Second Thoughts: Game #37 - Mariners 3, Indians 9
|W: U. Jimenez (4-3) L: F. Hernandez (3-3)|
The Line: 6IP, 5H, 3/3 R/ER. 2BB, 4K
The Results: 107 pitches, 64% strikes, 8GB, 5FB, 1PO, 4LD
The Write-up: Ubaldo Jimenez pitched much better on Wednesday night, and it wasn’t just because he got the Win or racked up a Quality Start or only walked 2 batters. Ubaldo Jimenez looked to be in control of multiple pitches last night and flashed, albeit temporarily, the dominant combination of stuff that we all hope can be harnessed every five days.
The bad news is that despite facing a weak offensive team in the Mariners, one that strikes out 20% of the time as a team, Ubaldo could only generate 4 strikeouts. There are essentially no front-line starters that strikeout opponents at such a low rate and Ubaldo will need to find his old fastball velocity in order to setup his off-speed pitches and to actually blow hitters away with the potentially explosive stuff he possesses. Ubaldo was working 91-95 in the early going, but settled into the 90-93 range for his last 4 innings.
The good news, and there was more good than bad, is that Ubaldo looked like a real, live pitcher last night. He threw 64% strikes and was consistently mixing his pitches. The highlight at-bat of Ubaldo’s night was against Justin Smoak in the 2nd inning. He evened the count at 1-1 with an outside corner fastball at 91 and followed this up by dropping a curveball at 76 mph for strike 2. The hitter thought he was going to see high heat in an effort to get the K; so, when Ubaldo threw a change-up that floated in at 80mph, Smoak was badly in front and couldn’t make the adjustment to even foul it off. Mixing pitches, throwing strikes and having a plan are things that we haven’t gotten to say very much about Ubaldo Jimenez and let’s hope that the Radinski has gotten Ubaldo on the right track.
The Line: 3IP, 1 H, 0BB, 2K, GIDP
The Results: 39 pitches, 64% strikes, 3GB, 1FB, 2PO, 1LD
The Write-up: Jeremy Accardo saw his first big league action of the 2012 season in mop-up duty and performed well. He already has the entire Tribe fan base’s trust compared to Dan Wheeler and he can hopefully he can complement Jairo Asencio’s performance and keep bridging to Pestano, Hagadone and Perez.
Asencio and Sipp both pitched well last night and it can’t be overstated how valuable having a quality bullpen that is both very good (it has been so far) and very deep (Asencio, Sipp and Accardo could make that so).
The Starting Lineup
The Line: 14/36, 5 2B, 1HR, 6BB, SB
The Results: 9R, 22TB, 22LOB, AVG/OBP/SLG 388/476/611
The Write-up: To knock out 14 hits, 6 of them for extra bases and draw 6 walks in a game is impressive enough. To do so against Felix Hernandez, 2010 Cy Young winner and perennial All-Star is truly special. Yes, the Indians offense is going pretty well right now. One of the things that struck me as I sat down to take notes on last night’s game was that I didn’t have that terrible knot in my stomach where I just knew the Indians had no chance to score runs. The lineup is jelling well right now and Choo has been impressive in his short stint as leadoff hitter.
Clearly, the Indians had a plan against King Felix and part of that plan was to jump on his fastball early in counts. Choo jumped on a first pitch fastball in the 1st and Kipnis followed by ripping the 2nd pitch as well. Both Choo and Kipnis came around to score. Jose Lopez and Asdrubal Cabrera jumped on the first pitch in the 2nd as well for base hits. All night, the Indians avoided having to deal with Hernandez’s devastating secondary stuff by never allowing their at bat to get to that point.
This was a pretty ho-hum game on defense; as not many balls were sharply hit by the Mariners and the game was out of contention by about the 4th inning. Lopez made a nice play in the 4th by diving to his left, basically as a shortstop due to the shift against Justin Smaok, and pivoted and turned to throw him out. All in all, solid pitching, balls in play that were relatively routine outs and a snoozer of a game left the defense playing third fiddle.
Once again, the Indians put away a team they should beat and did it against their ace. Now the rest of the series lines up well for the starting pitchers and the team should have some confidence back following a 3-game winning streak.
Getting Damon out of the leadoff spot and Choo in there was an excellent move by Acta, even though it was obvious something had to be done. And Brantley has been thriving in the 5-7 spots, so it looks like Acta is figuring out how best to deploy his forces.
Nice to see the Tribe have a good game at home as they struggled at home early in the season.