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Second Thoughts: Game #106 Tigers 10, Indians 2

Second Thoughts: Game #106 Tigers 10, Indians 2
August 4, 2012
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  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
CLE 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 9 1
DET 0 1 2 4 0 3 0 0 X 10 16 1
W: Sanchez (1-1) L:Masterson (7-10)

Player of the Game: Prince Fielder (3-for-4 with a double, home run and 4 RBI)

The Leadoff

And the losing streak continues. After being swept by the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals this past week, the Indians dropped their seventh game in a row to Detroit on Friday night, 10-2. It marked just the third time the team was defeated by the Tigers in 10 games this season.

Tribe starter Justin Masterson struggled for his second straight outing Friday, giving up seven runs in just four innings and now sits 0-2 with a 13.96 ERA over his last two starts. After starting the 2011 season with a 30-15 record last year, Cleveland has a posted a record of just 100-123 since May 24, 2011.

The Bottom 9

  • Starting pitching woes continue. It amazes me how bad Indians starting pitching has been over the past week.  Tribe starters have given up at least six earned runs in five of the last seven games. With an offense like Cleveland has, there’s no room for error when it comes to starting pitching. I’m not saying we need to pitch a shutout in each outing in order to win (although that would certainly help), what I am saying is that the Indians NEED more quality starts from their starters in order to keep themselves in games. With the way things have been going for the club, it almost makes ballgames unwatchable right now, especially for a team that can’t pitch, can’t hit, or can’t catch the ball (more to come on that).  
  • Can somebody play left field?? Anybody? What is it about Ezequiel Carrera and dropping the ball in the outfield? Like last season, it was déjà vu all over again as the newly promoted outfielder lost the ball in the sun which resulted in the Tigers first run of the ballgame. Sun or no sun, there is absolutely no excuses for missing the ball in left field when Carrera has flip-down sunglasses, which he never flipped down. Yes, Carrera was recently named the Indians Minor League Player of the Week, but personally, I don’t see where he fits on this team in the near future. In my mind, the Tribe needs to find a right-handed hitter with power that can play left field during the offseason. The only question left to ask about the Carrera’s mental error last night is, would Johnny Damon have caught it?
  • Losing streak now sits at seven. Will we ever win another game? It certainly doesn’t seem like it the way things have gone over the past week for the Tribe. With the loss last night, the Indians sit a season-high six games under the .500 mark. Cleveland has not been that far under .500 since the end of the 2010 season. If the Indians finish under that mark again this year, it will be for the third time in the three years under Tribe manager Manny Acta.
  • Runners in scoring position. Indians were just 1-for-10 with RISP on Friday night…’nuff said.
  • Tigers hit parade. Six of the nine Tigers in the starting lineup collected multiple hits last night off Indians pitching. The six players were hitters 2 thru 7 in the Detroit lineup, as they went a combined 14-for-28 (.500) with a double, home run and nine RBI. Prince Fielder played a big part in the Detroit win, going 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI.
  • Offensive woes continue as well. If a team can’t pitch, they can’t win. If a team can’t hit, they can’t win either. So what happens when a team can’t do both? Just ask the Indians. Scoring just two runs on Friday night, the Tribe have now put up three runs or less in five of their last seven ballgames. Inexcusable after defeating Justin Verlander for the second time this season, but losing against pitchers like Sam Deduno, Brian Duensing, Luis Mendoza, Luke Hochevar and now Anibal Sanchez.
  • Making the opposing starter look like a Cy Young candidate...again. Anibal Sanchez is far from a Cy Young Award candidate and yet, he showed signs of being one against the Tribe last night. The recently acquired right-hander went six solid innings for the Tigers giving up just one run on eight hits for his first American League victory since being traded from the Miami Marlins. And I thought it was only left-handers that the Indians struggled against.
  • Where’s Chris Perez? If closer Chris Perez wants to call out Indians fans for not supporting the team or embracing so much negativity towards the team, why not show the same fire and passion in the team clubhouse? Be a team leader, voice your opinion and call some guys out. We all know Perez can’t close games when the club is losing like this (although he did give up the game-winning hit on Thursday night against the Royals), that doesn’t matter right now though. Stepping up and voicing opinions is better than sitting and watching the Tribe continue to fall out of the American League Central Division race from the bullpen. I can’t think of a better time to do it now that veterans Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon have been designated for assignment as well.
  • Designating Johnny Damon for assignment. As a baseball and Tribe fan my entire life, it’s tough to see the Indians designate Lowe and now Johnny Damon for assignment. With still two months of baseball to play, it seems as if Cleveland is closing the book on the 2012 season. As much as it hurts me to see both class act World Champion ballplayers gone and the season has take a turn for the worst, it didn’t make much sense for the Tribe to keep them around any longer as both players dealt with struggles of their own over the last two months of the season. Now, if they only could have packaged Manny Acta and Scott Radinsky with them.

The Top Moment

The only highlight in Friday night’s ballgame came from rookie reliever Cody Allen, who extended his scoreless inning streak to a career-high 7 1/3 innings. The right-hander has given up just one hit over his first 7 1/3 innings in the big leagues.

Closing Time

With another Tribe loss and a White Sox victory last night, Cleveland (50-56) now sit a season high 8.5 games in back of Chicago in the Central Division. The Indians starting rotation now has a 12.40 ERA during the seven game losing streak, giving up 45 earned runs in just 33 2/3 innings pitched. The Tribe also has not finished above .500 during a season where they endured a seven game losing streak since 1981.

Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try to end the seven game losing streak on Saturday, as it will be Ubaldo Jimenez (8-10, 5.08 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (5-7, 3.77 ERA) at 7:05 pm. Jimenez went six shutout innings in his last outing against Detroit on July 24. The Indians right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts against the Motor City Kitties this season. Fister does not have a win against the Tribe in 2012, but owns a 3.29 ERA in two starts against them.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

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