The Tribe needed a win today. Detroit clearly outplayed the Indians in the first two games of this series and looked like the superior team. More specifically, we needed Corey Kluber to give us a chance to win today. Kluber certainly did his part to achieve this today. The Tribe’s starting pitching has been rough of late. Only once over the past 10 games did a Tribe starter pitch at least 6 innings, and that was Justin Masterson’s shutout against the White Sox exactly one week ago. Thus, Kluber needed to come up big today…and he did.
Kluber was simply on top of his game. He was in rhythm from the start, despite giving up a 1st inning homer to Miguel Cabrera. Kluber struck out 10 in his 6.1 IP against Detroit’s strong offense. The only negative about his outing was that he had already made 100 pitches by the end of the 6th inning, but at least he got us through 6 innings, so I’m not really complaining.
However, I am about to complain about our bullpen…like a lot. The Tribe needs to get their bullpen figured out big time. Maybe they’re worn out since the starting pitching hasn’t been giving us much length recently, but whatever it is, the bullpen is a huge area of concern right now. The guys that have been so reliable for a couple of years now are tanking. Joe Smith has been terrible of late and Vinnie Pestano has been equally as bad if not worse. Today Smith gave up 3 hits and a walk in 0.2 IP, and Pestano gave up four hits, including a game-tying 3-run HR to Torii Hunter. Bryan Shaw hasn’t pitched well since April, and even Cody Allen, perhaps the most reliable of the bunch had allowed 4 runs in his last 4 appearances prior to today.
The Indians made a move prior to the game by bringing up Preston Guilmet and sending down Carlos Carrasco. Guilmet was having a great year at Columbus, so let’s hope he can be an asset to our bullpen. Maybe Terry Francona needs to think about putting Cody Allen in the 7th to 8th inning rotation and moving Smith or Pestano up to middle relief for the time being until they regain their form again. Other than that, our only other options are to explore trade possibilities or wait it out and hope the bullpen works their way out of this slump themselves. Whatever way you look at it, The Indians simply cannot compete with the effort the bullpen has been giving them in recent games.
Luckily, Detroit’s bullpen is pretty bad as well. Al Alburquerque gave the game right back to the Indians in 8th inning by walking Nick Swisher and allowing a game-winning 2-run HR to Michael Brantley, which capped off a huge day at the plate for Michael. I’ll give a lot of credit to the Tribe’s offense today, as they fought back after the momentum seemed to have shifted in Detroit’s favor. The Tribe managed three homers (Santana, Chisenhall, and Brantley) off of a good pitcher in Doug Fister today, so let’s definitely give the Tribe credit for battling at the plate all day.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Indians will take the win. Tomorrow the Tribe has a chance to salvage a series split tomorrow against the Tigers on Omar Vizquel bobblehead giveaway. The Tribe will be looking to hand all-star Max Scherzer his first loss of the season, as Scherzer is 13-0 this season. They have a tough task ahead of themselves, but the pitching will have to be on top of its game in order to win. Scott Kazmir needs to pitch deep into the game, and the bullpen has got to hold it together. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.