Indians crush Tigers to make it 11 in a row
Cleveland — When a team is beating you up game after game after game, at some point you have to stand up for yourself. You have to actively participate in reversing your own fortune.
The Tigers clearly aren’t to that point yet.
The Indians put another whupping on them Tuesday, 12-1. That’s 11 in a row. The Tigers have led for exactly one-half inning in those games, while being outscored 77-24.
Eventually, the kid on the beach who keeps getting sand kicked in his face rises up and confronts his tormentor, right?
“Absolutely,” said Mike Aviles, who started at third base in place of a flu-ridden Nick Castellanos. “That’s how it is. We’ve lost 11 straight games against them. It does stink. I am not going to lie. I don’t know anybody in here that wants to lose any game. It’s not fun.
“But they outplayed us. There’s no better way to put it. They outplayed us…We’ve got to make some adjustments. Figure out ways to scrape out a win tomorrow.”
The Indians roughed up Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez for the second time in 10 days and the fourth time this season — seven runs, five hits, four walks. They then further roughed up relievers Buck Farmer (three runs, four hits, three walks) and Mark Lowe (two runs and four hits).
Lonnie Chisenhall had four hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs. Tyler Naquin and Carlos Santana homered. And the Tigers retaliated with three singles off starter Carlos Carrasco, four total.
It wasn’t, and hasn’t been, a fair fight.
“I don’t know what to say other than they kicked our butts tonight,” manager Brad Ausmus said.
He was asked if any part of the Indians’ dominance over his team was baffling to him.
“There’s nothing that’s baffling,” he said. “They’ve outplayed us. There’s nothing baffling about that. They’ve pitched better and they’ve hit better. It’s as simple as that.”
Yet, the Tigers contributed to their own demise Tuesday with seven walks, poor outfield defense and one questionable baserunning play. They also didn’t offer much push-back.
“We maybe need to get to their starting pitcher a little quicker,” Aviles said. “When their starters get a chance to settle in and settle in quick, it can make for a tough night for the offense.”
The Tigers had two chances to get at Carrasco before things got out of hand.
In the second inning they actually got a favorable bounce when the game was still scoreless. With two outs, Aviles hit a ground ball that caromed off the bag at second, putting runners on first and second.
But James McCann’s long fly ball to center was caught on the warning track.
The Indians responded with two quick runs in the bottom of the second.
Down 4-0, the Tigers’ first two hitters walked in the fifth. McCann again hit the ball a long way — this one caught on the track in left. The runners didn’t advance.
Jose Iglesias followed with what should have been a fielder’s choice grounder to second. It was hit too softly, a broken-bat one-hopper, to double-up Iglesias at first base. However, Steven Moya, the runner on second, froze on the hit and was an easy out at third.
It was a 4-6-5 double play.
“It was a line drive that didn’t reach the infielder and he wasn’t sure it was going to be caught or not,” Ausmus said. “That’s a little bit of a tough read. He hedged on whether he should be running or not.”
It got worse for Moya and the Tigers in the bottom of the fifth. With a runner on first and one out, Francisco Lindor hit a sinking liner that Moya misplayed into an RBI double. He seemed uncertain whether to try for a shoestring catch or dive. He dived too late and the ball got by him on the fly and went to the wall.
The Indians scored three runs and chased Sanchez in the inning.
“He is a young kid,” Ausmus said of Moya. “There’s a learning curve for young kids when they get to the major league level.”
The only real fire exhibited by the Tigers came in the top of the sixth when Miguel Cabrera was ejected by first base ump Tim Timmons.
Cabrera hit a pitch off his left shin and it bounded to third base. Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ruled it a fair ball. Cabrera couldn’t believe it. He never left the batter's box. Ian Kinsler, who was on first base, was safe at second, but second baseman Jason Kipnis relayed to first and Cabrera was ruled out.
Ausmus flew out of the dugout and got between Cabrera and Baker, and he convinced the umpires to at least confer on the play. Video replays clearly showed the ball was hit off Cabrera’s shin but the play was not reviewable.
“They said they didn’t see it as hitting his leg and it’s not a reviewable play,” Ausmus said. “I am sure they will look at it later and say they made a mistake. It happens.”
After the umpires confirmed the out call, Cabrera broke away and went after Timmons — this time earning his eighth career ejection.
“I was trying (to shield Cabrera),” Ausmus said. “But I can’t defend all three umpires at once. Or, I should say, I can’t defend Miggy from all three umpires at once. The silver lining is, we have an early game (Wednesday) and he would have been out of the game at some point anyway.”
The 11 straight losses is the club’s longest losing streak against a division foe in their history.
“That stuff doesn’t go through your mind when the game starts,” Ausmus said. “It’s a new game and anybody can win on any given day. When we take the field tomorrow, I promise you these guys won’t be thinking about the previous games.”
Maybe they should be.