Cleveland Indians: 3 Takeaways From the “Hangover” Loss

The Cleveland Indians were without most of the starters for Tuesday night’s game against the Detroit Tigers, and things didn’t go too well.

The Cleveland Indians are your 2016 American League Central champions.

That is the most positive takeaway after a Tuesday night’s lackluster performance against the Detroit Tigers, a game in which the Indians lost by the less-than-ideal score of 12-0.

This was in stark contrast to the great win Monday night, but it was to be expected after the partying went on late into the night after clinching the division. This tweet from Corey Kluber should make it clear. The timestamp is rather revealing.

Most of the starters were expected to get the night off, but a 12-0 loss was still tough to watch. There is not too much to recap, so let’s get straight to the takeaways.

Rough Outing for Clevinger

After the injuries to Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger was up as a potential replacement in the starting rotation. Josh Tomlin‘s resurgent September put some pressure on Clevinger to perform, but last night’s outing was a disaster for someone trying to prove he should start a playoff game.

Clevinger only lasted two innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, only throwing 43 pitches before Terry Francona went to the bullpen.

Perhaps Clevinger partied too hard Monday, or perhaps the Tigers just had his number. Either way, it seems like Tomlin is not cemented as the third starter in the postseason rotation.

The “Hangover” Lineup

Chris Gimenez started at third base last night, which should be enough proof of the kind of night it was.

Erik Gonzalez got the start at shortstop, racking up three of the team’s four hits on a night when the entire starting infield was given the night off.

The outfield featured Abraham Almonte, Brandon Guyer and Tyler Naquin, while Adam Moore was the catcher and Carlos Santana filled in at DH.

This type of loss is never great this late in the season, but it is nothing to worry about considering the circumstances. With the starters out, and the rough start by Clevinger, this game is one that must be moved on from quickly. The players deserved the rest, but there is still another goal the team must try to accomplish in the final five games of the season.

The Quest for Home-Field Advantage

While some fans think players are robots and don’t deserve nights off, it was hard to argue with Francona’s decision to rest most of the starters last night. The Indians are still fighting for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but the extra home games don’t matter if the team is too exhausted to be at the top of their game.

Luckily for the Indians, both the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers lost last night, meaning the Indians remain one loss back of both teams in the AL standings.

It may be a tough goal to achieve with the rest being given to starters, but it is still attainable. Fans just must remember that while the Indians have some bad road trips this year, the playoffs are a whole different animal. A well-rested group will have a better chance to win both at home and on the road compared to a team too gassed to play another month of baseball.

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