After a thrilling victory and extended celebration following Monday night’s division-clinching win versus Detroit, the Cleveland Indians witnessed a Tigers team who took the field with vengeance in mind on Tuesday evening. The Motor City Kitties would face a lineup full of backup players, as Terry Francona chose to rest all of his regular starters–with the exception of Carlos Santana–following last night’s thrilling division clincher. The result was the Tigers rolling to an easy 12-0 thumping of the Tribe.
Justin Verlander (7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 K) was in top-notch form against the makeshift Tribe lineup, dominating from the onset and flashing his Cy Young form of yesteryear. Despite the lopsided loss, the Indians star players would get some much-deserved rest, as they are one of few teams in MLB with a full 7-game slate of games this week. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the game.
Key Stats & Game Notes:
- Entering play Tuesday night, Miguel Cabrera notched 5 RBI against the the Indians in 16 games in 2016. Tuesday night, the perennial powerhouse torched Tribe pitching for three hits (including a home run) and 5 RBI.
- While Tuesday night was a difficult night for Indians pitching overall, Shawn Armstrong notched two solid innings of work, allowing neither a hit nor a run. With a strong 2.53 ERA, Armstrong has an outside shot at earning a spot on the Tribe’s Postseason Roster. The rash of injuries to the pitching staff will only increase his chances of experiencing playoff baseball.
- Tyler Naquin–hitting leadoff–struggled mightily with Verlander’s vaunted fastball, striking out three times on the night. Naquin’s continued struggles with fastballs–especially in the upper portion of the strike zone–represent a significant concern for the Indians heading into the playoffs.
The Chase for Home Field Advantage
Even with the difficult loss Tuesday night, the Tribe did not lose ground to Boston in the race for the top playoff spot and record in the American League, as the Red Sox lost to the Yankees 6-4. The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak for the Beantowners.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Texas, who defeated Milwaukee by that same 6-4 score to catapult into the top spot for best record in the AL.
We received word late Tuesday night that Corey Kluber’s MRI revealed a quad strain and that the Tribe’s ace could miss 7-10 days before returning to action. If the Klubot is unable to pitch in Game 1 of the ALDS, the Indians one-time stellar rotation could look more like…1) Trevor Bauer 2) Josh Tomlin 3) ??? … heading into the playoffs!
Despite the tough news, the Tribe has to be elated that the injury isn’t more serious and initial diagnosis shows that they can expect Kluber to be available for the ALDS.
With injuries to Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar, the Indians’ rotation the final four games of the season will take on a whole new look…
Detroit and Cleveland square off again Wednesday night in Game 3 of their 4-game series, with Zach McAllister (3-2, 3.58) earning the spot start and facing Michael Fullmer (11-7, 2.95) at Comerica Park.