The last time the Indians faced Justin Verlander of the Tigers, the Indians were . . . well, they weren’t riding high, exactly, but neither did they have anything to be ashamed about. That game took place on July 26, and the Indians beat the Tigers at Progressive Field that night, largely because they got to Verlander for four runs in the seventh inning. Back-to-back homers by Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner (you remember Travis Hafner, right) tied the game, and four more Indians reached base that inning on singles and a Detroit error. Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez did what they get paid to do, and that night the Indians won the most exciting game played at Progressive Field this season, 5 to 3. At the time, the Indians were very much in the hunt for the AL Central division title.
Immediately after that win, the Indians embarked on a nine-game road trip and lost every game. They also lost whatever hopes they had to contend in 2012. The Indians have faced the Tigers since that July 26 game, but they haven’t had to face Verlander again until tonight. They weren’t even supposed to face him tonight, either, as he was supposed to have pitched against the White Sox on Thursday, but that game got rained out.
This time Verlander was in total command from the start. Having been given a 2-0 lead before he took the mound, thanks to the Tigers getting four hits and two runs off Tribe starter Corey Kluber in the top of the first inning, Verlander made quick work of the Indians batters tonight. He pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits and walking only one batter en route to his 14th win of the season. Kluber allowed two more runs in the second, and that was all the scoring that took place in the game, as the Tigers won, 4-0.
The Indians are now 60-85 on the season. Ten of those losses were shutouts. The Indians have scored 2 or fewer runs in 49 of their games this season. Teams who do that get to watch the leaves turn in October, and their players get to pick out pumpkins for their kids as Halloween approaches, because they sure as shootin’ don’t get to take part in any postseason games.