The Tigers got absolutely nuked in Cleveland on Monday night. This was not a fun game to watch, and if there is any silver lining it would have to be that there were plenty of teachable moments for Tigers rookie starting pitcher Matt Manning. Making his third major league start and after two solid outings, Manning got absolutely drilled the Indians in this one. The Tigers lost 13-5, and the 13 runs that Cleveland scored were a season high for them.
This was a long and awful game to watch, but someone had to do it. The Tigers weren’t the only thing that got nuked, as I may have ruined my MacBook by trying to factory reset it to sell — I was typing this on my new laptop — so I kept myself busy with another awful task. However, there was one notable milestone that took place for the Tigers, and it was a positive one as well!
Miguel Cabrera, the greatest hitter the Tigers have ever had, launched career home run number 493, tying Hall of Famers Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig for 28th most in baseball history. Miggy has had a rough season to say the least, but he’s at the point in his career where every hit he tallies puts him higher up on lists among the all-time greats. On a night like this, getting to watch him continue to put his name in the record books is quite a treat. The Tigers are bad, but they could be just as bad without a living legend to appreciate.
The Indians jumped on the board in the first inning and never looked back. Manning got into a jam right away allowing the first two batters of the game to reach, and both came around to score. In the second inning, a Bradley Zimmer RBI single followed by a Austin Hedges two-run home run pushed Manning’s earned run total to five, more than he allowed in his first two major league starts combined. Sadly, the run barrage was far from over. After a clean third Manning was pounced on for four more runs, with a Jose Ramirez three-run home run serving as the finisher for his day.
Manning’s bad outing is a combination of a few factors. A fastball-heavy pitcher to begin with, he had a lot of trouble with his secondary stuff in his two other starts. The Indians were able to lock onto his fastball and tee off on it, while Manning struggled to spot the heater inside when called for. Another factor is advanced scouting. There are a couple games worth of crystal clear high definition game footage on him now. You can bet your bottom dollar that Terry Francona’s team took a look at that and keyed in on the fact that the fastball was likely the only pitch Manning was going to locate for strikes with consistency.
It’s also worth mentioning that Manning isn’t really supposed to be in this position. While being around Chris Fetter everyday will ultimately be good for his development, he wasn’t really ready for the show considering the way things have gone for him over the past year. Matt Manning simply needs to marinate a little bit longer in the minors before he’s ready to cook.
A bunch of other pitchers toed the rubber after Manning’s early exit, and most fared about as poorly as him. Miguel Del Pozo, Buck Farmer, Daniel Norris, and Tyler Alexander all got a crack at the Indians, and all but Alexander allowed runs. That gives you a lot of confidence going into these next two days where the scheduled starters are Jose Ureña and Mr. Bullpen Day.
The Tigers did hit three home runs on the evening, which was fun. Jake Rogers launched a two-run bomb as he continues to quietly put together a rock solid season, and Robbie Grossman pulled a solo shot out as well. Grossman finally hit a wall in June, so let’s hope the homer sets him up for a strong second half.
Another fun, random thing was the Bally cameras showing a group of Cleveland fans in the bleachers with their beer count piling up throughout the night. Matt Shepard made a “mom, the meatloaf,” Wedding Crashers reference when they showed them later in the game, which doesn’t actually make any sense given the context of the movie — Chazz is a 40-year-old who still lives at home and there isn’t much indication that he is a heavy drinker — but I’m easily amused by mid-2000’s Will Ferrell quotes regardless of whether or not the situation calls for it.