Tribe's setup corps goes awry in loss
Laffey's effort wasted as Tigers score six in eighth inning
DETROIT -- The Indians' shaky setup situation caught up with them Saturday afternoon.It was not a pretty sight to see. Masa Kobayashi lost a one-run lead in the eighth and Rafael Betancourt relieved him and was completely ineffective, as the Tigers erupted for six runs to hand the Tribe an 8-4 loss at Comerica Park. "We've got to iron out our bullpen," manager Eric Wedge said. "We need to be able to bridge that gap to get from starter to [closer Joe] Borowski at the end." That gap never looked wider than it did on this day. The Indians got the strong start they needed from left-hander Aaron Laffey, whose rotation job has never looked more secure now that Jake Westbrook's season is definitively over. Laffey has earned the right to stay in the rotation with the way he's pitched since replacing Westbrook in late April, but in this game, he was coming off his first rough outing of the season in Texas. He showed his ability to recover by holding the Tigers to a pair of runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. "I kept the ball down, and my changeup was big for me," Laffey said. "I probably threw 15-20 changeups, which is the most I've thrown in my whole career, including the Minors. It was an effective pitch for me." And that was a benefit for the Indians, who were going up against the effective pitching of veteran left-hander Kenny Rogers. Rogers limited the Tribe to five hits over seven innings, but the Indians were able to bring in three runs, thanks in large part to some porous Detroit defense, with Rogers contributing. With two on in the second inning, Franklin Gutierrez reached and a run scored when first baseman Miguel Cabrera was unable to keep his glove on the grounder that bounced his way. And when Kelly Shoppach ripped a ground-rule double to right-center field, another run came across to make it 2-0. After the Tigers tied the game on Carlos Guillen's two-run shot off Laffey in the fourth, the Indians regained the lead in the sixth. Ben Francisco singled on a bunt back to the pitcher's mound, and Rogers errantly threw the ball to first to allow Francisco to advance all the way to third. Ryan Garko knocked him in with a sacrifice fly. So it was a 3-2 lead that the Indians were trying to protect late. And with two out and a runner on second in the seventh, Laffey turned that lead over to his bullpen.
|"We've got to iron out our bullpen. We need to be able to bridge that gap to get from starter to [closer Joe] Borowski at the end."|
|-- manager Eric Wedge|
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.