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Cleveland 5, Detroit 2: Could someone please wake up the bats?

Cleveland swept the Detroiters as José Ureña had another shaky start and the offense slumbered rather than lumber.

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The first two matches of the Cleveland-Detroit series were ugly, lopsided affairs in favour of the Cleves. Going into today, the question on the minds of the Detroit Tigers faithful was, Will the rubber-match contest be any different?

In a word: sort-of. While the Ohioans’ score didn’t dabble in double-digitry this time, the Michiganders’ bats stayed silent and the Tigers slid to 3-6 on the season with a 5-2 loss.

The Tigers made the first notch on the board, with a Jeimer Candelario single scoring Robbie Grossman. After a Wilson Ramos walk to load the bases, the “sad trombone” was cued-up as Jonathan Schoop stepped into the batter’s box, and was summarily played as Schoop struck out to end the inning.

Meanwhile, Tigers starter José Ureña had an uneventful first inning, but caught a case of “the wilds” in the second, bouncing pitches like a cricket bowler. A double and a pair of walks filled the bags with one out; a Jake Bauers ground ball was too softly-tapped for a twin-killing, with Eddie Rosario crossing the plate to knot the score. Ureña escaped further damage by inducing a foul pop-up to finish the frame. Also, this:

Cleveland starter Logan Allen had a long first inning but, in the style of his pitching colleagues this series, settled down considerably. Allen’s final line: 5 innings, 2 hits, 5 whiffs.

In the third, a Cesar Hernandez single followed an Andres Gimenez double to put the Cleveland ballclub up 2-1. Ureña escaped further damage; after a soft ground ball he fielded himself for an out, he induced a sharp grounder for a 6-4-3 double play. Ureña lasted until two outs in the fifth, giving up only three hits and striking out four, but walking five, the last of which was Jose Ramirez, his final batter. Daniel Norris finished the fifth, then gave up a run in the sixth to make it 3-1 for the home squad.

Bryan Shaw threw plenty of cutters in the sixth inning, the only one he worked for Cleveland. Wilson Ramos greeted Nick Wittgren to start the seventh with a solo shot to tally the Tigers’ second run, narrowing the gap to 3-2.

José Cisnero had a much less eventful pitching outing than his fellow José, getting three outs in the seventh on three weak outfield fly balls. Cisnero’s season so far has been quiet but mostly solid; coming into today he’d appeared in three games and going four innings, giving up one run and striking out six with no walks. Here’s hoping he can keep building on the solid 2020 he had (29 appearances, 29 23 innings, 3.03 ERA, 1.112 WHIP).

James Karinchak must be a big Wayne Gretzky fan, as he sports the #99 for the Buckeyes. No matter the sport he’s honouring, nobody can doubt Mr. K’s success at striking batters out; last year, in 27 innings, he whiffed a gaudy 53 men. On the flipside, he also issued 16 bases on balls; indeed, Grossman earned a free pass to start the eighth. Willi Castro, Niko Goodrum and the newcomer, Renato Nunez, all struck out afterwards, and Karinchak thus fulfilled his obvious destiny.

Cisnero’s eighth began with a walk to Jose Ramirez, and Eddie Rosario’s single pushed him to third. A wayward throw by Nomar Mazara allowed Rosario to advance to second. Franmil Reyes’ single to right produced a second terrible throw by Mazara, and Cisnero, backing up behind the plate, corralled the throw and made a terrible toss of his own. When the dust settled the Spiders were up 5-2, Cisnero was sent to the showers, and AJ Hinch’s philosophy of “run prevention” through pitching and defence, honed in Houston, was put to yet another test. Gregory Soto came on to try and limit the damage, and he did his best James Karinchak impression: he walked Josh Naylor, then struck out the next three batters.

Emmanual Clase, of the 101 mph average fastball this year (eep) came on to try and close it out in the ninth. Jeimer Candelario walked to lead off the inning, then Ramos struck out on a 100.3 mph cutter. A double-play grounder end the game, and the series.

A Public Service Announcement

Bring on the Robot Umps

Pitch #2 to Ahmed Rosario was not a “strike,” you say?

A selection of minutiae

  • Akil Baddoo and Niko Goodrum both grew up in cities in Georgia of about 15,000 people, roughly a half-hour’s drive outside Atlanta. Each of them both have four-letter first names, and surnames with two o’s.
  • Coming into today’s game, Jonathan Schoop was 3-for-23 for a .130/.192/.130 slash line and an OPS of .323. We gotta get Schoopy goin’, folks.
  • For the rest of the road trip (Houston and Oakland), the Tigers’ radio broadcasters will call the games from the booth at Comerica Park, to minimize travel. Jim Price didn’t make the trip to Cleveland; Dan Dickerson was accompanied on the broadcast by a different beat writer for the middle innings (today it was Chris McCosky from the Detroit News).
  • Today is the birthday of retired baseball players Kelvim Escobar, Trot Nixon, Bret Saberhagen and Jason Varitek. At press time, the Tigers are not yet looking to sign any of the aforementioned to fill a gaping roster hole.