Having won 10 of 11 and fresh off a four game sweep of Oakland, the Tribe headed north to the Motor City looking to stay hot for a weekend series against the AL Central leading Tigers. The Tigers however wanted no part of succumbing to the Indians’ winning ways and thumped the Tribe 10-4 with Max Scherzer getting the win and Corey Kluber picking up the loss.
The Indians jumped out to an early lead in the top of the 1st with a two out double from Nick Swisher, scoring Jason Kipnis who also doubled earlier in the inning. The lead didn’t last long as the Tigers tagged Indians’ starter Corey Kluber for three runs in the bottom half of the second.
Prince Fielder extended Detroit’s leadto 4-1 in the forth with a monster solo shot off the brick wall passed the stands in right center. ESPN Stats Inc. measured the homer at an astounding 460 feet.
The Tribe answered back thanks to Swisher’s one out triple in the top of the fourth and Santana’s ground out that scored him. Swisher would finish the day with 3 hits, a home run shy of the cycle.
In the bottom half of the inning with Detroit leading 4-2, last year’s Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera clubbed a deep three run homer extending the Tigers lead to five. The lead would move to six as Alex Avila singled in Johnny Peralta in the fifth, giving the Tigers runs in four straight innings.
Reynolds and Brantley would each knock in runs for Cleveland in the 7th, but the Indians two runs were matched by the Tigers who chipped in a run in both the 7th and 8th giving Detroit the 10-4 win.
For as much fun as it has been to watch a major league lineup clicking these last few weeks, I quickly remembered the Tribe do not have the hitters Detroit have. Few teams possess a lineup featuring scarier hitters than the likes of Jackson, Hunter, Cabrera, Fielder, and Martinez. It was simply awesome watching Reynolds send a ball up the Progressive Field bleachers a couple games ago, but unfortunately they have guys who can do that to. Fielder’s shot measured in at about the same distance of 460 ft as Reynolds’ blast from earlier in the week, and Cabrera’s homer to left center was also a no doubter.
Starting pitching is still a HUGE need for this team. For this to be a playoff team and beat contenders like Detroit, the Indians are going to need more than Corey Kluber at the bottom of this rotation. Everyone knew starting pitching would be the weakness of this team and despite the winning ways of late, it is still a huge issue.
Despite the loss, the Indians still sit just two games back of Detroit for the AL Central lead with two more games to go on the weekend. The team bounced back well after having their five game win streak snapped at the beginning of the week by turning around and completing a four game sweep of the A’s. It’s critical to once again get back to winning ways as soon as possible to keep momentum going strong.
While May is far too early to make grand assumptions, how Ubaldo and the Tribe respond on Saturday night will go a long way in determining my feelings for this team’s future.