In what’s likely to be the defining series this season the Indians continued to struggle against the division-leading Tigers, dropping a tough one in 14 innings on Wednesday night. The loss, which drops the Tribe to six games out of first and 2.5 from one of the Wild Card spots, is the fourth straight against the Tigers.

In one of the organization’s bolder moves, the Indians pushed back veteran Ubaldo Jimenez’s would-be start on Wednesday and opted to go with rookie right-hander Danny Salazar, despite having just one big league game to his resume. And the 23-year-old Dominican did not disappoint.

Simply put, Salazar was sensational. Flashing a plus-plus fastball, good slider, and hard changeup, Salazar dominated the Tigers potent lineup through the first seven innings of the game, striking out nine, walking one and surrendering two earned runs.

After the Tribe regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh — thanks to a Nick Swisher double — manager Terry Francona decided to stay with the hot hand and let Salazar pitch the eighth inning.

After returning the first two batters, right-fielder Torii Hunter singled to center and reigning Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera followed it up with a deep 427-foot homer.

The Indians would rally at the bottom of the inning, plating Michael Brantley on a Yan Gomes groundout to short. And the game would remain tied until the 14th inning.

Working on this third inning, reliever Bryan Shaw gave up a double to Austin Jackson, who would move to third on a Hunter fly out, and would depart after issuing a walk to light-hitting Hernan Perez.

Newly acquired lefty Marc Rzepczynski would enter the game and immediately give up a two run double to Prince Fielder. Cleveland would rally in the bottom of the inning, scoring Michael Bourn with two out before stranding Mike Aviles on third.

The Tribe looks to avoid the sweep tonight, sending Zach McAllister to the mound against Cy Young contender Max Scherzer.

21 Comments

  • DaveR says:

    This series can’t end fast enough.

  • Andy says:

    As a Cleveland fan this collapse is expected. At least the second wild card spot will keep the season interesting for a couple more weeks (hopefully).

    Salazar made 2 mistakes all night and unfortunately they both went for home runs (the change up to Jackson, who wouldn’t have hit the fastball and the pitch to Cabrera). The one to Cabrera was just a rookie mistake by leading with the fastball when he was sitting red on the first pitch (I don’t even think it was a bad pitch per se, just the best hitter in baseball sitting on something) and was likely brought on by striking him out the first 3 times.

    Asdrubal is absolutely killing us in the cleanup spot and our lack of a real #4 hitter is very evident in this series.

    • Hugh Jass says:

      I cannot begin to say how sick and tired I’m getting hearing that “this collapse is expected”. They drop three games and you’re calling this a collapse? They battled against a very good Tigers team and if it wasn’t for a blown save in the top of the 9th on Monday, one mistake made by Salazar to Jackson last night, and one bad inning out of Masterson, it would have been us sitting pretty right now. Bad luck? Managerial miscues? And really, just a total of 3 bad pitches in 3 games? These things are all true. But a collapse? Hardly.

  • shaun says:

    boy, was salazar ever a treat to watch..and lets face it, there’s a reason why the tigers are the tigers (cue dennis green: “They are who we thought they were….”) they know how to balance their lineup. i would be hard pressed to list MLB manager on my resumé but how long do you continue to put the momentum killer like cabrera into the lineup period, let alone cleanup. check our record when aviles was playing shortstop. get reynolds to scoot over a little on the pine and cozy up. last night was a very winnable game. i realize that by “demoting” cabrera you are killing any of his trade value (whatever may be left of it) but isn’t the point of making spending in the off season like we did to win in the now?? am i out to lunch?

  • John-Ryan says:

    Jesus christ this series has been so tough to stomach. I don’t even think its worthy of being called a collapse, because I’m sure they will just bounce back against the angels and the twins. It’s just troubling that they are unable to Handle the tigers, at all, in any capacity. you can argue that they grind it out to the end Like last night and the first game, but the fact is, the tigers just find ways to win against Cleveland, and Cleveland just finds ways to lose against Detroit. Hopefully they don’t match up in a playoff series, because we will be doomed.

  • Jeremy says:

    What a tough game…..great game…but tough to be on the wrong side of the stick. Anyways, I wanted to point out that as a Tribe fan living in Toledo, I know a fair amount of Tiger fans and hear about the team fairly often. Pretty much every fan complains about Leyland and after watching him pull Cabrera last night for “defensive reasons” ….I can totally understand why.

  • Adam says:

    While tito has been nothing short of incredible as a manager for the tribe this year, i have to question his decisions to leave both salazar and shaw in as long as he did. Salazar, even though he was still throwing 98 mph heat, just looked gassed in the 8th inning and after he gave that hit up to torii hunter, i really wouldve liked to have seen tito go to the bullpen to bring in a fresh arm who woul match up better with cabrera. And shaw already had 30 pitches going into his third inning, and it was evident that he didnt have much left in the tank either. I mean, im all for having a little faith in a pitcher and preserving our bullpen, but i think at least in this scenario, it burned us pretty bad. Id rather bring a new pitcher in before things get out of hand than wait until they already are a mess.

    In other news, it was a really sad sight at the game to see all the tigers fans. Especially by the 11th inning, they were getting pretty rowdy, and even managed to start a couple of their own cheers (of course they got heckled, but still). I know this is a football town, but seeing the amount of team pride those fans had made me a little sad.

    • Cbus Tribe says:

      I agree with Shaw but not with Salazar. He earned the right to face him a fourth time. It was their big against our big, plus I love the kid’s composure and wasn’t intimidated by Cabrera. I can’t say the same for however would have been called upon from the pen. Plus Cabrera was quoted as saying he didn’t want to face Salazar a fourth time, which is a pretty good compliment from the best player in baseball.

      Now we just have to focus on the wildcard and pray another team gets lucky and knocks the Tigers out of the playoffs.

  • The Doctor says:

    2-15 with RISP. hideous.

    a single more game of cabrera in the cleanup spot and i am questioning francona’s sanity. this has to stop. seeing 19 pitches in 6 ABs? awful. those were 6 of the worst at bats i’ve ever seen concentrated into a single game. my tv is incredibly lucky i didn’t pitch it out the window after watching that first pitch foulout to third. he is lost at the plate right now – there is absolutely no excuse for him to continue batting cleanup (or batting at all, right now).

  • Tribe Fan in San Diego says:

    The Tigers are in first place for a reason. They have sensational pitching and hitting. They are simply a better team then the Indians. I’m not saying we can’t beat them, we can. We can also compete with them, as evidenced these last three games. We really are only a couple of players short of being a top team. Obviously these players are a lock down closer and a cleanup batter.

    Cabrera is a good hitter, but has been struggling lately. It started about two weeks ago when he started totally whiffing on any breaking ball thrown his way. At this point, I think we need to move Raburn to cleanup.

    Now for a closer, I’m going to get crazy here. Obviously we need to use Salazar until Kluber comes back from the DL. However, once he is back, what will we do with Salazar? It seems to me that with his speed and ability to strike people out that he could be an excellent closer. Just a thought.

    • Steve says:

      I don’t think we’ll be seeing Kluber again during the regular season. If anything, this idea could be revisited if we make the playoffs.

  • Tribe Fan in San Diego says:

    Forgot to add in my previous post. I think Tito’s biggest mistake wasn’t leaving Salazar in (I can agree either way,) but rather putting Stubbs in as a pinch runner for Swisher. Swish was hot, and we lost him the rest of the game. It’s not like Swisher is a terrible runner.

    • Drew says:

      Stubbs made a couple plays in RF that extended the game. Plays Swish would not have made. I think it was a reasonable move.

  • shaun says:

    well, reynolds is going to be DFA. end of an era!

  • Kevin Price says:

    Leaving Salazar in after giving up a hit or a walk in the 8th inning WAS a dumb decision. You were what, 5 outs away with a 2 run lead with the best hitter in baseball and one man on. You don’t leave a freaking FASTBALL pitcher in there you want SLIDERS so you can get a GROUNDBALL and NOT A HOME RUN on a poorly contacted pitch. Seriously Miguel Cabrera didn’t even have that good of contact, the fastball’s speed was what took it out of here. Instead of Salazar’s confidence soaring after 3 strikeouts and at worst blaming a bullpen pitcher, he lost the lead in the 8th inning. That is so much worse.

  • medfest says:

    Hindsight is always 20-20,folks.

    The Tigers have a better team,152 million dollar payroll should buy you something.They are not that much better than the Tribe,the difference is Cabrera and Fielder in the middle of their line up.It’s shown up in every game this series so far.We’ve just got the wrong Cabrera hitting clean up is all.

    Last year the Tigers couldn’t beat the Indians this year it’s reversed.

    The season is far from over,to quote John “Bluto” Blutarski “Did the Americans quit after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”
    With Scherzer going tonight this seems more than applicable.

    I’ll be there rooting for my team and enjoying another (hopefully) great game.

    Go Tribe!…Dammit!

  • Kevin Brown says:

    Jeremy, NOT every Tiger fan complains about Leyland, and to say Cabrera was pulled for “defensive reasons” is absurd….He was pulled because he can barely walk/run….the guy is sucking it up, and no point in putting him out there any more than necessary. There is a reason Leyland was just voted AGAIN by his peers to be the BEST manager in baseball…..He is BY FAR the best.

  • The Doctor says:

    dear god. cabrera at cleanup again tonight. only thing i can figure is that francona just doesn’t care anymore?

  • JimM. says:

    no collapse here, keep the faith. agree cabrera needs to get out of the 4 spot. with past teams i’d be worried but this team is tough. also, could we please get yan gomes in as our full time catcher.

    • Peter says:

      YES! Gomes needs to see more starts at catcher. Santana needs more DH/1B or some plain old rest.