7:20 PM: Good evening, all. You’re down to your third-string blogger with co-stars TD and Jon otherwise occupied, so I’m live blogging this bad boy with the Browns kicking off shortly as well! It’s the top of the second (1-2-3 on both sides in the 1st), and Zach McAllister (heretofore, referred to as “ZacMac”) just gave up a double off the wall in left. Michael Brantley barehands the sucker and nearly got another assist to take sole possession of the league lead in that category. Mike Aviles (playing second tonight) missed the tag on either of Fielder’s paws, and Fielder gives the bag a big old grizzly hug on his tumble. A little too timid, had Aviles went hard at the bag, Fielder’s out. Such is life with Jason Kipnis DH-ing for the evening.
7:26: ZacMac locks Avila up under his arms with a 94 mph heater to strand the royalty at third base. A slow hit grounder to short off the bat of Don Kelly prevented Fielder from scoring with one out. Leadoff double successfully worked around right there.
7:32: Mark Reynolds got cut today. It leaves the Indians with 12 hitters upon the callup of Preston Guilmet (I do NOT like that, no matter how versatile this team’s bench is), and it guarantees more playing time for Ryan Raburn, Yan Gomes, and Jason Giambi collectively. It’s really frightening for me to cut the guy who still has a share of the team lead in homers and has went through so many feast or famine stretches in his career. There better be a waiver wire deal coming, because there is NOTHING at Columbus to back up the 12 at the big league level.
7:34: Does anyone else think Max Scherzer looks like some kind of Batman villain dressed up as a Detroit Tigers pitcher? Only the bleepin’ Tigers could get a bonafide ace to fill in for their not-quite-phenomic Justin Verlander this year. Scherzer sets the Tribe down 1-2-3 in the 2nd with Fielder snagging two of the balls at first. At least we’re doing nothing against the likely AL Cy Young instead of Jeremy Bonderman (Yes, Wednesday night’s kick in the pills is still fresh.)
7:39: The Leyland hit and run pays off again. With Ramon Santiago reaching via a walk, he takes off as Hernan Perez singles to right and gets Santiago to third. Those Detroit boys may go back for second, thirds, fourths, dessert, second desserts, and take a doggie bag to-go, but Leyland seems to use Newton’s First Law to his advantage as much as he can.
7:48: ZacMac is starting to lose it as he walks Jackson to load ’em up. He retires Dirks via strikeouts, but McAllister nibbles, dances, and weaves around Miggy and ends up walking in a run on four pitches with the bases loaded. Hey, it’s better than four, I suppose….. 1-0 Tigers.
7:50: ….. And Prince just crowned ZacMac with a gapper that plates two more. 3-o Motor City Kitties.
7:52: Et tu, Victor? It’s a two-run double for Martinez, and the Tigers have put up a five spot on ZacMac. This game is already over. The bullpen’s up. That vein in my forehead is pulsing and protruding. At least the Browns will probably do better… right? RIGHT?
7:54: Sayonara, Zac Mac! Tito comes to the mound and yanks the shockingly wild McAllister. Preston Guilmet becomes the human sacrifice to eat up innings and throw a buttload of pitches, only to get sent down tomorrow. He comes on with one out in the third. Let’s hope he can get them through the sixth at the bare minimum.
7:57: What an absolute killshot this series has been. It’s been exhausting, aggravating, and downright rotten luck (looking at you and that giant right middle finger, Captain Kluber). To the nimrods who said the opener was “just 1 of 162″, the momentum from that game has now spread to “4 of 162″ or what we call a “sweep”. The Indians could’ve closed to within one game of the Tigers by winning three out of four. Instead, the Tigers might as well hoist the AL Central flag right here at Progressive Field to “Whiskey Lullaby” with Miguel Cabrera on lead vocals as the Tribe is now going to be 7 games out and buried with 47 games to go.
8:02: The defense is back to being leprous. Mike Aviles has one handcuff him instead of being a 4-3 to retire the side. It scores one run after Drew Stubbs’s throw to the plate sails over Carlos’s head. 6-0 Tigers. Guilmet finally coaxes a groundout to short to end the inning. WHY CAN’T WE HAVE NICE THINGS, CLEVELAND?
8:03: Well, at least Jimmy Donovan and Bernie Kosar both look pretty good. #ChannelFlipping
8:06: “… And that pretty much takes you out of the ballgame.” -Rick Manning, breaking it down analyst style.
8:10: The Browns’ receiving corps are going to get confusing all year long. Bess wearing Little’s old number. 12, 15, and 18 all looks very similar. The Browns have a couple of first down already…. oh crap, I forgot I’m supposed to be watching the Tribe game.
8:13: Austin Jackson triples without the ball reaching the wall in left center off some looping, breaking garbage from Guilmet. Bourn’s throw isn’t even close as it skips beyond Chisenhall at third base. Dirks doubles to score him, and it’s 7-0. Guilmet has recorded only two outs and has already thrown 19 pitches.
8:16: Can we keep splicing in these Danny Salazar clips? It keeps me sane and hopeful for the future. And I do think the future will be bright. I really do. It’s just the present, this four game series, this getting beaten to death at home, seems to be the series that never ends.
8:18: Martinez is just toying with our heartstrings now. He splits the difference between Swisher and Aviles and puts one into right. Kipnis at least knocks that thing down, I do believe. Another run, and it’s 8-0, and I’m honestly wondering if the Indians can just concede the game and come back to play tomorrow night against the Angels. I’m going to be there Friday and Sunday, and I’m also wondering why I made that life decision.
8:23: Guilmet retires the next two to “escape” the fourth inning. Guilmet’s over the top delivery and downward action on his pitches are intriguing, but it doesn’t appear to be translating to results on the field. He’s thrown 35 pitches (I know, Underwood alert) and he’s only pitched 1 2/3. That doesn’t bode well for the Tribe bullpen that was worked to its limit last night. We WILL see a position player throw tonight. I just know it. (Editor’s Note: I swear on my life that I wrote this before it happened.)
8:26: Bourn slaps one to lead off the bottom of the fourth into the midsection of Scherzer. Bourn hustles down the line, probably beats a good throw, but it doesn’t matter as Scherzer throws it down the right field line. NO NO-NO TONIGHT, FRIENDS as that is scored a single!
8:28: Are there more fans at the Tribe game or the Browns preseason game tonight? I’m going to say the Browns game, but not by a whole lot.
8:33: Asdrubal Cabrera doubles to deep right, short-hopping the wall and proving that the Tribe still does have a pulse. Bourn motors around from first, and the Indians at least won’t be shut out tonight. Double or no double, Asdrubal’s days as a clean-up hitter should be numbered. He’s batting a piddly .210 in the four hole with a .565 OPS in 15 games, and he’s been putting up just sickly at-bats for weeks now. He’s always a guy who swings at bad pitches, but when he does it early in the count, he’s far from an All-Star (or a cleanup hitter). Brantley puts up a decent at-bat but is retired on a sinking ball hit to center.
8:39: Touchdown, BROWNS! Weeden finds Dion Lewis. Jim Donovan professes his love for Lewis, and I’m desperately looking for something to pin hope to, so I will too.
8:48: If I wasn’t hoping that Miguel Cabrera’s leg fell apart like a cheap piece of furniture, I’d suggest they would get him out of this game. Instead, he gets a two-run SINGLE that went all the way to the wall and included a throw to the plate. Old peg leg stayed right on first base. Guilmet retires Fielder (someone was bound to tonight), and at 56 pitches, I’m sure Guilmet’s long night is over. And really, with allowing 4 runs, 6 hits, walking one, and not striking anybody out in 2 2/3 innings, he’s done enough. The Browns are up 17-0, so that means absolutely none of you will be reading this tomorrow. Oh well.
9:03: Matt Albers on for the sixth (after the Tribe stranded one in the fifth) and he got two outs with three pitches! Mr. Efficiency!
9:14: A two-out single for Kipnis in the bottom of the inning is just the third for the Tribe on the evening. Asdrubal doubles to score Kipnis, and he’s a stud in this blowout, collecting both RBI.
9:26: Eleven pitches and five outs… now Matt Albers has this mop-up thing down!! Michael Bourn makes a nice diving catch after Albers allows two base hits.
9:30: Max Scherzer gets high fives after seven innings where he pulverized everybody into dust with the exception of Asdrubal Cabrera. Scrabblechinski coming on for the Tribe to pitch the eighth after two strong frames from Albers. If your worst bullpen arm from the right side is Matt Albers, you normally would have a pretty good pen (and the Indians *had* a pretty good pen). The problem now is that everyone in front of Albers has been wildly inconsistent and we have two guys from the left side that have yet to show that they can be trusted.
9:48: RYAN RABURN ON THE MOUND! We did it, you guys! He’s bringing some heat! First pitch strike at 84 miles per hour! 86 miles per hour and a little high on his third pitch. Everyone’s having a good time, seemingly forgetting why we’re all here at 10-2 in the 9th. It does bring back memories of Andy Marte in 2010 and this best in a line of best recaps from Jon.
9:49: Brayan Pena grounds out sharply to first. Swisher flips it to Raburn who does a great job hustling to the bag and covering (he should, being a natural fielder and all).
9:50: Tuiasosopo is next in the “don’t get retired by a position player” contest and falls behind 0-2. Raburn spikes one into the ground and then throws some high gas at 88 mph.
9:51: STRRRRRIKE THREE! Raburn throws it by Tuiasosopo on a 89 mph fastball at the letters. You know he’ll be getting razzed about it in the dugout tonight.
9:52: Raburn needs only two pitches to retire Hernan Perez and only 13 to retire the side 1-2-3 in the 9th. That was an ounce of fun in this pound of crap tonight. I think Tito also solved his need to have a four-man bench and desire to have a 8-man bullpen all by himself tonight.
10:05: This game is now officially over. Kipnis doubled off Phil Coke, and Brantley singled him in to make the final count 10-3. There’s no doubt about the fact that we’ll look back at this series and say “that’s where the division hopes crashed and burned”. Still, the Tribe is only three games back in the wild card race with Baltimore and Texas ahead of them for that second slot and Kansas City hot on their heels. Detroit’s now won 12 in a row, and there’s no stopping them (at least until Miggy runs out of whiskey or Leyland runs out of heaters). The Angels come to town on Friday, 3-7 in their last ten games, and they are not the Tigers. As reward for this live-blog penance, I think I deserve a win on Friday and Sunday at the ballpark. Here’s hoping, Tribe fans!
(Photo: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)