Game 11 Postgame: Indians 3, Tigers 2
Wednesday night’s game started off badly, then looked better, then looked even better, then ended in a somewhat disappointing fashion.
Anibal Sanchez averted a near-disaster after starting the game with back-to-back-to-back walks (the Research Department tells us he has only given up 10 leadoff walks his entire career; it is holding out on whether he has ever started a game with 3 consecutive before; but in fact he is averaging only 11 first inning walks per season). But he got the dangerous Carlos Santana to change his evil ways and ground into a DP.
The second inning started just as badly: Cabrera booted a play at first, and Sanchez followed it up with yet another walk. Gomes cleared the bases with a triple and Detroit was down quickly 3-1. Sanchez found his groove though, retiring the next 9 in a row, and striking out 5 of the last 7 batters he faced. The bullpen (Reed/Krol/Alburquerque/Chamberlain) was strong and shut them out over the last innings. Aside from the shaky start, the pitching was solid.
And the hitting wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t timely. There were 4 Tigers with 2 hits, but they just couldn’t combine them in a way that turned into runs. The game-tying run was left on 3rd with 1 out, and that was that.
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Game 12 Pregame:
This is the lucite game of the weather-shortened two-game series. Don’t worry, we will see plenty of Cleveland later.
As Detroit faces another right-handed pitcher this afternoon, there has been some concern and frustration that Detroit can’t find another left-handed bat for the lineup. And certainly there are times when it would be good to be able to go to a lefty: some pitchers are particularly tough on guys of their own persuasion. But after hearing an announcer say that Detroit has trouble with right-handed pitching this season, I looked at the numbers and it doesn’t really work out the way I expected. Here is the general breakdown:
vs RHP .251 BA .707 OPS
vs LHP .267 BA .756 OPS
But when we look at who is doing what we see:
RHB vs RHP .270 BA .763 OPS
LHB vs RHP .200 BA .557 OPS
In other words, it’s the left-handed batters in the lineup who are struggling with right-handed pitching. In fact, the Tiger right-handed batters are 4th best in the league right now against right-handed pitchers–and that’s with Miguel Cabrera having the slowest start of his career. I think the Tigers will do fine against right-handers, and it would be a mistake to add just anybody to the lineup for the sole reason that he swings the other way. This applies mostly in left where platoon-bait Rajai Davis has been going against career norms and hitting .281 against RHP, and adding a real threat on the bases (and a good glove in left also).
Today’s Same-as-Yesterday Lineup:
DET P: Justin Verlander (RHP)
CLE P: Danny Salazar (RHP) The Tigers will be facing some heat this afternoon with Danny Salazar on the mound. You may still remember the game last August when Salazar struck out Miguel Cabrera 3 times. Salazar faced the Tigers again in September, but Cabrera sat out. So this is the re-match, and should be one worth watching.