Detroit entered this game with a decent chance to come away with a win. With Spencer Turnbull on the mound and facing an underperforming Indians lineup, the only major hurdle is generating hits off their consistently terrific pitching. As you might expect, that proved a problem as the Tigers fell by a score of 3-1.
The first two innings were uneventful for both teams. Bieber kept his hands on the reins and despite giving up contact, the only real threat was a Schoop double. Turnbull also prevented the Indians from getting on the board, but that was fated to change quickly.
Turnbull, whose performance is key considering the Tigers exhausted pitching staff, nearly lost his footing in the third inning by walking the first two Cleveland batters he faced. It’s never a good sign to start a frame with two walks — especially when the hitters in question were batting .081 and .119, respectively. Tigers Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief when he induced an inning ending double play from Franmil Reyes and exited the ordeal, but not before allowing two runs to score.
Bieber continued to show no mercy to the Tigers’ batters and the umpiring crew helped out as well. He hit his groove and struck out four in a row before Niko Goodrum drew a walk to become the first baserunner of the evening for the home team. The Tigers shortstop immediately scampered to second, and got to third, but Bieber struck out yet another Tiger to kill the potential rally before it was able to get off the ground.
Turnbull composed himself and was able to keep the Indians from widening the gap, but he was distinctly on the shorter side of tonight’s pitching duel. He began the fifth inning already 76 pitches deep and had only struck out two hitters. Bieber, on the other hand, was really sinking his teeth into this game. By the end of the fourth inning, he’d struck out eight batters and had no intentions of slowing down.
The fifth inning was the end of the night for Turnbull. He lacked efficiency all evening and crested the 90-pitch mark facing Francisco Lindor in an at-bat that ended in the Tigers’ starter’s third strikeout of the night. He was replaced by John Schreiber with two outs after Carlos Santana doubled on an ill-advised fastball away to drive in Jose Ramirez.
Schreiber has been a reliable component so far in the Tigers lockdown bullpen, which is a sentence I never thought I’d write. He’s yet to be scored on in six appearances and quickly ended the inning with a flyout.
A blessedly uneventful top of the six inning was followed by a frustratingly uneventful bottom of the sixth inning, and the Tigers placed the game in Jose Cisnero’s hands to begin the seventh. With a batter on first and second, Lindor smoked a low line drive directly to first base, which Candelario snagged and lunged to apply the tag, but Jose Ramirez somehow managed to bend around his outstretched glove and get back safe. It didn’t matter in the end because Cisnero promptly struck out Carlos Santana.
Singles from Schoop and Christin Stewart sandwiched a Jeimer Candelario out, but the Tigers were finally finding the chinks in Bieber’s armor. With a pitch count approaching the century mark and the tying run at the plate, the inning ended unceremoniously with a double play, once again killing the rally before it began.
Because we can’t have nice things, Bryan Garcia was brought on to pitch and instantly crumbled. Two walks and an error later, the bases were loaded and Rony Garcia was pitching in the bullpen. Bryan Garcia stayed tough, buckled down, pulled himself up by the bootstraps, dug in, ground out some challenge pitches, racked his mind for more cliches, and managed to escape the jam.
Bieber was finally lifted from the game, but Detroit hitters didn’t take advantage. The suddenly anemic lineup fell in order to Nick Wittgren, who has been extraordinary since being traded to Cleveland. Rony Garcia took the mound in relief to pitch the ninth, dispatching the Cleveland hitters in order thanks to a Candelario diving play.
Detroit’s final opportunity to score came against Brad Hand, who was able to lock in a win for Cleveland. A run-scoring JaCoby Jones double with two men on made things exciting, but that was where the excitement ended. The Tribe squandered a number of opportunities to turn this game into a bonafide blowout, but in the end, it didn’t matter thanks to the Detroit offense turning in a pitiful effort against one of the best starters in the league.
Tweet of the Game
Spencer Turnbull allowed 3 ER in 4.2 IP today.— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) August 15, 2020
The Tigers' ERA from starting pitchers drops from 7.47 to 7.36