Indians get back into the fast lane on the road
In the first series of their three-city trip, the Indians did something they were unable to do during their last homestand. They won a series. Despite a 7-5 loss to Detroit on Thursday, the Indians won the first two games of the series.
They are 5-1 vs. Detroit this year.
In their most recent homestand, the Indians lost three-game series to Kansas City and Minnesota. That made their series victory in Detroit even more important, especially since they still have two more three-game series, interleague series, on this trip before returning home.
The Indians will play a three-game weekend series in St. Louis, followed by a three-game series in Cincinnati.
The designated hitter rule is not used in interleague series on the road, so the Indians would be without designated hitter Travis Hafner in those games, except that they are already playing without him.
In the last few years, the Indians lost Hafner's bat from their lineup during interleague road games, because he is unable to play a position in the field. This year, Hafner wouldn't be in the lineup for those interleague games even if he could play a position.
Hafner is on the disabled list after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on May 31. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.
The Indians will miss his bat, but the bigger issue for the Indians now will be the performance of their starting pitching. Although they won the Detroit series, their starting pitchers in two of the three games pitched only five innings each and combined to give up 12 runs.
Those two starters are Derek Lowe, who gave up seven run in five innings on Thursday, and Jeanmar Gomez, who gave up six runs in five innings on Wednesday. The Indians' bullpen bailed out Gomez to get on Wednesday, but Lowe wasn't so lucky on Thursday, as he took the loss.
Lowe doesn't feel at home while losing in Detroit
--RHP Derek Lowe, who has been the Indians' best starting pitcher thus far, had a rare bad outing Thursday, giving up seven runs in five innings in a 7-5 loss to Detroit. Lowe still leads the Indians with a record of 7-4. But he has been dramatically better pitching at home than on the road. In six starts at home, he is 4-1 with a 1.37 ERA. In five starts on the road, he is 3-3 with a 6.48 ERA.
--OF Michael Brantley's eighth-inning single Thursday extended his hitting streak to 15 games. During the streak, Brantley has hit .357, raising his season average from .255 to .282. Brantley's hitting streak is the longest streak by an Indians' player since Brantley hit in 19 straight games in 2010.
--RHP Chris Perez has converted 19 consecutive save opportunities. That's the fourth longest such streak by an Indians' closer since 1969. The longest is Jose Mesa's streak of 38 consecutive saves from May to August of 1995, during which Mesa had a 0.96 ERA.
--2B Jason Kipnis, a left-handed hitter, has been moved from second to third in the lineup, with switch-hitting SS Asdrubal Cabrera moving from third to second. Manager Manny Acta said he made the switch three games ago to separate leadoff hitter OF Shin-Soo Choo and Kipnis, two left-handed hitters, with the switch-hitting Cabrera, especially against left-handed pitchers.
--OF Grady Sizemore's rehab from back surgery on March 1 has been slowed, and the Indians are reluctant to put any timetable on his return. Sizemore has been on the disabled list since the start of the season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Number of hits C Carlos Santana has in his last 23 at bats.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If you're going to pitch bad, you better learn something from it." -- RHP Derek Lowe, who said he did learn some things while giving up seven runs in five innings in a 7-5 loss to Detroit.
--INF Jose Lopez (lower back stiffness) did not play June 5-6. He is day-to-day.
--DH Travis Hafner (sore right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 24. He had surgery May 31 to repair a frayed meniscus, and he will be out until late June or early July.
--3B Jack Hannahan (left calf strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 27. He had been out May 14-23 due to lower back stiffness.
--LHP Rafael Perez (strained left lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 26.
--OF Grady Sizemore (back surgery in March 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4. He was cleared to begin baseball activities in late April and took live batting practice May 16. His rehab was slowed again in early June, and there was no timetable for his return.
--RHP Carlos Carrasco (Tommy John surgery in September 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26. He might miss the entire season.