If a pitcher with great stuff is on his game, often there isn't a lot you can do. Justin Verlander, who had all kinds of trouble against the Indians last season, was virtually unhittable today, judging by the at-bats the Indians had against him. But for most of the game, Cliff Lee kept the Indians in the game, and by the time Verlander's pitch count started to mount, the Indians and Tigers were still tied at one. But to use an overused but in this case appropriate phrase, the Indians found a way to lose this game.
The seventh inning determined the game. In the top of the frame, Shin-Soo Choo walked, then scampered to third on Mark DeRosa's double, only the second hit of the game to that point. David Dellucci was then intentionally walked, loading the bases with nobody out. With Choo at third and the infield drawn in, any reasonably-deep fly ball or hard-hit ground ball would give the Indians the lead. Even a slow-hit grounder would probably get the job done. Instead, Kelly Shoppach hit a shallow pop fly to right, and Choo had no chance of scoring. Next up was Matt LaPorta, hitting for the third time against Verlander in his major-league debut. He fouled a couple of high-90s fastballs off, but was eventually frozen by a curve on in the inside corner. Luis Valbuena, in his Indians debut, grounded to the shortstop to end the rally, and any chance of a win.
Cliff Lee also had problems in the seventh, but he couldn't get out of it. Backup catcher Dane Sardinha doubled to begin the seventh, but unlike the Indians, the Tigers had their best hitters up with runners in scoring position. Curtis Granderson broke the tie with a double, and he scored two batters later on Magglio Ordonez's single. The Indians managed another scoring opportunity in the eighth, but Mark DeRosa's line drive was hit right at shortstop Adam Everett.
It's getting late early, folks.
Next Up: Carmona vs. Tallet*, 7:05 PM
*Let's Go (Former) Tribe
|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Mark DeRosa||.058||Matt LaPorta||-.196|
|Asdrubal Cabrera||.051||Grady Sizemore||-.148|
|Shin-Soo Choo||.042||Kelly Shoppach||-.110|