So Tuesday night’s game was pretty brutal to watch. The Baltimore Orioles came into Cleveland riding a hot streak since the announcement of Buck Showalter as the new head coach. The Orioles came in to the night at 6-1 in their last 7, the Indians were riding a bit of a different streak. After a tough weekend series against the Minnesota Twins the Indians were looking to start the week off right, but that did not happen. The Tribe has now lost 5 of the last 9 games, and 3 straight at home. The hot streak that the team was in after the All-Star break has come to a screeching halt. The Orioles came in to town and smacked around Justin Masterson and every other tribe pitcher who took the mound, and while they did not pitch much better than the Indians, the worst team in MLB certainly out hit the skidding Tribe. So what did we see in the Indians 14-8 loss on Tuesday night?
Justin Masterson continues to struggle-
He is not helping himself by pitching like this. The young righty will have at least the rest of this season to show the Indians whether or not he will be in their rotation moving forward. I stand strongly by my opinion that he serves the Indians better as a reliever, but I am not saying move him there now. He deserves the rest of the season to try and make adjustments and prove himself. He continues to be completely unable to get left handed batters out, as evidenced in his rough 5 innings last night. He gave up 7 runs in 5 innings, 4 of which were earned thanks to a botched ground ball at 3rd base by Louis Valbuena, while allowing 6 hits, 3 walks and 3 strike outs. He gave up a long 3-run home run to Felix Pie as an Orioles lineup full of left handed hitters and switch hitters watched a lot of bad pitches go by and capitalized on his struggles. Masterson threw 57 of his 90 pitches for strikes, and when he did throw strikes it was clear his location was not spot on. Just from watching him throw I could see that his delivery was somewhat inconsistent and his release point was inconsistent as well. His front shoulder was flying open, especially when lefties were batting, which was causing him to leave things away and up in the zone. Hopefully he can right himself and finish the year strong, if not a move back to the bull pen could be in his future, as long as David Huff and Jeremy Sowers are not the Indians best options to replace him.
Asdrubal Cabrera can play some good defense-
Did you see that play? Seriously. It was lucky as hell, but wow it was awesome. The Infield was playing in because of the runner on 3rd and 1 out at a time in the game when it was not already over. A sharp grounder up the middle hit Masterson’s heel and kicked back to Cabrera, who was moving up the middle to field the ball, he fell backwards and snagged it with his bare hand and threw out the runner. Someone needs to call up Omar Vizquel and tell him that A-Cab has his number. Not only is he the best defender on the team, but he is the most consistent. Choo, Brantley and Cabrera are really the only 3 out there who can make every routine play and turn in the very impressive ones. Trevor Crowe continues to demonstrate to the 2 or 3 children who watch the team play these days how not to go after a fly ball.
Michael Brantley is off to a good start-
He is 5-16 sine his call up in 4 games, which is a nice .313 clip. He is definitely making up for his rough start to the season that sees his average sitting at .178 after tonight’s game. He has a homerun and a triple in his 5 hits and has driven in 3 runs while scoring 5. He is looking good so far, as he did in last season’s late call up and he is a big improvement in center field over Trevor Crowe. He is looking to build on a successful campaign in AAA this year and set himself up as the Indians lead off hitter for the next several seasons.
The Bullpen’s Heater is Done-
While the star of the team over the past 3 weeks has arguably been the Indians bullpen, that script is quickly being reversed. Tony Sipp was starting to look more like himself but reverted back to his struggles tonight. He showed almost no accuracy in his inning of work, but managed to get out with only allowing a solo shot to Corey Patterson. Yeah, that guy… Frank Hermann might no longer be the “Hermannator”. His horrible inning and 2/3 saw his solid 3.70 ERA over his rookie season jump up to 5.19. Yikes. He gave up 5 runs on 5 hits and a home run to Matt Wieters. It was not a good night for Indians pitching as Hector Ambriz came in to relieve Hermann and promptly served up a 2 run bomb to Luke Scott. Ambriz pitched like, well, Hector Ambriz. It just got worse as the night went on for the Indians.
All we can do is hope the Tribe is able to right the ship for the remainder of this home-stand. Nothing is harder than watching the Indians lose than watching them do so at the Jake. Josh Tomlin will take the mound Wednesday night against the hot O’s bats, the Indians rookie will be opposed by Brad Bergesen. Hopefully the might Tomlin can get the Indians back on a winning note.