Second Thoughts: Game #102 - Twins 5, Indians 1
|W: B Duensing (2-6) L: U. Jimenez (8-10)|
Player of the Game: Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins (3-4, HR, 2 RBI)
What Went Right:
- Well, not a lot – if anything at all. The Indians dropped their third straight (all three to the Twins), and were outscored 28-6 in the series. Thursday night’s comeback win against Verlander and Detroit seems like months ago. That win, which at the time looked like a possible season saver, now looks simply like a tally in the “W” column.
- One bright spot was Shelley Duncan’s game. Duncan went 2-4 on the day, and drove in Cleveland’s lone run. The top of the fourth inning looked like a possible spark, when Cabrera led off with a single, moved to third on a two-out single by Brantley, and scored on Duncan’s single to left. However, in the remaining five innings, a total of three Indians reached base (Lopez single in 6th, Lillibridge single in 8th, Santana walk in 9th).
What Went Wrong:
- To start, the Twins starting pitcher, Brian Duensing, throws the ball with his left hand. Over his six innings of work, Duensing gave up five hits, one run, no walks, and struck out two. Minnesota’s bullpen then combined to throw three shutout innings, giving up only one hit.
- Although Jimenez pitched better than his final line shows (6.1 innings, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR), he did a horrible job of keeping the Twins running game in check. Ben Revere stole two bases off of Jimenez/Marson, and Brian Dozier stole one. Tony Sipp didn’t fare any better in terms of stopping the running game, as he allowed two more stolen bases in 1.2 innings. Jimenez also gift wrapped a run in the 5th, when Revere doubled, moved to third on Ubaldo’s crow hop/spin attempt/I don’t even know, balk, and then scored on a wild pitch.
What Inspired Hope:
- Lillibridge got his first hit as an Indian. That’s encouraging, right? Tony Sipp had a scoreless outing, although he gave up a two-run single to Revere that was charged to Jimenez. Also, the Indians hit .333 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. Unfortunately that was because they had one hit in only three at bats with runners in scoring position.
What Is Concerning:
- The pitching and the offense. The Indians went 6-for-32 on Sunday, which is good for a .188 average, and scored only one run. This was against a spot starter on a team that has given up the most runs in the AL, and second most in the MLB.
- As I said before, Ubaldo pitched better than the box score shows. But when your offense can’t seem to score more than three runs a game, every little mistake gets magnified. His five earned run performance looks like a gem compared to Tomlin’s and Masterson’s nightmare starts the first two games of the series.
This is the Indians final game before the trade deadline. When they play again on Tuesday night, the deadline will have already passed. So are the Indians buyers or sellers? In my opinion, neither – well kind of.
By no means should this team sell. This is still a team with some very talented players and a team that expects to compete next year. Selling is a waving of the white flag for at least a couple of years, and it will be impossible to convince the fans that selling is the right thing to do. I believe the Indians should be in a mode where they’re buying more for next year than this year. Meaning they should be making smart trades for controllable players that will help next year’s team accomplish their playoff goals.
If that means trading Choo or Perez, then so be it. But if those two are traded, the Indians have to get Major League ready players who can step in right away and produce both this year and next. No prospects. This team still has some promise, and the right moves could get them to where they want to go. Although it may be in 2013, not 2012.