At times, baseball can be a very thought-provoking sport. There are layers upon layers of complexity, from a pitch sequence thrown to a certain hitter to where the infield should shift against a pull-happy lefthander. Pitching changes, lineup ordering, and roster construction are all scrutinized to the nth degree in today’s game. Often, a single game can come down to the smallest of factors, with one or two plays deciding who wins and who loses.
At its most basic level, baseball is a very simple game. Throw ball. Hit ball. One team did that much better than the other on Saturday. The Cleveland Indians lambasted Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers for 13 runs on 19 hits in a game that wasn’t as close as the final scoreline suggested. Verlander gave up a career-high nine runs in four-plus innings, including three home runs. Shane Greene wasn’t charged with an earned run, but allowed two inherited runners to score, the first of his career. Anibal Sanchez added insult to... well, insult, and allowed four more runs in three innings of mop-up duty.
The result was particularly unfortunate, as the Tigers finally did damage against Indians ace Corey Kluber. The Klubot malfunctioned in the middle innings, and allowed six runs on eight hits in 6 1⁄3 frames. Justin Upton hit his second home run of the season and drove in three of the six Tigers runs.
The offense: Scoring six runs in today’s game is no small feat. To do so against Corey Kluber and still not win is a crime.
Terry Francona: I’m not sure why Francona made Andrew Miller go back out for the eighth inning against the bottom of the Tigers order, but after 27 pitches he is not likely to be available for Sunday’s series finale.
Justin Verlander: His problems at Progressive Field once again reared their ugly head. Verlander put the Tigers in a 5-0 hole before they even cycled through their batting order. He only recorded 12 outs on 85 pitches.
Shane Greene: He was put into the game in a tough spot, entering with two on and no out. While he did not give up an earned run of his own, allowing those two inherited runners to score after the Tigers had cut the deficit was backbreaking.
Anibal Sanchez: There’s not much else to say at this point.
Stats and reactions:
- Justin Verlander allowed nine earned runs, the highest total of his career. He had previously allowed eight earned runs in five different games.
- Verlander’s ERA rose from 1.35 to 5.71 after Saturday’s game.
- Anibal Sanchez has pitched nine innings this season. He has allowed 15 runs.