Second Thoughts Game #19: White Sox 3, Indians 2
Cleveland once again cannot solve the mystery of Quintana
Coming off three straight wins to climb back to 8-10, the Indians needed to solve Jorge Quintana to leave Chicago with a rain-shortened series sweep. Two weeks ago, Quintana pitched seven innings of one-hit baseball against the Indians, and he was facing a lineup without Michael Bourn, Carlos Santana, and Asdrubal Cabrera during this game. From the start, this looked like a tough game to win.
The Whole Nine
1. Zach McAllister wasn’t particularly good in this game. The obvious issue was his control with the five walks given up. After not allowing a free pass in his first two starts, he’s now allowed eight in the previous two. To his credit, he limited the damage and was effective in working out of trouble. The Indians would take this start from several of their starters, but you can’t help but be optimistic for more from McAllister.
2. The big blow in this game was Alex Rios’ two-run homer in the fifth inning. With two outs and a 0-2 count McAllister left a pitch elevated that effectively put the Indians away. McAllister will give up his fair share of home runs this year. His 1.36 HR/9 rate last year would have been 13th worst in the American League had he qualified.
3. I wasn’t sure why Francona decided to bring McAllister back out for the sixth inning. He was around a hundred pitches and his control was off all game. This wasn’t something that cost the team, but I found the move odd considering he has a pretty well-rested bullpen and an off-day on Thursday. The dominance of the Indians relievers right now allows him the ability to pull his starter as early as needed to give the offense a chance to comeback.
4. Speaking of the bullpen, I feel we could say this after every game, but they were great once again. The relief corps has now combined to go 19 straight scoreless innings and 21 innings without giving up an earned run. If only we could package all of them together into one or two great starting pitchers.
5. The Indians’ offense had chances to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning. With the score 3-2 and only one out, I loved the aggressiveness by Jason Kipnis in stealing second and third base. With Nick Swisher up and a sacrifice fly all that was needed to tie the game, the Indians have to get that run home. If that run scores and the game is turned over to the bullpen, considering the streak their on, we would have had a great chance to win.
6. On that same note, the Indians have played 19 games thus far. In 12 of those games they have scored three runs or fewer. When scoring 4 or more runs the team is 5-2. The problems in the rotation are one thing, but at this point in the season point the fingers at the offense for the 8-11 record. If you take away the 13-run game in Tampa and the 19-run game in Houston, this offense would be at the bottom of the American League. It has to turn around eventually, right?
7. Lonnie Chisenhall’s walk in the sixth inning was only his 2nd on the year in 56 at-bats. If that wasn’t troubling enough, his strikeout rate is second to only Drew Stubbs on the team. The power numbers are making his overall numbers look passable, but Chisenhall is a long, long way from the breakout year we were hopeful for.
8. Interesting numbers to pass on regarding Mark Reynolds: Last year Reynolds hit .220 with a .282 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). So far, he’s batting .283 with a .263 BABIP. Meaning, even though he’s posting a batting average that’s 50 points higher than his career average, it’s not the result of good luck. I don’t know if that means it’s sustainable or not, but his fast start doesn’t seem like a complete fluke. He’ll come down to earth some, but I don’t think we need to brace for a .220 batting average and 200 strikeout season anymore.
9. Prior to the game the Indians activated Lou Marson from the disabled list and sent Yan Gomes back to AAA. It was an expected move that makes perfect sense. To me though, Yan Gomes is the backup catcher. If Carlos Santana has to miss significant time with injury I would imagine/hope that Gomes gets the majority of the playing time in his absence. Gomes has some holes in his swing, which we knew, but his defense looked much better than expected. Overall, he’s much more dynamic than Marson.
This was a disappointing game to lose. The Indians had a great opportunity to tie this game up the sixth but didn’t get the job done. It’s another loss that you have to credit to the offense. Zach McAllister wasn’t sharp, but he gave the team a chance to win for a fourth straight outing and has only a 1-3 record to show for it. We’ll need the offense to step up next series, with Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez pitching the first two games of the series against Kansas City’s Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. Here’s to hoping for the best.
We really need to pick up to the offense. Really disappointing to date.