Wouldn’t you know, the Indians finally have their first non-Opening Day sellout crowd since July 4, 2011, and they lay an egg. Friday night’s game was the first of a four-game series against the first-place Tigers and the Tribe’s best opportunity to start erasing the 1.5 games that separate us. Alas, it was not to be. Not tonight anyway.
On the plus side, the Tigers went down 1-2-3 in five innings. Unfortunately, when they weren’t going down in order, they were hitting the snot out of the ball. Indians ace Justin Masterson, he of the 10-6 record and 3.48 ERA, started the game against Rick Porcello, who was 4-6 with a 5.21 ERA going into tonight’s game. Looking at Masterson’s and Porcello’s respective records, one might have thought the game would be a cake walk. Except that the Tigers are hitting .231 against Masterson, while the current Indians’ lineup is hitting .167 against Porcello.
Masterson went 4.2 innings and gave up 6 earned runs and 4 walks with a respectable 6 strikeouts. When you consider he’s only given 45 walks total all season (including tonight), it’s clear Masterson wasn’t quite on his game tonight. Sadly, Rick Porcello was. He pitched 7 shutout innings against the Indians. It’s our own fault–we got six hits and were 0-5 with runners in scoring position. We were outhit, plain and simple. Detroit wins the first game of the series 7-0 and gains a full game on us in the standings. We’re now 2.5 games back.
Here’s the thing: Even though we lost this game, it doesn’t mean people should stay away from the ballpark. It doesn’t mean the Tribe is going to tank after the All-Star game. It doesn’t mean Masterson still isn’t having a really fine season.It doesn’t mean he won’t come back and win a bunch more games. It just means it didn’t happen tonight.