Friday afternoon the Indians were sitting on a winning record, only 2 games behind Detroit. 48 hours the Tribe has been swept out of its own stadium, after Sunday brought a vicious butt-kicking by the Tigers. Three wins would have put the Indians into 1st place. Instead, three losses have undone all the progress the team had made in the standings over the last three weeks.
Josh Tomlin gave up a homer to Miguel Cabrera in the 1st, then gave up another run on a single by Cabrera in the 3rd. Tomlin didn't look good, but letting maybe the best hitter in baseball get to you is nothing compared to what happened in the 5th inning, when Tomlin, Kyle Crockett, and John Axford combined to allow 6 hits, and Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Bourn each made an error, all of which worked together to allow Detroit to score 7 runs in the frame, effectively ending the game.
Lonnie Chisenhall made an error in the 8th inning, giving the Indians three of them on the day. The defense had been a bit better of late, but today's trio puts them at 67 for the season, easily the most of any MLB team. Cabrera's miscue was his 14th of the season, which is the most by any shortstop. Chisenhall's was his 10th, which makes him one of only 12 players with that many so far in 2014, all of whom have played at least 220 more innings in the field than Lonnie has.
It was 9-0 at the end of that half inning, and as you can see from the win-expectancy chart below, the Tribe's chances had flatlined at that point. Michael Brantley drove in a run with a double in the 5th, then drove in two more with another double in the 9th (after Cabrera drove one in just beforehand).
Tomlin has pitched some good games this year, but today he looked like the pitcher many fans were afraid he'd be. If the Indians are going to go with only four starters for the next three turns through the rotation, I'd rather see Zach McAllister up, but after being optioned the other day, he won't be eligible to come up for another week. Hopefully Tomlin rebounds, and hopefully the offense figures out how to put a few big games together. The Indians have a couple days off this week, but they're in the midst of an 8-game road trip out west. If a few things don't come together in a hurry, they could find themselves in a 9-game hole in a hurry, looking like an also ran as the season enters its second half.