Oakland slams Cleveland 13-3, sweep three-game series
Masterson and offense struggles continue, team drops to a four-game losing streak
CLEVELAND—All winter, the Indians pushed the slogan “Unfinished business,” claiming to have more work to do after sneaking into the postseason last year.
Yet on the brink of summer, the Tribe sits in the unfinished basement of the A.L. Central where the workload continues to mount quickly.
Sunday afternoon proved no different, as Oakland slammed Cleveland 13-3 to sweep the three-game weekend series. Outscored 30-5 against the Athletics, Indians hitters went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position sending them on a four-game losing streak.
“It’s very frustrating,” center fielder Michael Bourn said. “We got beat in every facet of the game—pitching, defense, and timely hitting. We got embarrassed on our home field and it doesn’t get any easier. We have to find a way to fix it and fix it fast.”
It was Bourn that got the Tribe offense on the board in the first inning, belting his first homer of the season off A’s starter Jesse Chavez (4-1, 2.54 ERA). Jumping out to the early lead for the third straight game wouldn’t matter, as things went south in a heartbeat.
Oakland’s Brandon Moss led off the top of the second with a triple off right-hander Justin Masterson (2-3, 5.06 ERA) and came around to score on a throwing error by Lonnie Chisenhall one batter later. Finishing the game with two more errors, Cleveland has now committed 45 errors through 44 games this season.
Masterson proved inconsistent the rest of the contest, going just 4 1/3 innings and yielding seven earned runs on seven hits, walking five A’s hitters.
“It’s pretty much what you saw, don’t really have any words,” the Tribe ace said. “I’m just frustrated. The next one will be good, don’t worry.”
Masterson falls to 0-2 with an 11.17 ERA over his last two outings, allowing five runs or more in five of his 10 starts this year.
“I would say command was probably the biggest issue,” manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think it will be a trend, we believe in Masty a lot.”
Two leadoff walks came back to bite the Indians starter in the fourth inning and Oakland took full advantage of it. Catcher John Jaso gave his ballclub the lead on an RBI double before Josh Reddick put the A’s up two on an RBI single.
Donaldson continued to be a thorn in the side for Cleveland all weekend, finishing the series 5-for-10 with a triple, home run and seven RBI.
“I tip my hat to that team,” Bourn said. “They came out ready to play. They took advantage of pitches and beat us hands down, simple as that.”
Offensively, the Indians wouldn’t come close to mounting a comeback. Michael Brantley highlighted another dismal afternoon for Tribe hitters, going 2-for-3 and launching his team-leading eighth homer in the fifth inning.
Scoring three runs on six hits, they fall to 4-20 when scoring three runs or fewer, doing so in 24 of their 44 games this season.
Chavez gave Oakland five strong innings, surrendering two runs on six hits for his fourth win.
“We have a good team, but you have to play together,” Bourn said. “Some days we pitch good, some days we hit good, some days we play defense good. But it can’t be just some days, it needs to be consistent. Of course you’re going to make errors and have days where the game is off, but we’re doing it too much.”
With the loss, Cleveland (19-25) falls to 10 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the division race.
“What we’re doing right now is not good enough, we have to play better,” Francona said. “That’s on me to have better answers and have our guys more prepared, and we will.”
It’s the furthest the Tribe skipper has been out of first place through 44 games since he managed the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2000.
His players though were quick to have his back and take the responsibility for their lack of success.
“It’s not on the coaching staff,” Bourn said. “It has nothing to do with them. That’s on the 25 dudes in this locker room.”
Spanning eight games earlier this month from May 2-May 9, Cleveland starters went an unbeaten 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA. The rotation has since struggled, posting a 2-6 record with a 7.98 ERA over their last eight games.
“I’m a big believer in pitching and defense,” Bourn said. “I know you have to hit, but look back at any sport, any team that’s good that’s what they do. When you talk about being a good team, pitching and defense always wins games. I don’t care how you look at it or draw it up, that’s the way to win.”
Up next for the Indians: The Wahoo’s open up a three-game series with division rival Detroit, hoping to gain ground on the first place Tigers in the A.L. Central. Right-hander Corey Kluber (4-3, 3.38 ERA) gets the start in the series opener Monday against southpaw Drew Smyly (2-2, 2.70 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Second: though I agree with James, I also agree with Underwood, and have zero confidence that the Tribe front offices, as currently constructed, can reap the benefits of any of the silver linings losing and selling house may bring
That said, his OBP for the month of May is still just .280. Hard to get much offense going when your leadoff guy is one of the worst in baseball at getting on base.
no one was fired for the failures of 9/11, no one went to jail for the melt down of wall street, and no one has ever been fired or held accountable for the Tribe's awful drafts over the past 20 years
Indians 19-25 last place
Rays 19-26 last place
Red Sox WS champs 20-23 4th place
Pirates 18-25 4th place
Reds 19-23 3rd place only because the pirates and cubs are in that division.
Matt if your such hot shot in talent evaluation. Why don't you apply to see if the Indians hire you part of scouting team.
while true, i have less than zero confidence in the organizations ability to target, draft and develop talent. the browns have drafted better in the past 15 years and that aint saying much.
That being said, if another pitcher stops performing or gets hurt, it is going to get ugly quick. Who's next, House? Rough.