Tigers make it two straight come-from-behind wins
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
By Mark Simon, ESPN ResearchMaybe the Tigers have straightened themselves out after back-to-back victories that featured dramatic eighth-inning comebacks against the Twins. Jim Leyland's team could easily be 2-12 right now if not for the fact that a few bats woke up at key times.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL
|• Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET, ESPN2|
On Tuesday, it was Miguel Cabrera finally living up to the hype, hitting his first home run since Opening Day to spark the Tigers' rally.
You may recall that after Sunday's loss, Leyland was particularly harsh on his team. Sometimes those kinds of moves work and sometimes they don't. It looks like Leyland's timing was right, though, especially considering he knew his team wouldn't face Johan Santana in either of the Tigers' two games against the Twins.
The Tigers will face the Indians in their next two games. Cleveland is 5-9 on the season.
|Tigers' eighth-inning rallies:|
|Twins lead entering inning||9-5||4-3|
|Final score||Win: 11-9||Win: 6-5|
BREAKING DOWN THE INDIANS
By Orel Hershiser, ESPNThe Indians are 5-9, but if Joe Borowski didn't blow two saves, they would be 7-7. And that wouldn't be as poor of a start. Part of the solution for the Indians might have presented itself with Borowski going on the disabled list Tuesday. When he's healthy, Borowski still has the ability to replicate his production from last season, even if he doesn't always make it look easy.
Rafael Betancourt might get the opportunity to close out games with Borowski on the DL, but Masahide Kobayashi is their most experienced closer from his days pitching in Japan. In fact, he might be the best option right now because there are questions as to whether Betancourt can pitch on back-to-back days. More important, moving Kobayashi to the closer's role would not disrupt the rest of the bullpen, allowing Betancourt and Rafael Perez to stay in their set-up roles.
The other reason for the Indians' slow start has been their offense and starting pitching, which has yet to hit on all cylinders. Jake Westbrook and Cliff Lee have been solid, but C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona and Paul Byrd -- who combined to win 53 games in 2007 -- are 1-5 in nine starts. That's a small sample, but it's part of the reason why Cleveland is under .500.
Offensively, the platoon in left field with David Dellucci and Jason Michaels hasn't worked, and right fielder Franklin Gutierrez is not swinging the bat well. Travis Hafner has shown glimpses of breaking out and Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez are fine, but Casey Blake has yet to get on track.
The Indians have reasons to be both discouraged as well as encouraged. Discouraged because so many facets of their game aren't where they would like them to be right now, and encouraged because the Tigers are looking up at them in the standings.
FORWARD THINKING: WEDNESDAY• Diamondbacks at Giants, 3:45 p.m. ET: Brandon Webb (3-0, 2.14 ERA) will bid for his National League-leading fourth win of the season. He'll be opposed by Barry Zito (0-3, 4.50 ERA), who has allowed at least four runs in each of his first three starts.
• Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET: Chien-Ming Wang (3-0, 1.23 ERA) was dynamite in his last start, tossing a complete game in the Yankees' 4-1 win over the Red Sox. He'll face rookie Clay Buchholz (0-1, 3.27 ERA), who was the tough-luck loser against Wang and the Yankees in his last start.
• Mariners at A's, 10:05 p.m. ET: Felix Hernandez (1-0, 1.66 ERA) has allowed a combined four earned runs in his first three starts. He'll be opposed by Joe Blanton (1-2, 4.15 ERA), who has given up a combined 29 hits in four starts (26 innings pitched).
BBTN ON THE AIR: WEDNESDAY
|12 a.m. ET
|Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Eduardo Perez, Tim Kurkjian
BASEBALL TONIGHT MINUTE: TIGERS WIN AGAIN
TUESDAY'S NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES
|• Scott Olsen hurled a gem, tossing seven shutout innings in the Marlins' 4-0 win over the Braves. The lefty didn't issue a walk and allowed five hits -- all singles -- while throwing just 83 pitches, 61 for strikes.||BAD|
|• For the second straight night, Cleveland's bullpen blew a game in the ninth inning. Tied 3-3 entering the top of the ninth, the Red Sox scored two runs off of Jensen Lewis to defeat the Indians 5-3.||UGLY|
|• Handed a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the ninth, Jose Valverde proceeded to give up four runs while retiring just one batter as the Astros lost to the Phillies 4-3. Valverde allowed home runs to Chris Snelling and Pat Burrell before Pedro Feliz drove in the game-winning run with a double.|
KAPLER MAKING MOST OF HIS RETURN TO MAJORS
FANTASY: PREVIEW OF WEDNESDAY'S GAMES
Sean Allen examines the pitching matchups in store for the 15 games on Wednesday's schedule in the American League and National League.
Sean also looks at current injuries and details player reports that could help shape the way you put together your roster for Wednesday's games. Daily Notes
THIS DATE IN MLB HISTORY (APRIL 16)
• 1935: Babe Ruth's National League debut drew 25,000 fans to Braves Field. The Babe's two-hit debut included a 430-foot home run off of Carl Hubbell, as Boston beat New York, 4-2.
• 1972: In Chicago, 22-year-old rookie Burt Hooton of the Cubs no-hit the Phillies, winning the game, 4-0.
• 1978: The Cardinals' Bob Forsch hurled a no-hitter to beat the Phillies, 5-0. Forsch pitched the first no-hitter in St. Louis by a Cardinal since Jesse Haines in 1924.
NEWS AND NOTES
• Ken Griffey Jr. hit the 595th home run of his career in the Reds' 9-5 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday.
• Pat Burrell hit the 223rd home run of his career in the Phillies' 4-3 win over the Astros, tying Greg Luzinski for fourth on the Phils' all-time list. Burrell's five homers are also tied for the National League lead.
• Erik Bedard went on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left hip. The move is retroactive to April 9. Mariners manager John McLaren said Bedard should only miss his next scheduled start on Friday against the Angels before returning on April 24. R.A. Dickey, who hasn't started a game in the majors in 24 months, will start Friday for Seattle.