Indians shut down by Moore, suffer 4-0 loss to Rays
Tribe manages just two hits against Moore
TAMPA - When going on a road trip, it’s easy to leave some necessary belongings behind. For the Indians, it looked like the team left their hitting shoes behind the Canadian border in Toronto, as Tampa Bay shutout the Tribe on Friday night, 4-0.
Cleveland hitters could not string together any sort of offense against Rays crafty left-hander Matt Moore. The southpaw blanked the Indians through six shutout innings, limiting the offense to just two hits, both coming from Michael Bourn. This came one day after the team broke out for eight runs on a season-high 14 hits against the Blue Jays.
Hitters two-through-nine in the Tribe lineup went a combined 0-for-24 with two walks and 11 strikeouts against Moore and Rays pitching. After hitting a homer on Opening night Tuesday, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (.125) has struggled since and is now just 2-for-14 through the first four games of the season. Despite making solid contact on the night, Jason Kipnis (.118) has also faced early offensive woes, as the second baseman has gone just 2-for-17 to start the 2013 campaign.
Offensively the team did have chances to score multiple times, but did not take advantage of opportunities early in the ballgame. Indians hitters went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine stranded on base. The Tribe’s best chance to get on the board came in the third inning with Mike Aviles and Bourn on second and third with only one out. Cabrera hit a grounder to third baseman Evan Longoria who tagged Aviles out trying to score on the play. Kipnis struck out to end the inning and flounder the scoring opportunity.
Playing small-ball in the first inning also spoiled any chance for the Indians to grab the lead early. Leading off the game with an infield single, Bourn advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cabrera, but was stranded on the bases.
With only two hits, it was hard for the Indians to pickup Tribe starter Zach McAllister who battled his way through six solid innings. The right-hander gave his team a chance to win, giving up four runs (two earned) on six hits, striking out three. He threw 66 of his 103 pitches for strikes and did not yield a walk. McAllister (0-1, 3.60 ERA) lead the Tribe staff with 19 unearned runs last season.
The Tribe's defensive struggles continued on Friday night. With two outs and the Rays up 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Aviles could not cleanly field a groundball hit by Rays centerfielder Desmond Jennings. The error proved to be costly as Jennings would later come around to score on a two-run double by Ben Zobrist to give Tampa Bay the eventual 4-0 victory.
For Aviles, it was just his second start at third base over the last two years. The error was already the Indians fourth though the first four games of the season.
For whatever reason, the Tribe has struggled to pickup victories at Tropicana Field over the last few years. The loss on Friday now gives the Indians a 5-15 record in their last 20 games at the Rays home ballpark.
Cleveland (2-2) will now rely on the arm of rookie right-hander Trevor Bauer as they look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday. The top prospect in the Tribe organization was 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in four starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. Bauer will square off against Rays' righty Alex Cobb.
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