What exactly is it about the Cleveland Indians that allows them to get to the Tigers so thoroughly season after season. Yes, they have a talented team, but the 2020 Indians are not the 2016 Indians, so it’s remarkable how well they manage to get to the Tigers season after season, and this year (and this game) are no different.
Casey Mize took the mound to start the evening, and unfortunately while he has shown signs throughout the latter half of the season of the quality Tigers fans hope to see from him, he seems to be somewhat outmatched — for right now — by major league caliber batters.
For the Mize panic crowd, I wouldn’t let this worry anyone. It’s his rookie season and a perfect time for him to test the waters, and the stuff has been present enough that with a little more time and experience he should find his footing.
Last night’s game, however, was not a great outing for him. He went 3.2 innings, giving up five runs (only three earned) on four hits, but the three walks and two home runs with only a single strikeout certainly didn’t help much.
Things were rough right from the get-go as Jose Ramirez took Mize yard right in the first inning. Mize seemed to find his balance a little more through the second and third innings which went 1-2-3 with quite a few groundouts. Where things fell apart for Mize was in the fourth.
A Cesar Hernandez single put a man on, then Ramirez hit a two-run home run to bring the score to 3-0. Santana walked, then Tyler Naquin singled to put two men on. Roberto Perez then walked to load the bases. Oscar Mercado grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Carlos Santana, and then an error by Isaac Paredes allowed Perez to advance to second and Naquin to arrive safely at third. Francisco Lindor walked (the third of the inning if you’re keeping count), Naquin scored, and the Tigers had no choice but to bring in bullpen relief and Nick Ramirez closed out the inning with the Indians ahead 5-0.
They probably should have just stuck with Nick Ramirez because they game went cleanly for the next several innings until the seventh, when they brought in Jordan Zimmermann. Hernandez singled, Ramirez doubled to advance Hernandez to third, Santana walked to load the bases and I’m sure you can see what direction this is going. A Franmil Reyes single scored both Hernandez and Ramirez, then a Naquin groundout allowed Santana to score, bringing the Indians to 8-0.
Zimmermann stayed in the game for the eighth, and the Indians struck again. A Josh Naylor single started the inning, then Hernandez doubled to score Naylor and Ramirez reached on an infield single allowing Naylor to score. The only good news here is that these are the last runs the Indians scored in the game, with a 10-0 lead. Rony Garcia replaced Zimmermann to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth the Tigers decided enough was enough and a shutout game wasn’t going to happen. Paredes doubled, then advanced to third on a wild pitch from Indians starter Shane Bieber. Pinch hitter Derek Hill walked, then Willi Castro hit a three-run home run to bring them all home.
The remainder of the game was uneventful, but at least the Tigers fought back a little at the end.