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Second Thoughts: Game #33-Red Sox 4, Indians 1

Second Thoughts: Game #33-Red Sox 4, Indians 1
May 13, 2012
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  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
CLEVELAND 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 0
BOS 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 x 4 8 1
W: F. Doubront (3-1) L: Z. McAllister (1-1) S: Aceves (7)

Player of the Game: Felix Doubront (6 innings 3 hits 1 ER 2 BB 5 SO)

The Leadoff

There’s simply not much to say about a game where the Indians would collect just three hits the entire ballgame on Saturday. Even though he sported a 5.01 ERA coming into the game, Red Sox lefty Felix Doubront held Tribe hitters in check and left the lineup guessing the entire night, leading Boston to an easy 4-1 victory.

The lone highlight for Cleveland, in what hopes to be a sign of good things to come was the strong outing by Zach McAllister. Making his second consecutive start in the big leagues, McAllister went seven strong innings for the Tribe, giving up four runs on eight hits walking none and striking out a career-high eight. With Josh Tomlin heading to the 15-day DL with right wrist soreness, the Indians will now look to the big right hander McAllister to give them at least two more starts before Tomlin can comeback healthy.

The Top 5

  • McAllister looked McGreat. Even though he gave up four runs on eight hits against the Red Sox hitters, no fan could ask for a better spot start from McAllister who was not even slated to pitch in the ballgame when the day first began. After being worried about his command at the outset, the Indians look like they have found a nice fill-in for Tomlin for the next two weeks. Can’t wait to see what else the big right hander can do on the mound when given the opportunity.
  • Kipnis stays hot in Beantown. Driving in the lone Indians run after hustling out an RBI single in the top of the sixth inning, Jason Kipnis has now had at least one hit in 7 games at Fenway Park in his career. Will he make it eight games on Sunday? I think so.
  • Signs of life from Sweet Lou. After coming into the ballgame just 1-for-19 on the season, Lou Marson snapped a 0-for-13 slump with a leadoff double in the sixth inning. Tribe fans can only hope this will only boost his confidence going forward in Marson’s limited role.
  • Can still split 4-game series. Dropping four of their last five games, the Tribe can still manage a split with Boston on Sunday. A series loss would give the Indians their first three-game losing streak of 2012, so there is certainly a lot riding on the series finale.
  • No more lefties for a while. After getting blanked by Doubront, Cleveland will find themselves in a better position over their next five games without having to face any left handed starting pitching. The Tribe is slated to face five right handed starting pitchers thru this Thursday, where the team has gone 14-7 against righties this season.

The Bottom 9

  • Where’s the offense? Only managing one run across the board on Saturday, the Indians are now 3-11 when scoring three runs or less in a ballgame. The team’s three hits was also their lowest total in a game this season. Sure the name of the game is pitching, but no team can win without consistently putting up runs every night. The Tribe was simply outpitched by the Venezuelan native Doubront on Saturday and sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher.
  • Lefties matching up to the Tribe’s left handed heavy lineup? The Indians currently have had an MLB leading 456 at-bats against opposing left handed starters, and own just a .217 average against them. Opposing teams have also used a lefty reliever out of their bullpen first in 23 of 33 games when playing the Tribe. Just a suggestion…Matt LaPorta could be someone who could break up the lefty heavy lineup. Will the Indians make a move for a right handed stick at the trade deadline at all? We’ll have to wait and see.
  • Tomlin to the 15-day DL. Hate to see Josh Tomlin go on the disabled list with soreness in his right wrist. A minor injury or not a minor injury, Tomlin sported a 3.38 ERA over his last two starts in May, walking four and striking out 12. The show must go on without the cowboy for now.
  • No leadoff man. Just one of the Tribe’s three hits came when leading off an inning. There’s no excuse to not being able to consistently get the leadoff man on to jumpstart a struggling offense as it just didn’t happen for the Indians on Saturday at all.
  • Michael Brantley leading off. Between Brantley and Johnny Damon, Cleveland simply cannot find a guy who can bat leadoff and consistently get on base. With Damon getting the night off on Saturday, Brantley went 0-for-4 hitting leadoff and is now batting just .247 in the leadoff spot this season compared to hitting .297 batting seventh.
  • Choo’s struggles continue. Just 2-for-10 with an RBI in the series, Shin-Soo Choo went hitless like many of his other teammates against Doubront. The Indians right fielder though continues to struggle against lefties in 2012, as Choo is now 4-for-39 with a .103 average vs. southpaws this season.
  • Pronkless again. Going 0-for-3 on Saturday, Travis Hafner is now hitting just .188 over his last 10 games. It’s not surprising to see the Indians struggle of late as the team has not had the same Pronk in the lineup like they did earlier in 2012. The Tribe DH batted .295 in April and sits at just .200 so far in May.
  • Striking out and not putting the ball in play. After striking out just once on Friday night, the Indians took a step back on Saturday as the team struck out seven times against Red Sox pitching. Cleveland also had just two walks as well, and were not as patient at the plate as they have been known to be in 2012.
  • Can’t stop Pedroia. Dustin Pedroia has now gone 6-for-13 (.462) with two doubles, a home run, and 5 RBI against Tribe pitching through three games in 2012. It will be tough, but I can only hope Kipnis can give the Red Sox superstar a good run for the starting second base job in July’s All-Star Game.

Closing Time

With the loss, the Indians (18-15) still remain in first place two games ahead of now below .500 Detroit in the Central Division. If they have any chance of building a more respectable lead in the division, the Tribe must start taking advantage of losses by a struggling Tigers team. Cleveland is now 4-8 against left-handed starters this year.

Up next for the Indians: Break out the pink bats! The rubber match of the four-game series against the Red Sox concludes on Sunday’s holiday of Mother’s Day, as it will be Tribe ace Justin Masterson (1-2, 4.89 ERA) vs. Daniel Bard (2-4, 4.83 ERA) at 1:35 pm. Last year in just 2 2/3 innings against the Indians, Bard went 0-3 with a 16.88 ERA coming out of the Boston bullpen. A hitter to watch against the hard throwing Red Sox starter is Asdrubal Cabrera, who is 2-for-2 against Bard in his career with a double, a home run, and 4 RBI. The Indians are just 1-5 over their last six games on Mother’s Day.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at

User Comments

May 13, 2012 - 8:54 AM EDT
Matt LaPorta...ugh...

in the majors, he's hitting .211 against left handed pitchers...vs. .246 against righties...and that trend was similar in the minors...

He's a "fake" righty...

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