The Aftermath: Three Takeaways from the Indians’ 1-0 Win Over Detroit

The Cleveland Indians won a gutsy game in walkoff fashion against the Detroit Tigers, but the team’s World Series chances may have been wounded.

The Cleveland Indians won in a walkoff once again, this team courtesy of an RBI single by Jose Ramirez in the 10th inning, to defeat the Detroit Tigers 1-0.

With the win, the Indians now lead the American League Central Division by eight games, and their magic number is down to seven with just 14 games remaining in the regular season.

But the real story of the game was the injury to and potential long-term loss of starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco was forced to leave the game after throwing just two pitches thanks to an Ian Kinsler line drive that caught him on the pitching hand.

It was announced during the game that Carrasco had suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal, with no timetable as of yet for how long he may be out.

So the Tribe was forced into an impromptu “bullpen game,” and the club’s relievers responded. The combination of Jeff Manship, Kyle Crockett, Cody Anderson, Zach McAllister, Perci Garner, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, and Andrew Miller threw 10 shutout innings, allowing a mere three hits and three walks while striking out 10.

Offensively, Cleveland struggled mightily against Detroit starter Justin Verlander, who had a no-hitter through five innings. A leadoff single up the middle by Jason Kipnis broke up the no-no, but it was all the Indians could muster against Verlander.

The 10th inning game-winner for Ramirez came on his 24th birthday, and was made possible by the questionable decision of Detroit manager Brad Ausmus to intentionally walk Mike Napoli to load the bases.

Given the success Ramirez has had with runners in scoring position and his high contact rate, it made little sense to walk a guy who has struck out 185 times on the season, including three on Sunday.

Mr. Clutch Lapara

Ramirez may well be the most valuable player of the 2016 Tribe, and just added to his list of accomplishments this season. In 131 at-bats with runners in scoring position this year, he now has 47 hits and 58 runs batted in. That’s good for a .359 batting average in the biggest situations.

We’ve said it before, but one shudders to think of where Cleveland would be this season without Ramirez’s breakout. He’s played in 140 games all over the field and trails only Lindor, Corey Kluber, and Carrasco on the team in bWAR.

The Injury Bug is Contagious

It’s well known that the Indians have played all but 11 games in 2016 without Michael Brantley. In the past week, both Danny Salazar and Yan Gomes sustained injuries that will end their respective seasons. So Tribe fans can be excused if they’re a little edgy after learning the results of Carrasco’s x-rays.

Yes, the team has Kluber at the top of the rotation for a postseason run, and he may be the odds-on favorite to win the American League Cy Young award. But beyond Kluber are Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, and Mike Clevinger, and suddenly the best starting staff in the league looks a lot different.

This will be something to watch closely, as manager Terry Francona does have a few options with starting experience such as Ryan Merritt and Cody Anderson, who are on the active roster, and Shawn Morimando, who is on the 40-man roster but not currently with the big league ballclub. If the worst happens and Carrasco is lost for the postseason, this is certainly a blow to the team’s World Series chances.

Verlander’s Weird Start

Entering Saturday’s game, Verlander had faced the Indians three times in 2016, though, going 0-3 in those starts, with a 9.18 ERA and yielding a .304/.368/.652 slash line and 162 OPS+. Yet he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings.

Verlander struck out seven, but it took him 50 pitches to get through the Indians’ order the first time, and he finished with four walks. He was obviously struggling with his command at times, and on several occasions went into human rain delay mode shaking off catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia constantly, making multiple pickoff attempts in a row on several occasions, and stepping off the rubber at least a dozen times, not looking comfortable at all.

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The Cleveland Indians won a gutsy game in walkoff fashion against the Detroit Tigers, but the team’s World Series chances may have been wounded.

The Cleveland Indians won in a walkoff once again, this team courtesy of an RBI single by Jose Ramirez in the 10th inning, to defeat the Detroit Tigers 1-0.

With the win, the Indians now lead the American League Central Division by eight games, and their magic number is down to seven with just 14 games remaining in the regular season.

But the real story of the game was the injury to and potential long-term loss of starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco was forced to leave the game after throwing just two pitches thanks to an Ian Kinsler line drive that caught him on the pitching hand.

It was announced during the game that Carrasco had suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal, with no timetable as of yet for how long he may be out.

So the Tribe was forced into an impromptu “bullpen game,” and the club’s relievers responded. The combination of Jeff Manship, Kyle Crockett, Cody Anderson, Zach McAllister, Perci Garner, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, and Andrew Miller threw 10 shutout innings, allowing a mere three hits and three walks while striking out 10.

Offensively, Cleveland struggled mightily against Detroit starter Justin Verlander, who had a no-hitter through five innings. A leadoff single up the middle by Jason Kipnis broke up the no-no, but it was all the Indians could muster against Verlander.

The 10th inning game-winner for Ramirez came on his 24th birthday, and was made possible by the questionable decision of Detroit manager Brad Ausmus to intentionally walk Mike Napoli to load the bases.

Given the success Ramirez has had with runners in scoring position and his high contact rate, it made little sense to walk a guy who has struck out 185 times on the season, including three on Sunday.

Mr. Clutch Lapara

Ramirez may well be the most valuable player of the 2016 Tribe, and just added to his list of accomplishments this season. In 131 at-bats with runners in scoring position this year, he now has 47 hits and 58 runs batted in. That’s good for a .359 batting average in the biggest situations.

We’ve said it before, but one shudders to think of where Cleveland would be this season without Ramirez’s breakout. He’s played in 140 games all over the field and trails only Lindor, Corey Kluber, and Carrasco on the team in bWAR.

The Injury Bug is Contagious

It’s well known that the Indians have played all but 11 games in 2016 without Michael Brantley. In the past week, both Danny Salazar and Yan Gomes sustained injuries that will end their respective seasons. So Tribe fans can be excused if they’re a little edgy after learning the results of Carrasco’s x-rays.

Yes, the team has Kluber at the top of the rotation for a postseason run, and he may be the odds-on favorite to win the American League Cy Young award. But beyond Kluber are Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, and Mike Clevinger, and suddenly the best starting staff in the league looks a lot different.

This will be something to watch closely, as manager Terry Francona does have a few options with starting experience such as Ryan Merritt and Cody Anderson, who are on the active roster, and Shawn Morimando, who is on the 40-man roster but not currently with the big league ballclub. If the worst happens and Carrasco is lost for the postseason, this is certainly a blow to the team’s World Series chances.

Verlander’s Weird Start

Entering Saturday’s game, Verlander had faced the Indians three times in 2016, though, going 0-3 in those starts, with a 9.18 ERA and yielding a .304/.368/.652 slash line and 162 OPS+. Yet he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings.

Verlander struck out seven, but it took him 50 pitches to get through the Indians’ order the first time, and he finished with four walks. He was obviously struggling with his command at times, and on several occasions went into human rain delay mode shaking off catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia constantly, making multiple pickoff attempts in a row on several occasions, and stepping off the rubber at least a dozen times, not looking comfortable at all.

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