Detroit Tigers offense struggles again as Cleveland Indians cap sweep
Cleveland – After three straight defeats that saw offensive battle and both Julio Tehran (shoulder) and Miguel Cabrera (biceps strain) losing in consecutive days after just three games in a 10-game trip, it would be for them Tigers have been easy to pull tail in the series finale against Indian Sunday.
Except that her manager wouldn’t let her.
“It’s not been a great week for us, but if your chin is already down and you’re already defeated after eight games, that’s a problem,” said AJ Hinch before the game.
The fighting level was unfortunately not the problem for the Tigers on Sunday. However, the offense continued. It remains in a dormant state as the Indians completed the three-game sweep at Progressive Field 5-2.
BOX SCORE: INDIANS 5, TIGERS 2
The Tigers, who finished last in the American League in runs, went 13 to 91 in the series.
“Things only pile up if you bring them with you,” said Hinch after the game. “Of course, if you start over every day, I don’t think things will pile up. We didn’t give ourselves the best chance of winning on some fronts today. But that had nothing to do with yesterday or the day before yesterday.
“It’s about today.”
There are only nine games in the season and fewer than 40 bats per player. And when they competed six times against the Indians and three times against the twins, they had to face an oppressive pitching. But the reality is that the Tigers don’t line up hits or have many scoring chances.
“I don’t see the game that way,” said Hinch. “I’m looking at it on an individual play basis. And the lesson that came out today was that the critical bats for them ended up in contact and runs and we had many critical bats in swing and failure.
“They won these bats by getting the ball into play and giving themselves a chance to score.”
A ground ball to Jake Bauers’ second base scored a run in the second inning. A slap single from Cesar Hernandez scored a second run – both from starter Jose Urena, who only scored those two runs in 4.2 innings.
A double-play grounder from Amed Rosario scored the third run in the sixth off-reliever Daniel Norris.
Conversely, the Tigers struck five times with runners in the goal position.
“Look, we just have to flush it,” said Robbie Grossman, who came on the base twice and has been on the base in 17 of 33 record appearances this season. “Just come back tomorrow and play our bums off. It’s three difficult games but it’s over.
“Just show up tomorrow – new series, new chance to win a series.”
The Tigers’ best chance of picking up a crooked number was in the first inning. They had Indian starter Logan Allen on the ropes. They had already scored a run with a Jeimer Candelario single and loaded the bases with two outs.
But Allen got Jonathan Schoop on his 33rd pitch of the inning to swing through a raised slider to end the inning.
Allen then set quick zeros through the fifth inning, allowing only one hit before handing it over to a well-rested bullpen who limited the Tigers to two hits the rest of the way.
One of those hits was a solo home run by catcher Wilson Ramos in the seventh. It was his fourth win of the season, and significantly, all four came with empty bases.
“At some point we have to talk (to the team) because we need more energy out there,” said Ramos. “We’ll keep our heads up. It’s difficult right now, but we have to keep fighting.”
The tigers went off the rails in the eighth. Jose Cisnero went to Jose Ramirez and then gave the singles to Eddie Rosario and Franmil Reyes, both in the right field. Nomar Mazara, the Tigers’ right outfield player, mistakenly threw the third base on the first mistake and threw an unnecessary throw on the plate on the second.
“We have to keep challenging ourselves and holding ourselves accountable at a high level and playing baseball for profit,” said Hinch. “And we have to hold ourselves accountable when we make mistakes.
“If we look at this weekend, we have a lot to do and a lot to take with us to make better progress.”
Hinch said he did not accept moral victories or silver linings. Just learn from today and move on to tomorrow. Which won’t be easier. Next stop is Houston, where the Tigers Hitter will face off against three stingy, battle-hardened right-handers – Zack Greinke, Jake Odorizzi and Lance McCullers, Jr.
“That is the challenge of the big leagues,” said Hinch. “They expect to face these challenges every day, especially against the good teams.”
Monday will be a different challenge for Hinch too. It is the first time he has returned to Houston as a visit manager.
“I didn’t let myself go there emotionally,” said Hinch, who had five successful seasons and led the Astros to the 2017 World Series title. “I’ll probably do it tonight when we get into town and go to a hotel I’ve never stayed as a visitor. It’s my home so there will be a lot of emotion.
“But they are a really good team in competition and they pose a lot of challenges. I know you very well. I was around her. I know they got off to a good start. For me personally it will be a different journey, but we have to go after them and attack them. “