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Second Thoughts: Game #132 Rangers 5, Indians 3

Second Thoughts: Game #132 Rangers 5, Indians 3
September 1, 2012
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Player of the Game: Adrian Beltre (4-for-5 with 1 2B, 1 RBI and 1 run scored)

The Leadoff

The month of September could not have come any faster for the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe battled back late in Friday night’s ballgame against the Texas Rangers, but fell short, losing their sixth straight by a score of 5-3.

Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez became the first pitcher in the American League and third in Major League Baseball to reach 14 losses on the season. The Tribe right hander went 5 2/3 innings surrendering four earned runs on eight hits in the ballgame.

The Bottom 8.

  • August tied for the worst month in franchise history. Finishing the month of August with a record of 5-24, the Indians tied a franchise record set back in 1914 for most losses in a month. Cleveland pitchers posted an ERA of 5.53 during the month with Justin Masterson winning three of the Indians five victories in August.
  • Ubaldo now with 14 losses. Over his last 10 starts, Jimenez is now 1-7 with a 7.79 ERA. Ouch. Since coming to Cleveland in the blockbuster trade with the Colorado Rockies last year, Jimenez is just 13-18 with a 5.46 ERA in 38 starts with the Tribe.
  • Offense collects just 5 hits. Up until the bottom of the ninth inning last night, the Tribe collected just one run on three hits. Friday marked the third time over the last seven games that the Indians were held to just five hits or less in a game.
  • Scoring three runs or less. For the tenth time over their last 12 games, the Indians offense managed to score just three runs or less. Yes, pitching wins ballgames but on a team like the Indians, the starting pitcher almost has to be nearly perfect yielding just one or two runs to even have a shot at winning it seems like. With the offense struggling again and Jimenez toeing the rubber, the Tribe had their backs against the wall from the very start of the game.
  • Asdrubal’s play. With two outs and runners on second and third, Michael Young hit a ground ball in the hole between shortstop and third base that Asdrubal Cabrera botched what should have been a routine play for the Indians shortstop that led to two more runs scored in the inning. If Cabrera makes that play, the game could have easily gone into extra innings.
  • Jason Kipnis struggling. I have said it time and time again: So goes Jason Kipnis, so goes the Indians. It sure seems that way as Kipnis finished the month of August with a .180 average (16-for-89) with two home runs and 10 RBI. It’s sad to see the Indians second baseman struggling down the stretch after posting solid numbers all season.
  • Bottom third of the order hitless. Ezequiel Carrera, Jack Hannahan, Brent Lillibridge and Jason Donald went a combined 0-for-10 in the ballgame with four strikeouts. With an already stagnant offense, a contribution from all point of the lineup is a key for an Indians victory.
  • Jason Donald playing left field. I don’t understand why Jason Donald is playing left field. Sure he needs the playing time like any of the young players on this team, but this reminds me of when the Indians tried Luis Valbuena out in left field. Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but this almost definitely signifies that the Tribe will hopefully go after a productive left fielder this offseason.

The Top 3.

  • The month of August is over. I think all Tribe fans out there like to see the calendar finally flip to September. There’s not much else to say than to say it’s nice to have a clean slate after posting a record of 5-24 in the month.
  • September means minor league call-ups. With the month of August over, Major League teams have officially expanded to 40-man rosters. Among the first call-ups for the Indians are Russ Canzler, Scott Barnes and Thomas Neal. I personally cannot wait to see what Canzler can do finally given a chance in the big leagues.
  • Akron Aeros clinch division! For the second time in the last four seasons, the Double-A Akron Aeros have clinched the Eastern League Western Division. At least there is one (so-called) winning “Cleveland” team this season. Buy your playoff tickets now folks!

Closing Time

With another Indians loss on Friday night, Cleveland (55-77) moves just 1.5 games in front of the last place Minnesota Twins in the Central Division. The Tribe would have to go 18-12 in the month of September to avoid what could be their third 90+ losing season over the past five years.

Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and avoid losing their seventh straight on Saturday, as it will be Jeanmar Gomez (4-7, 5.11 ERA) vs. Scott Feldman (6-10, 4.95 ERA) at 7:05 pm. Gomez pitched against Texas back on May 23, where the right-hander went seven solid innings giving up just three runs on eight hits for the victory. Feldman has not faced the Indians in 2012, but is 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA over 31 innings against the Tribe in his career.

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

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