Cleveland Indians: 3 takeaways from Saturday’s extra-innings loss to the Tigers

Panic-inducing games like this for the Cleveland Indians are meant to happen against the Astros, Red Sox or Yankees. Not the Tigers.

Well, that wasn’t fun. The Indians found another way to blow a game that they had a great chance to win, against an opponent that they shouldn’t lose to.

The Tigers have given the Indians headaches this year. After the Indians took it them in early April, the Tigers responded by taking a series from the Tribe in May, during the early days of their bullpen struggles.

Now the month of June brings on new, yet familiar trials for the Tribe. While this game goes as a loss for the Indians bullpen, it was the offense that managed to cost the Tribe this game. The Indians went 0-7 with runners in scoring position. That’s no way to win baseball games. But when your opponent goes 2-12 in that same stat, you have to take advantage of that.

Thankfully for the Indians, Corey Kluber is starting tomorrow. The likelihood of having to turn to their exhausted bullpen will be slim. With that said, here are the big takeaways from tonight’s tough loss.

Mike Clevinger was great but his pitch count wasn’t

It’s become a common theme for Mike Clevinger. He pitches some great games but tends to find trouble in the seventh and eight innings. Today was no different for Clev. He tossed 30 pitches in the first inning, causing his count to elevate early.

Despite his best efforts to keep his count down with some easy middle innings, he found trouble late. After loading the bases, Clevinger walked Jose Iglesias allowing the Tigers to go up by one in the eighth. Clevinger once again left with 100+ pitches in the eighth.

I mentioned in the series preview that Clevinger tends to run into trouble with these types of situations arising more frequently. That being said, if this is the worst of Clevinger’s issues in his very young career, then he has a very bright future ahead.

Fiers picked a good day to pitch a beauty for the Tigers

The Tigers pitching hasn’t been a model of efficiency by any means. But the 2018 Cleveland Indians can make anyone seem efficient on any given night thanks to their inconsistencies.

Mike Fiers may have allowed five hits against a powerful Indians lineup, but the Tribe couldn’t make him pay for it. Fiers ended his night with a no-decision, but he managed to strikeout eight and only walk three. Impressive numbers for a struggling pitcher.

The Indians went 0-7 with runners in scoring position against the Tigers tonight, and most of that was with Fiers on the mound. This was a common theme for the Indians early this year, but it seemed like the team had shed that label with their recent offensive breakout.

But consistency on an every night basis in baseball is as rare as gas prices below $2.60…. you only find them in Houston. I worked really hard on that joke after reading that article, please laugh.

Don’t look now but the bullpen is getting it together

Well, technically the bullpen lost the game, but it wasn’t entirely their fault. Dan Otero was clutch tonight. Despite allowing two hits, he was able to work out of the inning thanks to some help from the defense.

Oliver Perez has proven to be effective for the Tribe bullpen. In the last week he’s worked 2.2 innings without a run and four Ks. Neil Ramirez has also worked without allowing a run this week. Cody Allen was the pitcher to lose this one in classic fashion; allowing a walk-off game-winner to Jeimer Candelario.

Numbers like that have proven to be hard to come by for the Tribe. Despite that, the Indians bullpen has caused a significantly lower amount of heart palpitations in this young month. With the return of Andrew Miller looming, the bullpen has to take advantage of this glimmer of hope.

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