Indians show Tigers their muscle
Tom Gage / The Detroit News
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers were reminded Saturday of what they've sensed all along: Beware of the Cleveland Indians.
In their first defeat of the spring, the Tigers lost 11-2 to the Indians at Joker Marchant Stadium. Most of the damage -- nine runs, seven earned, on eight hits in 1 1/3 innings -- coming against Jason Grilli in the third and fourth innings.
Craig Monroe's second-inning home run was the Tigers' offensive highlight.
"That's a team you don't want to under-estimate because they'll bit you," third baseman Brandon Inge said. "The only way to beat a team like that is that you have to seriously want it more than they do."
One of the Indians' offseason additions, David Dellucci, had three hits and three RBIs.
"I'm worried to death about them to be honest with you," manager Jim Leyland said of the Indians. "They're really good. They remind me of my Pittsburgh situation when we were starting to get good, had a good year (1988), made a little cosmetic run, but the following year things just didn't go right for us.
"The year after that, though, we took off and won three straight (NL East titles). I don't want to speak of other clubs, except for the fact that they're really good. They'll be right back in the thick of things, in my opinion."
The Indians were 93-69 in 2005, pushing the White Sox down the stretch before finishing second in the Central Division. Last year, though, Cleveland finished fourth in the Central, six games below .500.