Second Thoughts: Game #100 Twins 11, Indians 0
Player of the Game: Scott Diamond (9 innings 3 hits 0 ER 0 BB 6 SO)
Coming into the game having just beaten the American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner in Justin Verlander, the Indians made Twins left-hander Scott Diamond look like a Cy Young candidate himself, getting embarrassed and losing to Minnesota 11-0 on last night. The ballgame itself would be decided in just the first inning, when Justin Morneau crushed a 3-run homer off struggling Indians starter Josh Tomlin, losing in his third consecutive start.
With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, this very well could have been Tomlin’s last start as a member of the Tribe and their big league roster. The right-hander who led the Indians in wins just one season ago now owns a 5.87 ERA.
The Bottom 9
- Was it Tomlin’s last start as an Indian? After leading the Tribe with 12 victories last season, the Indians and Tomlin sit at a crossroads. Do they make a trade for another starter and option him to Triple-A Columbus? Or should they try and make him a long reliever by inserting him into the bullpen? My guess is this will be the last time we see Tomlin as a member of the Tribe starting staff for a while. I really believe Indians ownership will have no choice but to make a deal for another starter after watching Tomlin’s performance on Friday.
- Offense? Diamond left the Indians hitters guessing throughout the entire game last night. The lefty would go onto pitch a three-hit complete game shutout, the first of his Major League career. Let’s not forget about Diamond’s bid for a Perfect Game as well, where Travis Hafner would break up the no-no with a base hit with one out in the fifth inning.
- Losing to the AL’s worst team. For a team pushing to get back into the American League Central race, a loss to the AL’s worst team in the Twins certainly doesn’t help. Having just taken two out of three from division rival Detroit, and climbing back in the playoff race, the Indians took a huge step backward now needing to win the final two games of the series if they want to make up ground. Just an inexcusable loss for the Tribe last night in all aspects of the game.
- 1st inning struggles continue for Tomlin. What is it about Tomlin and the first inning? The Indians right-hander now owns a horrific 12.38 ERA in the first inning, giving up 22 earned runs in just 16 innings. His ERA in the first frame last season: 1.38. Over his last three starts, Tomlin has also given up two, two-run homers and one three-run shot before his team comes to bat. Hard for an offense like the Indians to make any sort of comeback after being down by an early deficit as we saw yesterday.
- Loss against another lefty. There’s not much left to say about the Tribe and their struggles against left-handed starting pitching. The team is now 10-21 against southpaws this season.
- Josh Willingham...what if? Wow, would Josh Willingham look good in an Indians uniform. He sure made his point to the Tribe on Friday night slamming a three-run homer in the fourth inning, his 26th home run of the season. We can give David Dellucci a three-year contract back in 2007, but we couldn’t give Willingham one. Unbelieveable.
- Early deficit. Like I referenced earlier, it’s hard for any team (let alone the Indians) to make a comeback being down a quick three runs early. This is just not the way the Tribe is built to win. They need their starters to eat up innings, give them quality starts and win ballgames 4-3, 2-1, or 3-2. Cleveland has only scored double-digit runs in two games in the month of July.
- Hitters 1 thru 5. Yes, the Indians offense struggled to do much of anything last night, but hitters 1-5 (Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana) went a combined 0-for-16 against Diamond yesterday. I don’t care if it’s the Tribe or Yankees, anytime your first five hitters in a lineup can’t produce, you are just not going to win.
- Kipnis homerless streak. We all have been Kipnisses this season, and excited for the bright future that is ahead for the Indians second baseman, but he has tailed off in some sorts in power numbers. It’s hard to believe, but Kipnis has not hit a home run in all of July, where his last one came way back on June 17 against Pittsburgh. For a player who was once leading the Tribe in homers, Kipnis has remained in a power outage.
The Top Moment
An argument can be made that there were not any highlights or top moments for the Indians in an 11-0 loss, but I did notice just one thing. With two scoreless innings against Minnesota on Friday, recently called-up Tribe reliever Cody Allen still has yet to give up an earned run in the big leagues. The young 23-year-old has now given up just one hit through his first 5 1/3 innings of work in the Major Leagues.
With the Tribe loss and a White Sox win yesterday, the Indians (50-50) now sit 4.5 games in back of Detroit in the Central Division, tied for their largest deficit so far this season. Before the Boston Red Sox traded Kevin Youkilis to Chicago, it was rumored that Cleveland had interest in the former Red Sox All-Star as well. The framework of a deal could never be worked out, as the Tribe was unwilling to part with one player the Red Sox wanted: Josh Tomlin.
Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try to avoid losing the first two in the series on Saturday, as it will be Justin Masterson (7-8, 4.12 ERA) vs. Sam Deduno (1-0, 3.94 ERA) at 7:10 pm. Masterson will look to build on his last start against Baltimore, where the Tribe ace went 7 1/3 innings giving up just one run on seven hits, walking one and striking out six. The last time he faced Minnesota was back on June 3rd, where he went six innings giving up three runs and earning the tough loss. The Tribe has never faced Deduno, who will be making his fourth career start in the big leagues.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tribe could try addition by subtraction bringing in a cpl pieces by moving CPerez or Choo but it would have to be for now talent. I believe we will see them moved, but likely not until this offseason for MLB ready talents. In the past wk CPerez has been linked to the Giants, while Choo has been scouted by the Rangers. The tribe is also linked to Shields and Headley as well, CA is looking to make moves for now and the future.
FC Hernandez will be back in a cpl wks with a fresh arm and a new start. He could be invaluable to this club over the next 2+ mths.