McAllister rebounds; Tribe falls to Angels, 5-2
Rotation race coming to a close, as Indians drop two straight for the first time this spring
Player of the Game: Garrett Richards (6 2/3 innings 3 hits 0 ER 3 BB / 2 S0)
For the first time all spring, the Indians have dropped two straight, falling to the L.A. Angels Monday at Tempe Diablo Stadium, 5-2.
L.A. struck for two runs early off Tribe starter Zach McAllister in the first inning, highlighted on a RBI triple by Albert Pujols. The nine-time All-Star went 2-for-2 in the ballgame and helped the Angels extend their winning streak to five straight.
Indians bats remained cold most of the sun-drenched afternoon, as they were held to only one run on three hits before the ninth inning. David Cooper tacked on an RBI single in the final frame, but to no avail.
McALLISTER TOSSES SOLID OUTING
After allowing 8 runs on 13 hits in 6 1/3 innings over his his last two starts, McAllister spun for a quality start Sunday afternoon. The right-hander went a full six innings yielding three runs on six hits, walking one and striking out three. Two of the three runs came in the first inning, where the 6-foot-6 righty settled in nicely to retire 15 of the last 20 batters he faced. Named by Indians skipper Terry Francona as the Tribe's No.3 starter, McAllister needs to continue to step up and remain consistent in the rotation if the team has any shot at a memorable 2014 season.
HARANG OUT OF STARTERS RACE
Cleveland announced early Monday the team will not be adding former Cincinnati Reds starter Aaron Harang to the Indians Opening Day roster.
The veteran right-hander was 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in nine innings of work this spring. With Harang out, Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and rookie sensation Trevor Bauer are the final three in line to win the job.
That's two very notable veteran players cut by Cleveland over the last couple days. One is Harang while the other Jeff Francoeur, which came as a surprise not only to me, but the majority of fans as well.
--Not allowing a run through his first six full innings this spring, lefty reliever Josh Outman has now given up three runs in his last one inning of play, including two homers. He gave up a long ball to Angels first baseman Ian Stewart.
--Ryan Raburn was held hitless at the plate Sunday for the first time in seven spring training games.
--Pitching another scoreless inning in relief Monday, closer John Axford has given up just one run through seven innings of work this spring.
Despite losing their second consecutive ballgame, the Indians still sit at the top of the Cactus League standings with a 16-7-2 record.
The rest of that Opening Series out in Oakland tentatively sets up like this:
When it comes to Masterson, I am somewhat surprised the contract extension talks with the Tribe have fizzled out. It was reported Masty was willing to take less money to stay in Cleveland, but the Indians were too slow to act and pull the trigger. It's not impossible things could change and a deal is still reached upon during the regular season, but for now, the hope is that Masterson will once again lead the staff further into October.
Homer Bailey getting paid or not, Masterson is a great guy to have and be around in the clubhouse. He's one of Francona's former Boston guys and of course, the horse and anchor of the Indians rotation. Pitching is the key, and if the team cannot reach a deal with the 29-year old and he eventually bolts for free agency, they have nobody to blame for it but themselves.
If Chris Antonetti and company are focused on winning and winning right now, they need to shell out the cash to keep him.
Believe me, if it's this hard to come to an agreement with Masterson, it will without question be worse when Jason Kipnis is set to hit the free agent market.
UP NEXT FOR INDIANS: The Tribe travels back to Goodyear Ballpark to take on their state rival Cincinnati Reds Monday at 4:05 p.m. ET. Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco will square off against Cincy right-hander Alfredo Simon. They will look to win the series, as both clubs are 2-2 facing each other in Cactus League action.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Was impressed with how he finished that 6th inning. Yeah got tagged for two runs but could have been much worse. Agree, key is can he do it in regular season games....we will likely find out soon enough.
5-tool OFers are rare; outside of Trout and maybe one or two others, there are none. Moncrief is the best chance for the Indians. As for Ventura, yes, he's impressive, though Salazar can match him, and I think his delivery and command are a bit smoother and Salazar is a little more proven at this point. Like Ventura, Salazar's main concern is health, but those are likely the future of the AL Central if they remain healthy.
And, there's still enough questions with KC both offensively and staring pitching-wise that I wouldn't put them ahead of the Indians yet. Never mind the fact that that bullpen may be hard-pressed to match last year- they'll likely still be good, but THAT good? Debatable. And, I also read one headline that if the Royals don't make the postseason this year, their chances of retaining likely aren't that good. I'm not sure if he'll remain there even if they do- the scenic setting that many talk about in regards to the KC area may help, but if he's looking for a large contract and more playoff appearances, that may not be enough to keep him there. Plus, you do hsave to wonder if they can adequately replace Santana's production in the rotation and Hochevar's production in the bullpen.
May only see 8 pen guys for as long as Giambi is out too though.
Outman will be fine.