Covering the Bases: Game 56

Final:

Tigers 7, Indians 5

FIRST: Derek Lowe slammed a small cooler into the ground inside the dugout on Thursday afternoon after losing an argument with manager Manny Acta. Well, maybe calling it an argument is taking it a step too far. Let’s go with “discussion.” Either way, Lowe lost, and the cooler paid the price.

The debate stemmed from Lowe’s desire to remain in the game for Cleveland after throwing just 80 pitches in five innings. The only issue was he had yielded seven runs on nine hits already and the Indians were in a 7-1 hole.

Lowe tried to make his case, but Acta turned to his bullpen.

“That’s his job and I respect him for the fact that we had a conversation,” Lowe said. “Obviously, I lost, but you’ve got to respect his decision. My frustration had nothing to do with him. If it’s not 7-1, we’re not even having that conversation. He allowed me to speak my mind and I lost.”

Acta also allowed Lowe to pitch five innings, and he lost.

The Tigers used a similar approach as the White Sox did three outings ago, when Lowe gave up eight runs in a 2 1/3-inning disaster. Detroit’s hitters were in attack mode in the first inning, slicing Lowe’s sinker to the opposite field whenever they had the chance.

Four runs, five hits and one wild pitch made it 4-0 Tigers after one inning.

“They had a good approach against him in the first inning,” Acta said. “He was staying away and they were just shooting the ball the other way — leties and righties. The only balls he allowed in the air that hurt him was in that fourth inning.”

In the fourth, Lowe fell behind 3-0 to Brennan Boesch before giving up an RBI double. The sinkerballer then gave up a two-run home run to right field to slugger Miguel Cabrera. Just like that, Cleveland was in a hole too deep to overcome.

Lowe plans on studying Detroit’s plan and making the proper adjustments.

“If you’re going to pitch bad,” Lowe said, “You better learn something from it.”

SECOND: Acta’s move to the bullpen turned out to be a good move, considering Soctty Barnes and Jeremy Accardo combined to give the Tribe three shutout innings. That bought time for the offense to mount a comeback and tip o’ the cap to the lineup for doing all they could before Detroit turned to Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde.

Cleveland scored three off lefty Casey Crosby and then added a pair against relievers Brayan Villareal and Phil Coke. With two outs, the Tribe strung together four straight hits, including a two-run double from Asdrubal Cabrera that pulled the Tribe within two runs.

Alas…

THIRD: Jose Lopez was unable to keep the rally going with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh inning. He drilled a high fastball to deep center field, where baseballs go to die at Comerica Park. Quintin Berry made a wrong turn on his route, but he quickly corrected his footing and made a leaping grab to end the inning.

“It just kind of cut back around and I took a bad route at it,” Berry explained. “But it was able to hang up enough that I got to it. They keep finding me to go right over my head. I knew it was coming, too. I keep getting these funky routes to them, but I get to them. That’s all I care about.”

Off the bat, Acta thought Lopez had extra bases.

“It wasn’t that high, so I thought it had a chance to go over his head,” Acta said. “But, Berry, he’s very athletic and fast back there. He can make up ground pretty quick. He recovered pretty good and made the catch. This is a very spacious center field.”

HOME: The four runs that Lowe allowed in the first inning upped Cleveland’s American League-leading total to 49 runs surrendered in first innings this season. That moved the Tribe into a tie with the Astros for the most first-inning runs allowed on the year. That puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on the offense and, more often than not, puts added pressure on the starter and bullpen, who are constantly working from behind. It’s not a surprise that the Indians are 5-18 in games in which their opponent scores in the first inning.

On deck:

Indians (30-26) at Cardinals (29-28)*
at 8:15 p.m. ET on Friday at Busch Stadium

*Does not include Thursday’s result

NOTE: I will not be making the trip to St. Louis, so “Covering the Bases” will be on a three-day break until I meet up with the team in Cincinnati on Tuesday. In the meantime, keep checking Indians.com and make sure you’re following @Indians on Twitter for updates.

–JB

1 Comment

Would you mind finding out what’s up with Kevin Slowey at Columbus. I am a long time follower and he has been on 7 day disabled list for THREE weeks. Thanks.

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