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Indians Indians Archive Cookie Crumbles in Tribe's Sixth Straight Defeat
Written by Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich

0-CookieSo, Justin Masterson is fine, but it wasn’t the Tribe ace that got the ball for Terry Francona in Detroit on Saturday with the Indians set to try to end this five game skid that has plagued them so far in early June.  With an injury to Zach McAllister’s finger, and the need to circumvent any real consequence from Carlos Carrasco’s latest 8-game suspension, Masterson was a healthy scratch today, in favor of the oft-punished piece of the 2009 Cliff Lee deal.  When permitted to pitch by the powers-that-be at Major League baseball, “Cookie” Carrasco has struggled mightily, a recurring theme of late for the Indians.

Called up from AAA, the right-hander wasted no time playing with fire in what would wind up being a 6-4 loss, the Tribe’s tenth consecutive road defeat and sixth straight overall.  The Tigers loaded the bases in each of the first two innings, but Carrasco was fortunate to come away unscathed the first time, retiring former Indians Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta, after a walk and two singles set Detroit up with runners on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with 1 out.  The second time around, an inning later, having already surrendered a run to tie the game at 1 on Andy Dirks single to center field, he had to face Prince Fielder with nowhere to put him.

0-RaburnFielder cleared the bases with a double over the head of former Tiger Ryan Raburn in right field, giving the home team a 4-1 lead, forcing the Indians to play their way out of an early hole for the second straight day.  Victor Martinez flew out to end the innings, giving Carrasco and the Indians a chance to breathe, but only briefly as Rick Porcello retired the Indians in order in the third inning.

And then, you can stop me if you’ve heard this one, Detroit loaded the bases once again.  Avisail Garcia grounded into the 6-4-3 double play, but Peralta scored to give the Tigers a 5-1 advantage.  Andy Dirks would extend the Tigers lead to 6-1, before Carrasco got Torii Hunter to ground out to end the Tigers half of the inning.

Ryan Raburn and the Tribe relievers kept the Indians in the game long enough to set up another dramatic ninth inning against the Tigers closer Jose Valverde, who might want to step things up if he intends to keep that billet.  Carrasco only went four innings, but the Tigers 10 hits and 3 walks really worked his pitch count up; not to mention, the 6 earned runs he allowed didn’t leave anyone, notably Francona, craving another inning from Cookie.  He would take the loss to fall to 0-2 on the year, but by limiting the Tigers to 6 runs in 4 innings, his ERA dropped from 17.18 to 15.26 on the year.

Rookie Matt Langwell continued to throw well, whiffing 3 Tiger batsmen in two perfect innings of work.  Cody Allen was able to pitch around a Martinez single and a two-out walk of Alex Avila, Porcello’s personal catcher, striking out Omar Infante to end the 7th inning.  Joe Smith, who has been positively outstanding (0.89 ERA), threw a scoreless eighth.   However, all of the great work from the Indians relief staff over the last two days doesn’t provide them any relief in the scoring column, and they needed some of that to dig out of the 6-1 hole Carrasco handed them.

It doesn’t all fall on Raburn to remedy that, but he provided what few highlights the Indians had today, scoring Carlos Santana on an RBI groundout in the 5th, then a 2-run blast to left-center field off reliever Luke Putkonen, his sixth of the year, to cut the deficit to 2 in the 7th.  It helped the cause, but really didn’t compensate for the 0-for-12 from Nick Swisher, Michael Brantley, and Mark Reynolds, the 3-4-5 part of the order on Saturday.  Swisher is 0-for his last 24 and is hitting .239; that’s similar to an 0-for-28 stretch he went through last year with New York.

0-InfanteSaturday’s drama with the one known as Papa Grande began with a sky high pop-up that Carlos Santana hit to shallow right field with one out.  Infante tracked it down after a long run from his second base position, but it went in and out of his glove, and was ruled a single.  Yan Gomes battled with Valverde for a 10-pitch walk, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate.  Raburn and Mike Aviles had their chances, but Valverde’s splitter was more effective as an out-pitch than it was on Friday when Jason Giambi and Drew Stubbs punished him for throwing it.  For Valverde, it was his eighth save of the season.

The Indians did spot Carrasco an early lead before the first Tiger came to the bat.  Michael Bourn bounced one the other way, past an infield that was playing in, with Porcello’s 2nd pitch of the game, a 94 mph fastball, for a double.  Jason Kipnis plugged on to the grass in left field, and the Tribe had given Carrasco a 1-0 lead early.

The loss dropped the Indians to 30-31 on the year, now 4 ½ games behind the first place Tigers in the American League Central Division.  They will get another chance to chisel away at that gap tomorrow when the series concludes at Comerica Park.  Masterson, who was bumped today, so that Carrasco can serve his suspension after dropping his appeal, which will coincide with a conveniently timed off day to keep the rotation in order, will go for the Tribe tomorrow.  The Tigers dealing with injuries of their own will be calling up Jose Alvarez, a southpaw making his Major League debut, as the Tigers will be going for the sweep.

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