It all started so wonderfully. In the end, though, the Indians were forced to settle for a disappointing split of the weather-shortened series after Danny Salazar (4.2 INN/6 H/5 R/3 SO/3 BB) melted down in the fifth inning.
It certainly didn’t look like it would go this way early on. Indians were patiently waiting out Justin Verlander (5 INN/6 H/3 UER/7 SO/4 BB). They were making him work and were doing a great job of laying off his knee-buckling stuff. For the most part, he looked uncharacteristically average. After five innings, the Tribe had ended his day. King Danny was cruising. Things were going so, so, well.
That was until the bottom of the fifth inning.
Whether it was mechanical or between the ears, Salazar inexplicably started nibbling. It’s a bad idea to walk guys like Alex Avila who is an all-or-nothing type of “hitter” whose job is solely to handle the pitching staff. Whatever happens with the bat is a bonus for the Tigers.
It’s a really bad idea to then miss on four straight to the next guy, Alex Gonzalez. Salazar struck both of these guys out easily the first time around. He just lost it for whatever reason. Two batters later, Ian Kinsler gave the Tigers the lead for good with a crippling three-run shot.
For the “KILL THE WIN!!!!” crowd, Verlander got the win.
Michael Brantley had a great day by driving in four, including a two-run shot off of Tigers lefty Ian Krol. And Lonnie Chisenhall is continuing to make it hard for me to say bad things about him. He went 4-for-4 today.
But both Swisher and Santana continued their April swoons. Both guys had chances to drive some crucial runs in, but alas…
All in all, a learning experience and a missed opportunity to make an early statement against the Tigers.
And score one for Blue, since we all watch for the umpires: Kipnis got run early for arguing balls and strikes. It was his first ejection. Bobby Cox is feeling nervous.
W: Justin Verlander (2-1); L: Danny Salazar (0-2); S: Joe Nathan (2)