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Cleveland 10, Detroit 5: Starting pitching woes are stuck on repeat

A meltdown inning by Ivan Nova doomed Detroit.

Cleveland Indians v Detroit Tigers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Who wins when an anemic offense meets lousy starting pitching? Apparently the offense, as Ivan Nova gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings in an eventual 10-5 loss to the Cleveland ball club.

Aaron Civale is a Cleves starting pitcher, so this year that means he’s been very solid. He wasn’t quite as dominant this time around, but it was enough: six innings, four runs, one walk, and a partridge in a pear tree. I’ll ask you this: how much would you pay for a start like that from a Tiger not named Spencer Turnbull?

Nova had a nice, uneventful, 1-2-3 first inning, but after a leadoff walk in the second to the very-walkable Carlos Santana, Franmil Reyes clubbed a gargantuan, 462-foot home run into the shrubbery beyond the centerfield fence to put Cleveland up 2-0. Would this be Nova’s freakout inning? The answer, as you’ll see, is no.

Jeimer Candelario continued his hot hitting by leading off the bottom of the second with an easy triple; a Willi Castro sacrifice fly cashed him in to make it 2-1.

JaCoby Jones led off the third with a double; Niko Goodrum’s fourth home run of the season quickly put the Tigers up 3-2. Victor Reyes then got into the Parade of Triples with one of his own, but despite being on third with none out, he didn’t score. Gotta get that run in, boys.

If you had “fourth inning” as Nova’s freakout inning, congrats, that’s a bingo. He gave up five runs, capped by a Domingo Santana home run, to put the Spiders up 7-3. A Delino DeShields single spelled the end of Nova’s day, and Daniel Norris made his second relief appearance of the year. Cleveland batted around and a single eventually scored DeShields, which dug the Tigers’ hole a little deeper still.

Norris settled things down in the fifth, and Kyle Funkhouser came on for the sixth. Funkhouser had three solid outings coming into this game, and despite a walk to Sandy Leon, his inning was pretty clean. But, with Norris working almost two innings today, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that Ful-Nor won’t happen on Sunday:

Singles in the sixth by Candelario, Willi Castro and Austin Romine cut the deficit to 8-4. Speaking of the aforementioned Castro, his season is coming along quite nicely: his single in the sixth raised his average for the season to .667. He’s also been playing a sparkling third base, despite being new to the position. Hall of Fame, here we come? I think we’ve seen enough evidence for a “yes,” and balderdash to your “small sample size” baloney.

Funkhouser’s second inning of work wasn’t quite so tidy. A pair of walks both came around to score on a triple by Tyler Naquin, which spelled the end of the day for Funkhouser. Carson Fulmer came on with the intent to dispatch Bradley Zimmer, an endeavour for which he rather briskly fulfilled his duty. Fulmer’s following frame found fellows on second and third, but he wiggled out of trouble with a strikeout of Francisco Lindor.

Beau Burrows pitched a nice ninth, and Cameron Maybin hit a home run. Welcome back, Cam!

Numbers, Notes and Miscellanies

  • On average, batters in the American League see 62% strikes. This year, Carlos Santana is seeing around 50%... which explains his .444 on-base percentage despite having a .182 batting average. Smooth.
  • The new plan for the St. Louis Cardinals is for them to play 53 games in 42 days, with two off days. They’re using a “convoy” of 41 rental cars to drive up to Chicago for their series, which is starting Saturday. That whole thing is just bananas.
  • Delino DeShields wears number 0 for Cleveland. When I was a kid I always thought wearing single-zero would be pretty cool. Now? Ehhh. It’s a little too intentionally-hipster-doofus for me.
  • This is the Negro Leagues weekend for the Tigers. Word is the Tigers will be wearing the Detroit Stars uniforms on Sunday, and for my money, I’m not sure there’s a better uniform out there.
  • Happy 70th birthday to Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson.
  • Today is the 17th anniversary of the big northeastern North American blackout of 2003. Remember who caused it? OHIO. I rest my case.