Cleveland Indians: 3 Takeaways From a Rain-Shortened Loss

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Sep 28, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Coco Crisp (4) reacts after a strikeout during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Game called for bad weather after 5 innings. Tigers win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Coco Crisp (4) reacts after a strikeout during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Game called for bad weather after 5 innings. Tigers win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cleveland Indians lost to the Detroit Tigers for the second night in a row, but this time the game did not make it a full nine innings.

The rain was coming down all night long, but the Cleveland Indians found themselves behind when the weather became too much to play through in last night’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

Whether last night’s game should have been played or not is a debate that may be more intense if the Indians were still fighting for the division title, but it was clear the conditions were not ideal for a baseball game.

The Indians entered the bottom of the fifth inning tied with the Tigers, but a Miguel Cabrera three-run home run gave his Tigers a 6-3 lead while the rain continued to fall. His home run was enough to give the Tigers the lead in a complete game, which was declared final after just five innings.

The loss puts the Indians 2.5 games back of the Texas Rangers for the top overall record in the AL, and with only five games left the Tribe would likely have to win out to get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

On to the takeaways:

The Benefits of the Five-Inning Game

Having already clinched the division, the Indians need to catch up on some rest before the postseason begins. And while the offense could have chipped away at the 6-3 lead and potentially won the game, the game may not have ended until early this morning if the delay had been extended.

With today’s 1:00 start, a late night would have done more harm than good for a team featuring several starters who have played in nearly every game this season.

The Home-Field Advantage Race

The multiple rain delays last night allowed fans to take part in the national pastime of scoreboard watching. The Rangers picked up a win over the Milwaukee Brewers, but the Boston Red Sox lost when Mark Teixeira hit a walk-off grand slam in his final week as a member of the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox still clinched the AL East last night, but the loss put the Indians just one game back of the second spot in the AL standings. While it would not give the Indians home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, playing the first postseason game at home would be a nice way to start if the Indians indeed met up against the Red Sox in the ALDS.

The Pitching Will Improve

After Mike Clevinger only made it two innings during Tuesday night’s game, Terry Francona tabbed Zach McAllister as the starter for last night’s game. He also only made it through two innings, although he was pulled after a rain delay.

Cody Anderson and Joe Colon came in and combined for the six runs given up by the staff, but this should not be any cause for concern.

Next: AL Manager of the Year Race

Francona is doing his best to save the best arms for the postseason, which is a smart move. He has plenty of playoff experience, and understands the team doesn’t have a great shot of winning home-field advantage in the AL. So while it may be tough to watch the pitching during the final four games of the season, all will be fine next Thursday when the ALDS begins.

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