The Indians’ Saturday night game against the Tigers was a bit of old home week, as former Tribe shortstop Omar Vizquel became the 40th player inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame. Vizquel, he of the 24-year MLB career and hero of middle-aged-Gen-Xers everywhere, spent 11 years in Cleveland. Along the way, he earned 11 Gold Gloves and was selected as an All-Star 3 times. Former Indians broadcaster Jimmy Dudley was posthumously inducted into the Indians Distinguished Hall of Fame for
non-uniformed personnel. Dudley called Indians games from 1948-67 on WJW and WERE and is a member of the broadcasters’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It was great to see a sell-out crowd at Progressive Field for the nationally televised game. As part of the pre-game ceremony, Vizquel was joined by six Indians Hall of Famers–Sandy Alomar Jr., Carlos Baerga, Mike Hargrove, Kenny Lofton, Charles Nagy, and Andre Thornton. Not bad company.
Now about that disappointing game.
- After Nick Swisher’s walk-off grand slam on Thursday, Dennis Manoloff stated that he’s the most dangerous .200 hitter on the planet. Swisher did his job, putting the Indians on the board in the 2nd with an RBI single that scored Yan Gomes.
- Justin Verlander pretending to kick Asdrubal Cabrera’s bunt over the foul line was oddly endearing. As much as one can find a member of the opposing team endearing.
- Carlos Santana hit a solo home run in the 4th, giving him 10 for the year and dingers on two consecutive nights. The last time an Indians player homered in two consecutive games was Asdrubal Cabrera, June 4-6. Santana is apparently the most dangerous .196 hitter on the planet.
- David Murphy’s over-the-shoulder catch of Nick Castellanos’ fly ball to deep right deserves a mention. The Tigers had already scored one run that inning to tie things up 2-2; they didn’t need the opportunity to score another one.
- In the top of the 7th, Bauer gave up a solo home run to Rajai Davis, followed immediately by a homer to Ian Kinsler, putting the Tigers ahead 4-2. Kinsler’s home run was disputed by Terry Francona because it appeared a fan had interfered with the ball before it hit the railing. The umpires reviewed it and let it stand. Francona didn’t formally challenge the ruling, although he’s won 5 of 14 challenges. Whoever you were out there in left-center, please leave the ball alone until it lands.
- Bauer went 6.1 innings, giving up 8 hits (3 of them home runs), 4 earned runs, 2 walks, and striking out 5. He’s done worse, he’s done better. Verlander allowed only 2 earned runs and a walk and struck out 8. Ryan asked the other day if Verlander was finished. Perhaps not. The Indians hit a lot of long fly balls off of him tonight. Sadly, only Carlos Santana’s home run was long enough.
- The Indians scored a run in the 8th on an Asdrubal Cabrera double that scored Michael Bourn, making the score 4-3. As always, my pleasure with Cabrera didn’t last long. In the bottom of the 9th, the Indians had managed to tie the score, thanks in large part to tremendous at-bats by David Murphy and Yan Gomes. Both hitters worked Detroit reliever Joe Nathan to full counts. Since Nathan started the inning by striking out Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Swisher, he was clearly throwing far more pitches than he thought he’d need to. He’d thrown 30+ pitches in the inning and you could see he was starting to get a little tired. With the score tied in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, Asdrubal Cabrera comes to bat and swings at the first flipping pitch. He grounded out, sending the game into extra innings. Now he may well have ended up getting out regardless, but he should have waited.
- In the 10th inning, the Tigers did what you’re supposed to do in extra innings. They scored a run. Ian Kinsler hit a single. Austin Jackson laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. And Miguel Cabrera hit a double to bring him home. The score was 5-4 going into the Indians’ half of the 10th and that’s where it stayed. Detroit reliever Phil Coke struck out three of the four batters he faced (Carlos Santana singled), and that was all Detroit needed to put a lousy ending what started out as a great night.