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Second Thoughts Game #100: Indians 3, Mariners 4

McAllister returns, but is shafted by poor defense and inconsistent bats

Second Thoughts Game #100: Indians 3, Mariners 4
July 24, 2013
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Return of the Mac

The long-anticipated return of Zach McAllister to the Indians rotation is finally here and while his first start wasn’t all that great, we’ll still take it considering the circumstances. The right-hander pitched five innings allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and had to work around miscues by his defense as well as his own rustiness from being absent from a big league mound for over a month and a half.

The main concern with McAllister in his first start back from injury, however, was monitoring his ability to pitch without discomfort or setbacks. He pitched without incident on Tuesday night throwing 109 pitches despite only going five innings.

Not much can or should be taken away from this start as far as where McAllister stands in the rotation, but he did battle about as hard as he could. Just having him healthy and able to throw 100+ pitches in his first start back is good enough at this point. If he can be anything close to the pitcher he was before his finger started flaring up, an already-reliable rotation a shot in the arm almost as good as acquiring another starter. While that doesn’t mean the team still won’t do so, it’s still nice to have more internal options.

Back to Basics

Ugly, sloppy, zombie baseball, or however you choose to describe the latest Tribe games, it’s open game for adjectives aimed at how poorly the Indians have executed seemingly routine and fundamental plays on defense since coming out of the All-Star break. In just five games, the Tribe has committed seven errors, several of which were on relatively simple plays that led to key runs scoring.

As for the fan reaction to these games, well let’s just say Randy Quaid’s character in Major League II didn’t have anything on the vendettas of some Tribe faithful during the last five games and rightly so. Drew Stubbs getting caught in a rundown between third and home in the ninth inning to kill a potential rally was infuriating enough to make one put their head through a wall.

Terry Francona said in his postgame interview that as soon as the team returns home, they will get back to basics and tighten up the defense. While the Tribe isn’t out of the race yet, they cannot have these miscues happen, especially against teams they should beat in order to keep pace with Detroit.

Quote of the Game:

"We need to get back home, get out there & get some early work in, because we're not catching the ball very well,” – Terry Francona on the team’s defensive struggles.

Up Next: Indians vs. Mariners @ Safeco Park. 3:40pm ET first pitch.

The Indians will try to avoid the sweep again and finish this road trip on a high note as they hand the ball to left-hander Scott Kazmir, who pitched a shutout effort in the post-All-Star break opener against the Twins, but had his handiwork erased on the same mental lapses that have plagued the team all this week. Kazmir has only made one start against Seattle this season and lasted only three innings while giving up five runs. The Indians would go on to win that game in walkoff fashion, however.

Another southpaw will to the rubber for Seattle in Joe Saunders, who made one start against the Tribe this season and was tagged for four runs in five and a third innings, but left with a no-decision. The Indians will hope to repeat all that damage and more as they look to leave the Emerald City with at least one win under their belts.


Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.

User Comments

July 24, 2013 - 7:44 PM EDT
JHC, Kazmir is pitching ala Koufax and Kluber is pitching like Drysdale. Even Ubaldo manages to snake and worm his way thru opposing lineups with surprisingly few of the opposition ever crossing the plate. These are 3 pitchers that not even Bo Porter would have looked at over the winter. To lose close ballgames because 2 or 3 guys strike out or can't hit a sac fly or bunt, and boot balls, or throw them away, and run themselves out of innings on the bases is a sacrelige, and the baseball gods could send the pitching magic elsewhere if things don't change, The Indians are right there w the Tigers, and the Tigers can't seem to lose them. If the Tribe stays loose- not too loose- and focused and play good baseball one inning at a time, we have a race into September.
July 24, 2013 - 4:10 PM EDT
I may have assumed that trading for rental help this season would compromise the wealth of the Indians' farm system going forward, thereby having an effect on the potential of the big league club in future seasons... Oh, wait. That's a totally reasonable assumption.

You're also right about the state of the Indians' record vs. the Tigers, and that they don't have to beat them to make the postseason. So they have that going for them. Which is nice.
July 24, 2013 - 4:01 PM EDT
Seek help.
July 24, 2013 - 3:29 PM EDT
Well, screw it, no sarcasm from me then. Seriously!

Screw the playoffs! I've just not decided that I DON'T CARE IF THE EVER MAKE THE PLAYOFFS AGAIN!


I don't want to sound desperate.

I mean, are we talking edging the Tigers into the playoffs, or beating the Tigers. They may not be mutually exclusive. They may be.

Did anyone insinuate that we SHOULDN'T be excited by next year's team, or the year after, or the year after that?

So, just to be clear, in Smoke Signals, an expert said they didn't fill all the holes in the offseason, and want to trade to fill the holes.

What a stretch.

Who wants to play for the playoffs and who wants to fill the holes in the team.

Not this guy.

Did they suggest trading Kipnis or Lindor or Santana. Did they suggest trading for Garza and giving up their top 20 prospects? Did they suggest trading Santana or Bourn or, well, who did they suggest?

Clearly too much, so,


World Series or bust!!!

July 24, 2013 - 3:28 PM EDT
I'm not sure who is calling the Tigers over-rated. I just wrote a piece two weeks or so back that the Indians simply don't stack up to them. If anything, the Tigers are way underperforming what they should be doing, which is running away with the division and the best record in the AL.

That said, the Indians are a flawed team, just like about every other team. There is a lot of parity and not much separates the #3-5 teams and the #9-12 teams in the AL. Flawed or not, the Indians have managed to have a winning record to this point even with a lot of disappointment from the team and inconsistency.....and being that they are so close with the Tigers still stuck in the mud, Peralta potentially facing a long suspension (Biogenesis) and so on, it wouldn't hurt the Indians to make a deal that not only improves the club for this season, but next season as well. Which is why any starting pitching they are looking to acquire is for beyond this season and sort of a way to get a jumpstart on their offseason.....and while a bat may be a rental, it opens the door for them to potentially keep the player.

Can they win the World Series? Probably not. Will they make the playoffs? Maybe. But you have to start somewhere, and this is a team that does not have all its eggs in one basket and hopefully is turning a corner to remain in contention for the next several years.
July 24, 2013 - 3:17 PM EDT
I totally remember that. I also remember that nobody has called the Tigers overrated during any series with the Indians this season. Nobody on the Indians has called the Tigers anything, in fact, since they've had trouble talking with the Tigers' cleats stomping on their throats.

The thing I'm most curious about is how desperate everybody is just to make the postseason. I mean, I get that we should be excited about this team, but shouldn't we be excited about this team and next year's team and the team that plays the year after that (and so on, and so on). If we're listening to Smoke Signals, we hear the experts from this site saying, in the same breath, that this team couldn't be expected to fill all its holes in one offseason but we should be trading to plug gaping holes in a very flawed team in order to make what is very likely a vain shot at the playoffs this season. I'm clearly missing something here. Please sarcastically inform me what that is.
July 24, 2013 - 1:39 PM EDT
Hey everyone,

Remember when we didn't base an entire season on five games, all on the road, in which all four losses were by one-run, and all likely could have been wins? Remember that they're only 3 1/2 games behind an overrated Tigers team? Remember that their strength of schedule in September is still pretty freakin' weak, and that the Indians still likely will "keep beating the teams they should beat" to make a surprise run to the playoffs.

Oh wait, this is Cleveland, nevermind.
July 24, 2013 - 12:28 PM EDT
Hey everyone,

Remember when the we thought that the Indians easy schedule meant trading for bats was all they needed to do to edge the Tigers out of the postseason? Remember when the strength of schedule was so weak that all the Tribe had to do was "keep beating the teams they should beat" to make a surprise run to the World Series?

Me too.
July 24, 2013 - 11:21 AM EDT
I think Francona and Antonetti have to make some changes now or kiss the late run goodbye. Reynolds is hitting .182 since May 7 and that was another error not a double last night- major league first baseman, most double/tripleA first basemen make that play 10 times out of 10. He has to go, if they can't get anything for him, DFA him. Yan Gomes is better offensively and defensively and he is up an coming, needs the work at 1B when he's not catching. Swisher what can I say I haven't said before. They gave a huge long term contract to a rah rah guy w slightly better than average skills who is past his prime and declining. They would have been better off hiring 10 hot Wahoo cheerleaders for 1mil and banking 43 mil. They are going to have to eat this contract.

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