Second Thoughts Game #11: White Sox 3, Indians 1
Peavy shuts down Tribe hitters in series finale
Player of the Game: Jake Peavy (7 innings 5 hits 1 ER 0 BB / 11 SO)
The Tribe bats were iced by a great pitching performance by White Sox right hander Jake Peavy on Sunday, as the Wahoo’s fell to Chicago 3-1. In the loss, Cleveland wasted a solid pitching performance by Brett Myers, who rebounded off his first two outings giving up just two earned runs on six hits through six innings of work.
The Bottom 9
- Inconsistent offense. We all knew the kind of roller coaster ride the Tribe pitching staff would be at the outset of the season, but what I didn’t know was that the offense would also have their ups and downs. Although the team won in dramatic fashion on Friday, the offense would muster up just one run in the ballgame. Saturday was completely different, as Cleveland exploded for nine runs against Chris Sale. And then on Sunday afternoon, the bats go back on ice and the team scores just one run again. Its early Indians fans, consistency will come as the season progresses…I hope.
- Abra Cabrera. What happened to Asdrubal Cabrera? The two-time All-Star looks absolutely lost at the plate and nothing like the productive player we all know him to be. Could the World Baseball Classic have taken a toll on the Tribe shortstop? Maybe, but with three strikeouts in the ballgame, Cabrera is hitting just .119 (4-for-38) with two homers, three RBI and 14 strikeouts. Without consistent production from the Tribe’s two-hole hitter, this team will have a very hard time contending for a playoff spot this year.
- Strikeouts. Progressive Field didn’t need any wind to generate any power at the ballpark yesterday, as Tribe hitters struck out 11 times against Peavy. We all knew the strikeouts would come, but I thought it would be Chris Sale instead of Peavy that would have a type of outing like this against Indians hitters. Just a strange start to the 2013 campaign that’s for sure.
- Pinch running Reynolds. After Mark Reynolds singled with one out in the bottom half of the seventh and the Indians down 2-1, Tribe manager Terry Francona pinch ran the Tribe first baseman for Drew Stubbs. At the time I kind of understood the move, that is if Francona wanted to try and steal Stubbs to sneak a run home late. But the only problem was Stubbs never attempted to steal second base. Why take out your best hitter with the most power potential at the plate that early in the game anyway? With the Indians down 3-1 in the ninth inning, Reynolds would have come up to bat in the inning needing only one swing to potentially tie the game. With a stymied Cleveland offense already without the likes of Carlos Santana, you have to keep Reynolds in the lineup throughout the ballgame there.
- Paul Konerko. Public enemy number one when it comes to opposing Tribe killers over the last decade. Paul Konerko’s two-run home run off Myers in the sixth inning ended up being the game winner for Chicago. Over the last 10 years, Konerko has hit 30 homers off Indians pitching, the most of any opposing hitter.
- No leadoff man. After Michael Bourn led off the game with his second home run of the year, the Indians offense was unable to get the leadoff man on for the rest of the game. In order to manufacture runs, getting the first batter on is crucial and that just didn’t happen for the Wahoo’s on Sunday.
- Errors. For the sixth time in their last five games, the Tribe committed an error in the ballgame. Sunday’s error by Lonnie Chisenhall already was Cleveland’s tenth through the team’s first 11 games. Defense more than anything should not be a problem with this team right now.
- No Chiz Kid? I spoke highly of Chisenhall heading into 2013, and while I still believe he will impact the team greatly this season, the third baseman has struggled at the plate of late. After driving in six runs through the team’s first six games, Chisenhall has just one hit in his last 10 at-bats with five strikeouts. It won’t get any easier for the Chiz Kid as the Tribe are set to face two lefties in their next series versus Boston.
- Swisher ends hit streak. Going hitless in four at-bats on Sunday, right fielder Nick Swisher ended his 20-game Progressive Field hitting streak. The 20 game streak is tied with the Philadelphia Phillies’ Michael Young for the longest in Progressive Field history.
The Top 3
- Brett was his best. Although he picked up the loss, Indians starter Brett Myers pitched a great ballgame on Sunday and ultimately gave his team a chance to win. Home runs still remain the problem for Myers, but I liked the intensity and grit he showed working through six strong innings. The Tribe needs him to keep the ball down and eat up innings and that’s exactly what he did.
- Bourn to fly. What is there not to like about centerfielder Michael Bourn? With another three hits in the ballgame including his second home run, Bourn is now hitting .333 (15-for-45) with two homers and two RBI on the year. While he was hurt on the play, I loved the pure speed and headfirst slide he showed beating out a routine groundball to first. Bourn is listed as day-to-day right now, but is not expected to play in this upcoming series against the Boston Red Sox.
- Win the series. Despite another underwhelming performance by the Indians offense, Cleveland won the three game series against their division rivals. Whether it’s this early in the season or down the stretch in September, winning a best of three or four series is all that matters in the long run.
With the loss against Chicago, the Tribe falls below the .500 mark with a record of 5-6 on the season, just one and a half games in back of first place in the American League Central Division.
Up next for the Indians: The first of a three game series against the Boston Red Sox, as Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1, 6.97 ERA) will take the ball for the Tribe versus Red Sox lefty Felix Doubront (0-0, 5.40 ERA) on Tuesday.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
The Spoiler: I think we all miss those 90's Indians teams...they were the glory days. Thome was my homie growing up too, I wish a team would sign him to give him one last shot in the bigs. And ps. as much as I love fantasy football season, baseball season has only just begun...but just remember who's name is on that trophy with yours!
Now, if there had been two outs and a runner at 3B, I could justify this a little better, but as it stands, there was no reason to slide into 1B.
As for the offense, it has to be noted that they are struggling for sure.....but they are also missing a pretty big weapon in Santana. And Kipnis was out (even though he is struggling).
The Tribe invested $7 million in Myers and they need him to be the next Paul Byrd. He sure looked like him today.
I just wish Francona had gone to Joe Smith against Konerko in the 6th. Konerko kills the Indians every time. What part of 47 career home runs didn't Francona understand?
Also, with a 3-1 count Myers should have walked Konerko and gone after Viciedo, who he got to pop out. You don't throw Konerko a fastball in the strike zone with a 3-1 count and up by a run with a man on base. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Either bring in Smith or walk him, but don't let this guy beat you.
Asdrubal is 4-for-38 with two home runs and 14 K's. With those numbers it's pretty obvious he's trying to hit a home run every time up. He needs to cut that out and just hit the ball where it's pitched and let the HR's come naturally. He's killing the Tribe's offense from the #2 position in the order.
Tough to lose Bourn but at least we're getting Santana back.
So far Chiz looks like a minor leaguer both offensively and defensively. Not that I want us to bring Hannahan back or anything...