Second Thoughts Game #28: Twins 4, Indians 2
Bats go quiet as Tribe snaps six-game winning streak
Player of the Game: Mike Pelfrey (6 inn. 4 hits 1 ER 1 BB / 7 SO)
As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
Cleveland snapped their six-game winning streak Sunday afternoon as they fell to the Minnesota Twins, 4-2. The Tribe bats cooled off considerably as the team was blanked by a strong pitching performance from Twins starter Mike Pelfrey (3-3, 6.35 ERA).
Indians starter Corey Kluber (2-1, 3.06 ERA) worked out of some early trouble to surrender three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings, but the solid effort was not enough. While giving the Tribe a chance to win, Kluber remains winless with a 0-5 record at Progressive Field in eight career starts.
The Bottom 9
- No Offense. After scoring six runs or more in their last six games, Tribe bats only managed to score two runs on just six hits in Sunday’s ballgame. It was a quiet day offensively as the team would string together just two extra-base hits all afternoon. Even with a forgettable day at the plate, Cleveland remains second in the American League with a .272 team batting average.
- Walking dead. As a team, the Indians gave up six walks to Minnesota hitters where two of the walked batters came around to score. In a two run loss, there’s your difference in the ballgame right there as Tribe pitching gave up critical free passes that ultimately cost them a potential win.
- Plouffe raises the roof. Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe sure loves feasting off Indians pitching in his career. Hitting what would be the game-deciding two-run home run off Kluber in the second inning, Plouffe added to his totals on Sunday as he is now a career .295 hitter against the Tribe (23-for-78), with six doubles, seven homers and 14 RBI.
- Hitless with RISP. There were just two chances on Sunday that the Wahoo’s had runners in scoring position and they came up hitless in both opportunities in the fourth inning. The team’s only run in the inning came on a sac fly by Mark Reynolds.
- Pelfrey?...Really? Coming into Sunday having given up four runs or more in four of his first five outings, Twins starter Mike Pelfrey shutdown the Indians to just one run on four hits through six innings. So the offense can beat four former Cy Young Award winners and make a guy like Pelfrey look like one? Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the starting pitcher, but let’s hope the Tribe has a better game plan against the Twins righty next time.
- Not taking pitches. Speaking of a better game plan, I was really surprised at how aggressive the offense was at the plate in the series finale. So far this season they have been known to work opposing starters pitch counts up, but that wasn’t the case this time as Cleveland hitters would see three pitches or less in 16 of their 32 at-bats.
- Unable to score first. Minnesota jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on Sunday and never looked back. With Cleveland not scoring first, the team is now just 3-12 when not being able to get on the board first before the opposition.
- Strikeouts. Every hitter in the Tribe lineup had at least one strikeout in the contest except Tribe strikeout leader Drew Stubbs. Cleveland is currently eighth in the American League in strikeouts.
- Attendance. I can’t believe I am saying this already, but I honestly think I have to do it. Listen, I know it’s only May, but how were there only 14,015 fans at Progressive Field on Sunday? Was it not another beautiful day with temperatures around 70? Was the Tribe not coming into the ballgame on a six-game winning streak?
Really, what else has to happen for fans to finally start showing up to the ballpark? For the three-game weekend series, the Indians drew 52,045 fans in three games. That’s an average of just 17,348 per game.
Right now the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins are outdrawing the Indians. Just think about that. I understand not all schools and colleges are out on summer break yet, but why not take advantage of this early summer heat and support the boys of summer. And our slogan this year is supposed to be Tribe Town…more like a total letdown.
Please Tribe fans, prove me wrong and start filling the seats!
The Top 3
- More solid pitching. Yes, Kluber gave up three runs in under six innings, but it was another solid outing by a Tribe starting pitcher this week. As great as the offense has been over the six game winning streak, the five-man rotation has certainly been overlooked. Over their last seven games, Indians starters are now 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA.
- Santana still rockin’. It came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but catcher Carlos Santana yanked his sixth home run to the bleachers off Twins closer Glen Perkins. Santana went 2-for-3 with the long ball and an RBI in the game and is now just trailing Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera for the American League batting title hitting .379.
- Still win the series. As tough as it may seem to see the six-game losing streak come to an end, the Tribe still managed to win the series against Minnesota. The team now owns a 7-5 record vs. American League Central opponents this season.
With the loss, Cleveland moves to four games in back of the Detroit Tigers for first place in the Central Division with a record of 14-14.
The last time the Indians started a season 14-14 through their first 28 games was 1997. Anyone want to tell me how that year turned out?
Up next for the Indians: The first of a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics (18-14), as it will be Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 7.13 ERA) vs. A’s right-hander Jarrod Parker (1-4, 7.36 ERA). Parker won 13 games for the Athletics last season sporting a 3.47 ERA in 29 starts. He is 2-0 in his career against the Tribe.
Rumors also circulated late Sunday night about the possibility of starter Trevor Bauer being promoted to the Tribe from Triple-A Columbus. Nothing is official yet, but be sure to keep it locked on indiansbaseballinsider.com for further updates.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.