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Indians 8, Tigers 2: Jordan Zimmermann plagued with home runs in loss

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The Tigers pitching staff struggled to keep the Indians’ offense at bay.

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Well folks, the Tigers are no longer in first place of the American League Central Division. The Cleveland Indians handed the Detroit Tigers an 8-2 defeat at Comerica Park in the opener of a three-game series between the intradivision rivals, as the two clubs currently battle for the top spot in the AL Central.

Former Tigers outfielder Leonys Martin led off the game with a second-pitch jack to the right field seats in his first return to Comerica Park since he was traded to the Tribe for Willi Castro last year. It was a dark foreshadowing of what was yet to come on the day.

The Tigers answered in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Niko Goodrum, despite an awful strike call on Miguel Cabrera with runners on second and third bases and no outs that ultimately led to a strikeout. See for yourself the egregious call below.

Zimmermann would get tagged with a homerun again in the top of the second off the bat of Brad Miller that brought in two more runs. The Tigers put runners on the corners in the bottom of the third, only to see Niko Goodrum strike out, Jeimer Candelario draw a walk, and Christin Stewart end the threat with a sharp flyout. We’ve all seen this movie before, haven’t we Tigers fans?

The next few frames were unremarkable, other than the inner anatomy of Parrish’s nostrils as seen on the broadcasted Skype chat, until Roberto Perez opened the fifth inning with a leadoff dinger. Zimmermann walked Brad Miller, who stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by Grayson Greiner, and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Eric Stamets. Zimm would leave the game with a stat line of 4.1 innings pitched, allowing five runs — all earned — on four hits and two walks, with four strikeouts, and three home runs allowed.

The Tigers answered in the bottom of the inning with a single by Nicholas Castellanos, followed by an RBI double from Miguel Cabrera. And that score was responded to with yet another inning lead-off home run in the top of the sixth, this time off the bat of Jake Bauers.

In the top of the seventh, the Tigers gave up a couple more runs on a lead-off double by Roberto Perez followed by a single and an error off Reed Garrett; an error by Mikie Mahtook, who ran right by the sharply-hit ball, allowed both Cleveland players to score on the play.

The remainder of the game provided very little in the way of excitement, save for a Drew VerHagen appearance — his first of the 2019 season. He handled the Indians with a clean inning in the top of the ninth in his debut. The Tigers made things interesting with a two-out double by Jordy Mercer in the bottom of the ninth, but left him stranded at second to end the game.

The loss puts the Tigers a half-game back of the AL Central lead. They also gave up the most amount of runs surrendered so far this season, which is not the best way to start the series with their intradivision rivals.

Players Only broadcast gets low marks

The match today featured the first “players only” television broadcast approach on Fox Sports Detroit, and it was... interesting. I am not sure how many times the viewers will want to hear the gang reminisce upon the “good old days” while also going off on deer-hunting tangents, but there are only sixteen more left to go this season. Yay?

While I am on the topic, can I please make one request? No more Skype calls on the broadcast. That was simply brutal, and I did not need to know the exact number of nasal hairs Lance Parrish has. The audio quality was poor and was not synchronized correctly with Lance’s mouth movements. He deserves better than that.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the game

Good: The top of the Tigers batting order. Josh Harrison went 2-5 and Miguel Cabrera went 2-4, with Nick Castellanos also chipping in a hit, accounting for both runs and one RBI.

Bad: The Tigers were just not able to fully capitalize on what appeared to be a diminished version of Corey Kluber (despite the expanded strike zone). Even though the club is off to a hot start in the win column, the offense still feels like it is stalled out. These results today are not terribly surprising, however.

Ugly: Jordan Zimmermann caught a bad case of homeritis today, and fortunately for him two were of the solo variety and one came with only a single runner on base. Otherwise, it could have been really ugly.

Performance of the Game: Or lack thereof. The broadcast team was a beautiful disaster that I am not entirely sure how I feel about just yet.

Up next

The Tigers will face-off against the Indians in the second game of their three game series tomorrow at the same time, at the same place. Trevor Bauer will take to the hill opposite of Matt Boyd in what should be an exciting match up. Check back in with Bless You Boys and we’ll do this again!