations, it would’ve given the Tribe two big runs.
Jason Kipnis was placed on the DL due to his hamstring strain; the move was retroactive so he’s eligible to come off as soon as August 29. In his place, Luis Valbuena was called back to the Majors. Even though Valbuena’s put up great numbers at Triple-A Columbus this year (.299 average, .372 OBP, .482 slugging with 16 home runs and 71 RBI in 371 at-bats), he’s been absolutely dreadful in Cleveland; that trend continued this evening. His season numbers at the Majors – .120 average, .120 OBP, .120 slugging with 0 home runs and 0 RBI in 25 at-bats. Granted, he just may need to see more consistent at-bats; unfortunately it seems like Valbuena continually excels at the Triple-A level and can’t transfer that success to the Majors.
So the Tribe loses the first game in the series to Detroit and drops back to 2.5 games back. When they lost game one in Chicago, they were able to turn it around and win the next two to take the series; let’s hope they’re able to do the same in Motown.