07/08/08 10:49 PM ET
Tribe's new era gets a Sowers start
In first game without Sabathia, Indians roughed up by Tigers
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
Sowers held that 2-0 lead until the third. Then he fell apart. Curtis Granderson's RBI single, Marcus Thames' RBI double and Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer put the Tigers up, 4-2. In the fifth, Sowers gave up another two-run blast -- this time to Thames -- and the Tigers' lead jumped to 6-2.Thames' homer characterized Sowers's outing. He had thrown a fastball down and away, but Thames was able to reach down and smack it out to the opposite field. "It was a 1-0 pitch, and it wasn't bad at all," Sowers said. "He went down and got it. It's a short porch to right field, and he was able to lift it out of here. That was the most frustrating part of tonight. I made a good pitch and had nothing to show for it." Sowers was knocked out of the game in the sixth, when Edgar Renteria reached on a Peralta throwing error and later came around to score on a Granderson single. As much as he's struggled, Sowers isn't going anywhere. The Indians have no other legitimate starting options at Buffalo, save for left-hander Dave Huff. And Huff's innings threshold must be guarded closely because of the left elbow injury that held him up in 2007. Sowers, then, is left to make adjustments and refine his command on the grandest of stages. Thus far, it hasn't gone very well. Then again, what has gone well for the Indians these days? They are winless on a road trip they determined would "make or break" their season, they were forced to deal away the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner and they are showing no legitimate signs of an impending turnaround. Even on a night when Peralta's early homer seemed as if it might set a tone against Verlander, the bats fell quiet. Verlander let just one more baserunner aboard over the remainder of his seven strong innings. "We didn't create opportunities for ourselves after the first," Wedge said. "[Verlander] worked himself into the game." The Indians have already worked themselves out of the AL Central race. But they still have goals to accomplish in '08, according to Wedge. First and foremost: Ensure that this losing streak is just nine games, and not "nine and counting." "Right now, it's a domino [effect]," Wedge said. "We've got to work that much harder to snap out of it." But with a Triple-A feel emanating through the clubhouse, that will be difficult to do.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.