Shoddy defense and poor relief pitching cost the Indians a chance at this game. Kerry Wood allowed two runs in his first appearance of the year after he got the first two outs of the inning. The game was tied when Wood entered the game; the Indians had knotted the score up the inning before thanks to an Austin Kearns two-run single. I'm not sure Acta would have had Wood warm up if he'd known the game would be tied, but I guess the Indians aren't paying out all that money for a low-leverage reliever.
Luis Valbuena, who has been filling in for Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop the past few games, couldn't make a very routine play to end the inning in the eighth; that error pushed the Tigers' sixth run of the game across. Valbuena has been awful at shortstop in Cabrera's absence, and if he's just a second baseman, that gives Jason Donald a definite leg up on him on this roster. Donald is hitting .305/.421/.467 in Columbus, and it's probably only a matter of time before the two players swap rosters.
Justin Masterson matched Justin Verlander in earned runs (3) and innings pitched (6), and almost matched him in strikeouts. Most of Detroit's best hitters bat right-handed, so the Tigers were a good matchup for Masterson; he struck out eight Tigers, and held Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera mostly in check. It was Scott Sizemore who did the damage against Justin, driving in three with a bases-clearing double in the fourth.
The Indians had some good at-bats against Verlander, and could have scored several more runs against one of the league's best pitchers. After Austin Kearns' single in the sixth, Verlander crossed up his catcher and uncorked a wild pitch, allowing the runners on first and second to move up a base. But Verlander induced grounders to both Jhonny Peralta and Valbuena to end the threat. The Indians scored a run in the eighth off of Joel Zumaya, and could have had more, but the same two hitters struck out with runners in the same position.
|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Travis Hafner||.313||Kerry Wood||-.315|
|Shin-Soo Choo||.181||Jhonny Peralta||-.227|
|Mark Grudzielanek||.050||Luis Valbuena||-.190|