But on Tuesday evening at Comerica Park, Verlander pitched like the ace that he is, going seven innings and allowing only two runs. As for Kluber . . . well, Kluber had a rough night, giving up five runs, all earned, over a scant three innings of work, and the Tigers went on to beat the Indians, 5-2.
Tribe manager Terry Francona removed Kluber from the game after the third inning. It was later announced that the Kloob had been suffering from lower back pain. And I can believe that, because it was a pain in the . . . lower back watching him try to get Tigers hitters out. Here’s hoping it’s something that can be turned around with some rest, some Ben-Gay, and a heating pad, because this team can’t afford an injured, ineffective Corey Kluber.
The bullpen kept the team in the game, despite Kluber’s wretched start. Shawn Armstrong, Nick Goody, and Boone Logan combined for five innings of scoreless relief. And the offense, silent throughout most of the evening, managed to put together the semblance of a rally in the ninth, when a double by Yan Gomes and a walk to Carlos Santana brought the tying run to the plate in the presence of Francisco Lindor. But Frankie couldn’t come through with the hit that would keep hope alive, popping out to third to end the game.
I don’t know about you, but I’m more than a little worried about Jason Kipnis. Kip began the season on the disabled list, and simply hasn’t produced with the bat since he was reactivated. He’s 1 for his last 16 at-bats, and has driven in only one run in 35 at-bats on the year. His next extra-base hit will be his first one.
Small sample size? Yeah. And Kip’s been a reliable batter for years now, and he’s not all that old. But I’m worried about him. And given that the only person on the team who can currently play second base in his stead is Michael Martinez, I guess Francona might as well keep Kip in the lineup and wait for him to turn things around. But if after 35 more at-bats, he doesn’t show any improvement, something will need to be done, no?
Game three of the four-game series takes place on Wednesday evening. Carlos Carrasco will try to turn things around for our baseball heroes.