The Indians were coming off their first consecutive wins against the same team since the Fourth of July, when the Indians took the last two in a three game set from the Angels. Last night then presented a test of epic proportions for our North Shore Tribe. Could they sweep a series? Something they’d not done since June 18-20 against the Reds? Something they’d not done against an American League opponent since May 22-24?
No. No they could not.
For a game that in one sense went completely according to the script (the Tigers’ offense was too much for the Indians pitching; the Indians’ offense looked largely anemic), there were some surprising signs of life. Let’s note them briefly, before performing the requisite autopsy.
Ubaldo Jimenez did not look terrible. His final line makes it look worse than it was. Through seven innings, he had walked none, struck out three, allowed only four hits (one of which happened to be a 2-run HR to Miguel Cabrera), and two runs. That’s a pretty nifty start against a good lineup.
Yes, the wheels fell off in the eighth, and the beginning of that was Ubaldo’s doing. We can rightly wonder what Manny Acta was trying to prove by sending him back out for that inning to begin with. But we shouldn’t forget that for seven innings, Ubaldo looked pretty good.
Jason Donald made two excellent plays. I’ll embed them, just for you:
Neat, huh? Anyway, the plays had no bearing on the game whatsoever, and yes, Donald is still hitting .187 with no power or patience. But these were fun to watch. So there.
Now onto the slaughter.
Believe it or not, outside of Miguel Cabrera’s first inning home run off Ubaldo and a manufactured run from the Tribe in the fourth, the game was quite a pitchers’ duel through the first seven innings. Doug Fister looked every bit the number two starter that the Tigers will need if they’re lucky enough to make the playoffs. And Ubaldo was totally horrible.
But then in the eighth, the Tigers blew the doors off the game. Ubaldo started off well enough by getting Infante to ground out, but then he walked Austin Jackson, allowed a triple to Andy Dirks, and got pulled for Cody Allen.
Then things got really special. Miggy hit a sac fly to score Dirks, Fielder homered to the opposite field, Delmon Young drove a single to right, Garcia dropped in an infield single, and Jhonny Peralta doubled to left.
Before you could blink, all was right in the world: the Tigers led 7-1.
But series wins are series wins, and this was our first since July 24th through 26th against (who else?) the Tigers. For the season, the Indians are now 9-6 against Detroit. Unfortunately, we have to play powerhouses like Kansas City (5-7) and Minnesota (4-7) too. They can’t all be cakewalks, I suppose.