This was, inexplicably, the best-played game during the current eleven-game losing streak. And though the matchup on paper predicted a blowout loss, the Indians had several opportunities to take control of the game.
Carlos Carrasco looked much more comfortable in his second start against the Tigers, though he's a long ways from a solid major-league starter. He got out of a couple jams early in the game, but couldn't limit the damage in the fourth inning. In that frame, he didn't give up the big hit, but three run-scoring singles and an RBI ground out. He didn't give up an extra-base hit, but instead allowed 6 singles and 3 walks.
The Indians owned Justin Verlander last year, but the lanky right-hander turned a corner in 2009. After the Indians took a 2-0 lead in the third on a Michael Brantley single, they had a great opportunity for an even larger inning with two on and still nobody out. Brantley stole second a couple pitches later to make the opportunity even more favorable. But Verlander, perhaps thinking of who was pitching for the Indians, retired the next three Indians and cruised from there. He threw a ton of pitches to get through seven innings thanks to that third inning, but the Tigers in retrospect needed him to go that long.
Meanwhile, the Indians actually made a game of it, though the two late-inning runs the bullpen allowed pushed the game just out of reach. Still, the Indians brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth inning, and would have had to the winning run on base had Brandon Inge not made a fantastic diving play to end the game.
There were some nice offensive signs. Travis Hafner pulled a ball on the inner half of the plate down the right-field line, something I can't recall him doing in quite a while. Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run homer off Tigers closer Fernando Rodney. Michael Brantley continued to impress with his bat control; he collected another two hits, and stole a base. And Andy Marte is taking advantage of some unexpected playing time; he singled and doubled in four at-bats.
Next Up: The Indians go for a share of franchise infamy. Hernandez vs. Carmona, 7:05 PM
|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Michael Brantley||.121||Carlos Carrasco||-.213|
|Travis Hafner||.108||Jhonny Peralta||-.169|
|Andy Marte||.080||Jamey Carroll||-.167|