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Second Thoughts Game #116: Angels 5, Indians 2

Halos’ five-run first delivers Tribe fifth straight loss

Second Thoughts Game #116: Angels 5, Indians 2
August 10, 2013
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Kazmir getting tired

While we may have denied or even forgotten about the fact that this is Scott Kazmir’s first full season as a big league starter since 2010 and that he may have a point in the season where he begins to tire or his arm and shoulder may show signs of stress. Of course the same is true for any major leaguer due to the six-month long marathon that is the MLB regular season, but the concern for Kazmir is higher because of his sabbatical from the big leagues.

The left-hander struggled in three innings giving up five runs all in the first. It was clear from the get-go that Kazmir didn’t have good command of his pitches as he loaded the bases and served up a two-run single to Mark Trumbo and a three-run bomb to Josh Hamilton. He then battled back in the next two innings before allowing a leadoff single in the fourth before he was finally hooked for right-hander Matt Albers.

Despite being brilliant in his last start against Miami and undefeated for his last ten starts, Kazmir may be experiencing “dead arm” syndrome, where a pitcher loses command of his pitches due to fatigue. Skipper Terry Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway have speculated both before and during the game about giving Kazmir extra rests between starts or even skipping his turn in the rotation from time to time as the season heads into the final stretch.

Speculation has already begun regarding Kazmir’s future both with the Indians and the big leagues as he appears to be pitching his way to a multiyear contract. He’s now approaching a crossroads in his memorable comeback season and we will see if he can overcome it and prove he is once again a reliable starter.

Bats go cold again

When a team hits two home runs in a game, it’s a good thing, but when they’re both solo shots and no other runs are scored, then there’s a problem. Since coming back home, the Indians have not only lost five in a row, but have averaged less than three runs a game in that span. While the pitchers they’ve faced haven’t exactly been pushovers, the quality of the at-bats, particularly with runners in scoring position have been less than productive even with a Justin Verlander or Jered Weaver on the mound.

However, an argument can be made that Tribe batters were able to make better contact, but didn’t have anything to show for it due to strong defense from the Angels. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera easily could have been 4-for-4 in Friday night’s game, but instead finished 1-for-4 with just a solo home run. Cabrera hit the ball hard all night, but right at Trumbo at first, Mike Trout in center field and Colin Cowgill in left field.

But at the end of the day, it’s not about what could have or should have been, but rather what was and that was the Indians scoring only two runs and not being able to capitalize with runners in scoring position. Overall, the Tribe still boasts one of the more productive offenses in the league, but also has had plenty of hot and cold streaks. Whether these guys can straighten themselves out or if someone else needs to be brought in to help stabilize things, we shall see.

Welcome back Carrasco

Okay, I’m not going to lie, I didn’t see Carlos Carrasco coming back up to the majors any time before September. However with the injury to Corey Kluber and the innings limit gradually winding down for Danny Salazar, the Tribe found themselves in need of another option for the rotation. Still, with the issues Carrasco has had this season, I saw Trevor Bauer or maybe even Daisuke Matsuzaka being called up before him.

So, how did Carrasco do in his return to the majors? Well, in five innings of relief following Kazmir and Matt Albers, the right-hander put five zeros on the board allowing only one hit and three walks while striking out four. Since his initial suspension back in 2011 for throwing at Royals DH Billy Butler in a game, Carrasco has never seemed right between the ears. After recovering from Tommy John Surgery, Carrasco quickly earned himself another suspension after being ejected in an April bout against the Yankees after throwing at Kevin Youkilis.

After serving out the second suspension, Carrasco struggled to find any consistency for the Tribe pitching only one quality start out of five before being placed on optional waivers and sent outright to AAA. Now he’s back and has started off on a high note pitching five shutout innings to save a taxed bullpen. He attacked the zone and trusted his stuff, which he has proven in the past is big-league quality and has a chance to be consistently dominant.

It’s only one appearance, though, and he still has to prove he can pitch in attack mode while keeping a cool head on his shoulders.

Facts and Notes:

  • Prior to Friday’s game, former infielder and designated hitter Mark Reynolds was DFA’ed by the Indians. Reynolds says he was frustrated about his lack of playing time as of late and will not accept a minor league assignment if he clears waivers.
  • With a hit on Friday night, Yan Gomes is now batting exactly .500 over his last 10 games going 16-for-32 with two homers and eight RBI’s.
  • Terry Francona stated in his postgame press conference that Carlos Carrasco will not be sent back to AAA Columbus anytime soon.
  • Angels’ centerfielder Mike Trout has now reached base safely for 39 straight games after walking twice in Friday’s game against the Tribe.

Up Next: Angels vs. Indians @ Progressive Field. First pitch at 7:05.

The Indians will try to stop their losing streak and keep pace in the wild card race as Ubaldo Jimenez will take the mound against CJ Wilson, a tough lefty for the Angels. Neither pitcher has faced the opposing team this season, but both lost to the opposing teams last season. Jimenez went 0-2 in two starts with an 8.80 ERA while Wilson went 0-1 in one start despite allowing only three runs (two earned) against the Tribe.


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

User Comments

Joe Chengery
August 10, 2013 - 6:28 PM EDT
You have Carrasco, he has the stuff, and he's still relatively young (only 26), so why not use him. You still want him to be a mainstay in the rotation, but at the very least, if he could be an effective reliever, why not? His stuff doesn't grow on trees, and we've seen what power arms can do, never mind the fact that most of the arms in the bullpen have been erratic. And, outside of Allen, I'm not sure anyone else can match Carrasco's stuff.
August 10, 2013 - 4:43 PM EDT
Things not looking good is an understatement...things are looking downright awful.

Also, Is Carrassco the new Andy marte? no matter how many times he proves to be terrible they just keep trotting him out there
Aboard the Titanic
August 10, 2013 - 10:59 AM EDT
There is an iceberg off the starboard side captain
August 10, 2013 - 9:55 AM EDT
No disgrace in getting beat by Weaver who has the best record since 1916 of any major league pitcher in an opposing ballpark. But now the Indians have to break this losing streak and get going again, and right now.

With Kluber out for the year and Kazmir possibly wearing down, things are not looking good. That was a very encouraging performance by Carrasco, though, even in a non-pressure situation.

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