June 9, 2013
Tigers 4, Indians 1
For a while I thought the cosmic balance was off, because the Indians were not only playing well, but getting breaks and lucky balances as well. The cosmic balance seems to have been regained, but at the expense of the Indians' record, for now they are two games under .500 and as cold now as they were hot a month ago.
Jose Alvarez made his major-league debut today. He's 25 years old, and a minor-league free agent. For those unfamiliar with what that means, a minor-league free agent is a player that has at least six years of minor-league service time and ended the season not on his organization's 40-man roster. The great organization that didn't feel they needed to keep him was the Miami Marlins, and the pitching poor organization that signed him was the Detroit Tigers. You normally never see a healthy starting pitcher of any decent ability get to minor-league free agency, but Alvarez did. A cursory look at his Miami organization stats showed a pitcher whose career seemed to be running out of steam, as Alvarez was rather mediocre in his second full season in AA a year ago. But the Tigers saw something in his admittedly mediocre stuff to not only sign him, but promote him to AAA. And not only did Alvarez's stuff survive in AAA, he increased his strikeout rates and lowered his hit rates.
It's very possible that a pitcher like Alvarez will lose his effectiveness after he gets through the league once or twice, but that's small comfort to the Indians, because they were baffled by him today. Alvarez used his fastball like other pitchers use their changeups, and for most of his six innings of work Cleveland batters were caught in-between. The only damage the Indians did off him came in the fifth inning, when former Tiger whipping boy Ryan Raburn ended both the potential no-hitter and potential shutout by hitting a solo homer.
That home run tied the game. Justin Masterson, unlike other starters of late, hadn't given up a big inning, keeping the Indians in the game. But then, in the bottom of the sixth, after a leadoff walk and a seeing-eye single, Don F. Kelly (actually, his middle name is Thomas, but let's just go with it) dropped his hands on a pitch down and in and hit a 2-iron over the right field fence to give Detroit a 4-1 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
A losing streak like the one the Indians are currently in has to be a team effort, and the offense did its part today. The Tribe offense scattered six hits on the day, including two Carlos Santana doubles. Nick Swisher finally got a hit, ending his longest 0-fer of his career at 26 consecutive at-bats.The Indians struck out 11 times, with Mike Aviles the only starter who didn't whiff.
Roll Call (19 Commenters)
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