Indians offensive woes continue in 2-1 loss to Seattle
Jimenez pitches well, but Tribe offense unable to solve Harang
SEATTLE—In a city known for their lack of sleep, Indians bats remained in a deep snooze Monday night at Safeco Field.
More offensive woes continued, as the red hot Seattle Mariners squeezed by the Tribe, 2-1 to win their seventh straight and the first of the three-game series.
The loss slides Cleveland (52-45) 2 1/2 games in back of the first place Detroit Tigers in the A.L. Central standings, now having dropped three of four to start the second half of the season.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (7-5, 4.49 ERA) danced in and around trouble throughout the ballgame Monday, giving up five hits and four walks through 5 2/3 innings. Despite a high 110 pitch count, Jimenez surrendered just two earned runs and struck out six.
Like a few of his teammates of late, he was unable to get any run support on offense as the Indians could not figure out Mariners right-hander Aaron Harang (5-8, 5.06 ERA). The 35-year old limited Cleveland to just one run on four hits in seven innings, after serving up nine runs in his previous two starts.
Moved to the two-hole in the lineup by Tribe manager Terry Francona, first baseman Nick Swisher put the team on the board in the first inning, crushing his tenth homer to the opposite field. The move may have paid off for the struggling switch hitter, but was the only mistake Harang made all night.
The first inning blast was the only lead the Indians held in the ballgame, as Seattle also played long ball against Jimenez.
Subject of trade rumors as the MLB trade deadline approaches, Mariners designated hitter Kendrys Moraleslaunched his 15th homer off the Tribe starter in the fourth, before catcher Mike Zunino gave Seattle the lead with just his second homer one inning later.
The home run by Morales snapped an 88 inning homerless streak set by Indians pitching and was all the Mariners would need against a struggling Cleveland offense.
Known to carry the offensive load, All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis went 0-for-4 in the ballgame as the team went a hitless 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, leaving seven on base.
Jimenez picks up the tough luck loss, as the offense wastes another solid starting pitching performance on the road trip. The loss was the first by an Indians starter in more than two weeks, the last one coming on July 6 against Detroit.
The Tribe falls to 7-5 over their last 12 games, despite starters going 5-1 with a 1.99 ERA in that same time span.
Offensively, Cleveland had one more chance to tie things up in the ninth off Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen. The hard throwing right-hander served up a one out double to left fielder Michael Brantley, putting the tying run on second base. Hitting .293 with runners in scoring position on the season, catcher Carlos Santana could not capitalize, grounding out to third on a 3-1 pitch for the second out of the inning.
The Indians also fall to 9-32 on the season when scoring three runs or less.
Notes: Tribe starter Zach McAllister (4-5, 3.43 ERA) is expected to come off the disabled list and start Tuesday night against Seattle. It has been speculated reliever CC Lee will be sent down to Triple-A Columbus in order to move McAllister to the 25-man roster. The right-handed starter has been sidelined since June 8 with a finger injury.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indians K rate in the last 4 games: 14% (2nd lowest in baseball)
Indians LD% in the last 4 games: 25.5% (6th highest in baseball)
No reason to panic about the offense.