Tigers suffer setback, blow ninth-inning lead versus Indians

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The White Sox completed their sweep in Minnesota earlier today, but the Tigers couldn’t match the feat in Cleveland. They gave up a 6-5 lead in the ninth to lose to the Indians 7-6.

Carlos Santana tripled in Jason Kipnis to tie the game off Jose Valverde, and Lonnie Chisenhall singled to win it afterwards. For Santana, it was the second triple in two days after his first broke up Anibal Sanchez’s no-hitter in the seventh inning Saturday. Prior to that hit, Santana had two career triples in 1,152 at-bats.

Detroit wasted a big game by MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera. He went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and a double. He’s driven in a run in five straight games, and he’s up to 123 RBI for the season.

The loss concludes a four-game winning streak for Detroit and drops them two games behind the White Sox in the AL Central in advance of Monday’s makeup game in Chicago. The Tigers then get three games against Oakland before finishing with six against the Twins and seven versus the Royals.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.