Greene takes lessons from first loss of season

Righty gives up eight runs after surrendering one in first three starts

Greene takes lessons from first loss of season

DETROIT -- Shane Greene has drawn comparisons to Rick Porcello ever since the Tigers traded for him last December. His roll of three straight victories only strengthened those. In a weird way, his first loss compared well with Porcello, too.

Few teams gave Porcello quite the growing pains as a pitcher as the Indians, whose lefty-heavy lineup tended to be feast or famine on a right-handed sinkerballer like Porcello. When Porcello diversified his arsenal with a curveball and a cutter, the difference was never more evident than against Cleveland, which he dominated the last two years.

With Porcello now in Boston, Greene met up with Cleveland for the first time as a Tiger on Friday. And the results showed the growth he still has to do.

"They were hitting fastballs," Greene said, "and they were putting them where guys weren't."

Greene entered the game having allowed two just runs, one earned, over 23 innings, in large part by keeping the ball on the ground. Just two of his 12 hits allowed over his first three starts had gone for extra bases.

When Brandon Moss saw a 91-mph two-seamer, he ripped a two-run double into the left-center gap, setting the tone for the night. Twelve of Greene's first 13 pitches were fastballs, either two- or four-seam, and the Indians eventually sat on it.

Greene adjusted, changing speeds frequently following Moss' double. He threw just six fastballs out of 17 second-inning pitches, and only one out of eight in the third. Come the fifth inning, however, as he struggled to locate, the Indians got him again.

"He gave up a couple of runs in the first, but I thought he had enough stuff to keep us in the game," catcher Alex Avila said. "It just kind of snowballed. As the game went on, his stuff wasn't as crisp as it was in his previous starts."

All of the damage against Greene -- all eight runs and nine hits -- came from hitters batting from the left side. But then again, the only right-handed batter in Cleveland's lineup was catcher Roberto Perez.

"It was just balls up," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's a sinkerball pitcher, and if he doesn't have his changeup in the right location, against a predominantly left-handed lineup, and if he's not down with that two-seamer -- I don't want to say it's easy pickings, but Major League hitters take advantage of that."

Asked how long the game will linger in his mind, Greene said he'll be over it by Saturday. The lessons learned out of it should serve him well longer than that.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.