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Second Thoughts: Game #120-A's 8, Indians 5

Second Thoughts: Game #120-A's 8, Indians 5
August 19, 2012
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  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 5 10 2
Oakland 0 0 4 0 0 1 1 2 x 8 9 0
W:Colon (10-9) L: C. Kluber (0-2) SV: Balfour (11)
Player of the Game:  Bartolo Colon, Oakland Athletics
Stat Line: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
What Went Right:
Bartolo Colon.  Unfortunately, he pitches for Oakland.  Colon’s running two-seamer kept Indians hitters off balance all throughout his eight innings of work.
Cleveland had ten hits on the night (five in the 9th inning), seven of which came from the 2-3-4-5 hitters in the lineup.  That part of the lineup is where the hits are expected to be coming from.
Carlos Santana’s solo homer in the 7th inning to center field was good to see.  His swing on Colon’s two-seam fastball showed that he was the only hitter in the lineup that caught on to the fact that Colon was throwing about 99% running two-seamers on the inside corner to the lefties in the lineup.  Santana jumped on the first pitch he saw and drilled it to dead center for his 13th homer of the year.  Choo also homered in the game, his 15th, off of Even Scribner, and Brent Lillibridge blasted his 4th of the year in pinch hit fashion off of Jerry Blevins.  Both homeruns were two-run shots and both were in the 9th inning.
What Went Wrong:
The pitching and the defense all had some serious issues on Saturday night.  Corey Kluber struggled to throw strikes, and also had trouble putting hitters away.  Frank Herrmann gave up two earned runs in this 1.1 innings.  Cody Allen allowed one of Herrman’s runs to cross the plate, and escaped with the help of some luck, as he threw too many pitches and left too many strikes over the heart of the plate.  Chris Seddon finished it off for the Tribe, giving up two earned runs on one hit and two walks.
The defense continues to look shaky, at best.  Asdrubal was charged with an error on a throw that I feel should have either been an error on Kotchman, as it was definitely a catchable ball, or an infield hit.  In Oakland’s four-run 3rd inning, a passed ball by Santana helped lead to a couple of Oakland’s four runs.  Jack Hannahan was also charged with an error on a dropped fly ball in foul territory.
What Inspired Hope:
Cleveland’s most consistent hitters this season (Cabrera, Choo, and Brantley), each had two hits on the night.  Cabrera had a double and a single, Choo singled and homered, and the smooth swinging Brantley roped a couple of singles.  The offense looked great in the 9th inning, as they scored four runs.  But after the pitching gave up eight runs, and Colon held the Tribe to one run through eight innings, the four-run ninth was too little, too late.  The rest of the lineup struggled, outside of the homeruns from Santana and Lillibridge, and the pitching was hard to watch at times.
What Is Concerning:
What’s most concerning for a lot of fans right now is the steady decline of Jason Kipnis.  He has not looked anything like the Kipnis we saw prior to the All-Star break, and has seen his average fall to .254.  He also has not homered since June 17.  All in all, I’m not too worried about Kipnis, but this stretch sure has to be frustrating for him.
The bottom of the order has been a concern all year, and it still is, and it will continue to be.  When the top of the order is up or due up, there’s a little bit of hope that Cleveland can scratch across some runs.  However, when the bottom of the order is up, I find myself searching for a fast forward button.
Up Next:
The Indians finish up their series with Oakland on Sunday afternoon at 4:05 pm.  Justin Masterson (9-10, 4.50 ERA), will get the start for Cleveland, as they look to avoid the sweep.  The A’s will counter with rookie Jarrod Parker (7-7, 3.71 ERA).

User Comments

August 19, 2012 - 10:14 AM EDT
On the bright side, Kluber was better. He gave up no runs in four of five innings. In the 4th he was victimized by an error and a passed ball. He also gave up a HR to Yespedes, who has been the best hitter in the AL since the All-Star break. Nothing to be ashamed of there.

The key will be whether he can follow this up with more decent starts and even improve. He should get seven or eight more starts this year, so he has a chance to get an inside track on a spot in the rotation next year. He'll cost a fraction of what Ubaldo and Hernandez will cost and has a higher upside, so if he outpitches or even matches them over the next six weeks it will make the Indians decisions on whether to pick up their options a bit easier. If he shows he's not ready for the Show, they may have to bite the bullet and bring one or both of them back.

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