Second Thoughts: Game #76-Orioles 9, Indians 8
|W: Lindstrom (1-0), L: Smith (5-2), SV: Johnson (23)
Player of the Game: Matt Wieters (1-for-3 with a 3-run home run in the 6th inning)
Frustrating would be one way to describe Friday night’s Indians game against the Baltimore Orioles, as Cleveland fell short of a late comeback losing to the O’s 9-8. Things would look good early, as the Indians jumped out to a 5-3 lead in the fourth inning, but the lead would quickly be broken up thanks to a three-run homer by Matt Weiters in the sixth inning, his 11th home run on the year.
Tribe starter Derek Lowe has had better outings this season, but did not pitch bad considering a rough first inning which featured two errors leading to three unearned runs. Lowe went 5 1/3 innings giving up four earned runs on six hits, walking three and striking out two. After winning four consecutive games last week, the Indians have now dropped six of their last seven ballgames.
The Bottom 9
- Continue to leave runners on base. The Tribe scored eight runs on 16 hits Friday night and yet continue to have problems leaving runners on base. While the Wahoo’s went 5-for-16 (.313) with runners in scoring position, the team left 11 runners on base and had more than enough chances to blow the game wide open and take the lead for good. There’s no question in my mind the Indians gift wrapped a win for the Orioles last night.
- Early errors. After Cleveland gained the early 1-0 lead in the top half of the first inning, Baltimore would score three times as both Casey Kotchman and Asdrubal Cabrera would make errors in the bottom of the first giving the O’s three unearned runs, in what should have been a routine 1, 2, 3 first inning for Lowe.
- Why bring in Perez in a non-save situation? All I’m going to say is WHY? Why does Manny Acta continue to bring in Indians closer Chris Perez in non-save situations? He knows just as well as Tribe fans that Perez struggles in these situations. Yes, he has not pitched in a week coming into the game, but how many losses or times does it need to be replayed over and over in our heads? The Indians closer gave up the eventual game winning home run to Orioles outfielder Xavier Avery, his first homer of his Major League career. Maybe a bad outing like this will quiet Perez and his mouth for a while.
- Is it time to blame Acta? Don’t get me wrong, I like and support Indians skipper Manny Acta, but when does blame fall on his shoulders? Yes the offense continues to struggle and consistently score runs, as does our starting pitchers which have not been consistent all season, but there is one fact that many fans forget: Acta has never had a winning season as a manager. If Cleveland continues to fall and fade out of contention by season’s end, one would have to think Acta may be on the hot seat.
- Chisenhall to DL. It doesn’t look like Tribe fans will be seeing Lonnie Chisenhall for the next 4-6 weeks, as the Indians third baseman broke his ulna bone in his right forearm after getting hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. Chisenhall hitting .278 with three home runs and nine RBI in 24 games this year is scheduled to have surgery next week.
- Losing against a right-handed starter. The Indians got to Orioles starter Jake Arrieta early, but it wasn’t enough to seal the victory as the right hander gave up five runs on eight hits against Cleveland hitters in just 3 2/3 innings. The Tribe needed to win Friday, as Baltimore is scheduled to throw two lefties against them in the final two games of the series. Cleveland is just 6-16 against left-handed starters this year.
- Hitting Brantley cleanup. With the struggling and banged up Carlos Santana missing his second straight game on Friday, Acta decided to fill the cleanup spot in the lineup with Michael Brantley for the first time this season. It goes to show you just how bad the Indians need another middle of the order hitter as the Tribe center fielder has just one home run in 2012.
- What happened to Supermannahan? After hitting .276 with three homers and 18 RBI to start the season, Jack Hannahan hasn’t been the same since returning from the disabled list earlier this month. The Indians third baseman is hitting just .143 (4-for-28) in the month of June since coming back off the DL, with no home runs and surprisingly no RBI. This is not good considering Cleveland will be without Chisenhall now for over a month.
- Antonetti during STO broadcast. Indians general manager Chris Antonetti spoke with STO play-by-play announcers Matt Underwood and Rick Manning on the state of the Tribe. What I came away with after listening to the interview was that while Antonetti will look at alternative exterior options to improve the ballclub, the majority of the improvement must come from the interior of the team from players already on the roster or in the minor leagues. Really? On behalf of all Tribe fans, please let it be smoke screens.
The Top 3
- Hits, hits, and some more hits. It’s hard to believe Cleveland slugged out16 hits in the ballgame and yet it still wasn’t enough to come away with the victory. After being held to just 13 runs over their previous six games before the Orioles series, the Indians have now scored 15 runs in their last two games, collecting double-digit hits for the second time on their current road trip last night.
- Asdrubal continues to rake. Cabrera hit his second homer in as many nights on Friday, as the Indians shortstop has now tied Jason Kipnis for the team lead with 11 homers. Over his last four games, Cabrera is hitting .300 (6-for-20) with two home runs and five RBI.
- Top of the lineup stays consistent. Shin-Soo Choo, Cabrera, and Kipnis combined to go 8-for-16 (.500) against Orioles pitching on Friday with homer, five RBI and two runs scored. Every starter except Johnny Damon contributed with at least one hit in the ballgame against Baltimore, but it continues to be these 1, 2, and 3 hitters in the Indians lineup that continue to carry the offense all season long.
With the loss to Baltimore and a White Sox win, the Indians (38-38) fall to a season-high 3.5 games back of Chicago in the Central Division. It was just one week ago that Cleveland led the division by 1.5 games over the Pale Hose, as the team is now 11-15 in the month of June. The Tribe is 0-9 in games Kotchman does not play and are 0-20 in games in which Aaron Cunningham does not suit up and play.
Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will try to get back to the win column against the O’s on Saturday, as it will be Josh Tomlin (3-5, 5.30 ERA) vs. Dana Eveland (0-0, 3.00 ERA) at 4:05 pm. Tomlin has given up six runs in two of his last three starts, while Eveland is making just his second start of the season after pitching out of the Baltimore bullpen. Orioles third baseman Wilson Betemit has a career .412 AVG. against Tomlin in 17 ABs, with two home runs and four RBI.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm absolutely horrified that our leading home run hitters are Cabrera and Kipnis...imagine with one (or more) power hitters in this club from normal positions...you know...like just about every other major league team. The Indians offense would be tops in all of baseball...
Bottom line is fairly simple...signing with the Indians has absolutely nothing to do with Cleveland...and everything to do with ownership. No, not a bash (per se) on the Dolans, but just the reality of the situation. Who cares if fans give a rat's ass about them, but what do the players think? Do get players to look past "Cleveland," there needs to either be an ownership group or a management group that the player respects...
This team clearly has neither right now...right or wrong...