The Tribe is officially back. At least this is the case per our own TD. If you ask me, I get nervous any time TD makes a bold proclamation (just ask Ubaldo Jimėnez), but hey… Looking to make amends for the debacle on Monday afternoon, the Indians are facing Tigers youngin Kyle Lobstein. Following David Price, this seems a lot better than, say, Max Scherzer. Can they capitalize on a kid who barely touches 90?
Join me to find out, will you?
7:05 p.m. — We jump right into things with the Tribe fresh off of a 12-1 embarrassment at the hand of the Tigers, Carlos Carrasco and his peach fuzz ‘stache on the bump, and the STO crew tossing a graphic of Detroit’s lineup for the evening. Torii Hunter’s .278 is the lowest average amongst their first five hitters. I’m instantly nervous despite my disdain for average being used as a meter of effectiveness—the 21 home runs at Progressive Field help seal the deal. Thank God for this delicious Oktoberfest.
7:06 — The third base cameras get a shot of Carrasco and roughly a dozen fans behind him. This wouldn’t be worth mentioning if those fans weren’t surrounded by about four dozen empty seats. It’s only a matter of time before someone there for free—likely in the press box—mentions this fact.
STO reminds us that Michael Brantley is currently in the midst of a 122-game errorless streak. If only that mattered.
7:11 — Carrasco and the PFS send the Tigers down in order, fanning Ian Kinsler with a filthy slider and getting Miguel Cabrera looking with a heater on the outside corner. Cabrera isn’t too happy. This makes me more nervous for what’s to come. Nevertheless, this one’s already off to a better start than Monday’s game, henceforth known as The Aviles Game.1
7:20 — Michael Brantley smashes one past Kinsler at second with two outs in the bottom of the first. One pitch away from getting out of the inning, Kyle Lobstein tosses an 0-2 fastball above the letters, but Carlos Santana has other ideas, depositing it opposite field into the Tigers’ bullpen.
Random fact on Carlos Santana's homer: marked only his 2nd career shot on an 0-2 count. The last came on Aug. 2, 2012.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 2, 2014
And just like that, the Indians have more runs on Tuesday than all of Monday. And just like that, Matt Underwood gives us the “When the Indians score first…” stat.2
And just like that, the requisite attendance tweet, now with more vertical photography.
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) September 2, 2014
7:29 — Four pitches into the top of the second inning and the Tigers have the bases loaded with no one out. The run probability matrix tells us that we should see roughly 2.4 runs scored. Carrasco barely misses inside—twice—and Alex Avila draws the bases loaded walk. A run scores and Detroit still has the bases loaded with no one out and should still see 2.4 more runs.
Terry Francona looks concerned. Not mad, but that Spaceballs “Oh no, not again” look that the wannabe storm trooper gets before Dark Helmet blasts him in the balls with the Schwartz. I guess that’ll happen after your starter (your ace, mind you) was yanked after two-plus innings the day before.
7:39 — Carlos Carrasco gives zero shits about your matrices and fancy math. He and the PFS fan both Euginio Suarez and Rajai Davis with change-ups in the dirt before Ian Kinsler grounded out to third. Eleven straight strikes after the bases loaded walk. Talk about being done playing games.
7:45 — I want to say something unbecoming of the Indians players and their mustaches, but I’ve seen myself with one. It was one of those shave the beard but leave-the-‘stache-for-last deals. Holy hell was it creepy. It made Lonnie Chisenhall look like Tom Selleck.
8:36 — Speaking of Chisenhall. He’s started a streak for the Tribe wherein their last six outs have come via the strikeout. The Tribe has managed to scatter some hits—one of them, a Tyler Holt screamer that stopped about four feet in front of the plate—but our friend Mr. Lobstein has started to settle in a bit. Chiz would later break up the strikeout streak with a foul out (I’m not sure what’s better, really) but Mr. Holt picked things right back up. Lobstein, having not struck out a single batter in his last MLB outing, has eight through four innings of work.
8:40 — Can we talk about Victor Martinez for a second? There are just some players who you miss after they’re gone. There’s no doubt in my mind that CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee had more success, but I miss Victor more. I think it especially stings because Justin Masterson is no longer here (having not exactly lived up to expectations despite “ace” status), but here’s V-Mart, stepping in with a runner on second (I use “runner” liberally here as it’s Miguel Cabrera), and he’s hitting .330 with 28 home runs and 90 RBI. He does it from both sides of the plate, rarely strikes out (only 39 times heading into Tuesday night) and just makes it look effortless. It doesn’t help that he’s doing it for the flipping Tigers. Oh, and there’s a frozen rope single in to right field. Make that .331. Men at the corners, no out.
8:44 — JD Martinez is absolutely raking at Progressive Field this year, hitting just shy of .500 with four home runs. He has not, however, had a chance to go against the PFS who got him looking with a back-door slide piece on the inside part of the plate. It was a perfect pitch and was simply a huge out given the situation. He too has eight strikeouts on the night. Make that nine—Nike Castellanos goes down swinging.
8:50 — LIVING ON THE EDGE! Carrasco gets his 10th strikeout through five innings of work, getting Alex Avila looking. The kid, and the 9,000 fans behind him, get pumped as gets out of a jam once again. An incredible sequence, really. This is The Game of Jams. Where’s Peter Dinklage?
9:00 — Our boy Lobstein just sucked the life out of that one, fanning his 10th Indians batter to end the fifth.
9:02 — STO is taking some in-game time to interview a kid who snagged a foul ball in the suites. Apparently, there are some ties to Rick Manning which makes this more important than had it been, you know, just a regular kid. Take a look.
West Geauga represent. Nice work, kid.
8:07 — Carrasco’s night is done after he allows a man to get on. Scattered 10 hits with 10 strikeouts and just one earned run. It was a high-leverage kind of night, but the kid got out of it. Old Man Atch comes on in relief and promptly gives up an opposite field line drive to right field off of the bat of Ian Kinsler. Men on the corners with the meat of the Tigers’ lineup waiting, salivating.
8:09 — STO’s ticker just showed Clayton Kershaw as tonight’s starter for Los Angeles. He’s 16-3 with a 1.73 ERA. I wonder what that’s like. “BUT NO TIME FOR THAT!,” says Old Man Atch who gets a huge, bang-bang 4-6-3 double play to get out of that jam. Something tells me that all of these jams I speak of will come back to haunt us, but damn…that was nice. The Game of Jams!
8:18 — Kyle Lobstein’s night is finally done after Jason Kipnis gets aboard with one down. The hard-throwing right-hander Al Albuquerque comes in and Terry Francona promptly pinch-hits the switch-hitting Zach Walters for the righty only Ryan Raburn. Wolters walks as Mr. Albuquerque is a mess.
Carlos Carrasco is the first Tribe pitcher since 1914 to pitch less than six innings, strike out 10 or more, allow 10 or more hits, and only allow one run.
8:27 — After a solid at-bat with plenty of screaming foul balls into the stands, Lonnie Baseball swings at and misses one and goes down for the second out. Kipnis stole third base, but Albuquerque, who can’t find the strike zone, walked Tyler Holt to load the bases for Michael Bourn and the Tigers have seen enough.
8:37 — Michael Bourn takes a 3-1 pitch to center field and pulls the rug right out from underneath the Tribe’s attempt at adding a few insurance runs. Why do I feel like this will also come back to haunt us?
8:43 — Old Man Atch gets Miguel Cabrera, but Victor Martinez—have I mentioned how much I miss Victor Martinez?—records his 28th double of the season with an opposite field shot down the left-field line. It will not surprise me one bit if this guy catches Jose Altuve for the AL batting crown. If this were The Q, he’s be getting MVP chants.
8:50 — Atch strikes out JD Martinez but walks Nick Castellanos to put two on. Tito gives him the hook for Considerably Younger Bryan Shaw and his—I have no idea what that is on his face, but these mustaches are…something else. Shaw gets a key fly out to left field and we keep on trucking with that one-run lead.
9:30 — We fast forward to the ninth inning as the last 40 minutes were largely full of those plays that drive non-baseball fans crazy. Not much action to speak of—at all. That’s good though because Cody Allen has come on to record the save with the meat of the Tigers’ lineup barreling down the tracks.
9:32 — A solid at-bat for Torii Hunter with several foul balls ends in a walk and the lead-off man is aboard. Oh boy.
9:34 — Another two-strike count, this time to Miguel Cabrera, and the former MVP hits a sharp single into center field. Two on, no outs. Victor Martinez stepping to the plate. Oh boy.
9:36 — Martinez makes a questionable decision and swings at a 2-0 fastball and flies out to center for the first out. Allen is now a double-play ball away from getting out of The Game of Jams.
9:39 — Well, shit. JD Martinez just took a 96-mile-per-hour heater to center field for a three-run home run. That sucked. A lot.
Terry Francona agrees, and gives Allen the hook for CC Lee. Lee finishes the inning, but the non-capacity crowd has thinned out even more so.
9:48 — Michael Bourn continues his non-clutch outing with a ground out to start the bottom of the ninth. Someone told Jose Ramirez that the Indians haven’t bunted much in this one, so he attempts to get aboard with one despite only two outs remaining in the contest. Ian Kinsler promptly disposes of his attempt.
9:52 — Michael Brantley takes a Joe Nathan four-seamer to left field and gets a man aboard. Rally time?
9:54 —Yeah, no. Carlos Santana swings at a 1-0 fastball and Rajai Davis puts it away to end the game. 4-2 is your final score. Talk about the one that got away.
Opportunities missed. Solid starting. Good middle relief. Leverage blown. The Game of Jams officially became the Game of Groans.
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)