Second Thoughts Game #38: Indians 2, Phillies 6
Indians offense falls asleep again while pitching scuffles
A Frustrating Game
It was just one of those nights. There’s really no other way to describe it. After a two-run single by Michael Brantley in the second inning, the Indians batters did nothing despite having multiple scoring opportunities including a leadoff triple by Asdrubal Cabrera in the seventh inning. There are really no excuses to explain the poor situational hitting over the past couple games and it’s something the team will have to improve on if they want to stay in contention.
In addition to the poor offense, the Tribe had poor pitching as they surrendered six runs on 10 hits, including two home runs. Scott Kazmirwasn’t too bad by himself giving up four runs in five innings, which kept the Indians in the game up until that point, but the bullpen put the game out of reach giving up two runs in the eighth.
Again, it was a tough loss, but it’s one we as fans shouldn’t overreact to given how well the team has played as of late.
Built This Way
Before the season started, many of us knew what we were getting with this offense. It’s a lineup that will get on base, steal bases, hit home runs and drive runs in. Barring injuries, this team will score a lot of runs and have numerous games over the course of the season where they blow out the competition such as they did against Houston last month. The flaw in this design is the strikeouts will pile up and the lineup will go through periods where they won’t score many runs like they have the past few games.
The streakiness of an offense like that of the Tribe stems from a lack of contact hitters who can step up to the plate, work deep into pitch counts on a regular basis and punch a single into the outfield at any given time. Brantley is the only hitter that fits this description in the lineup. While games like Tuesday night are definitely aggravating, we must try not to be quick to push the panic button given that this is part of the design of this offense. Sit back, take a breath and move onto the next one hoping that a new hot streak will begin.
The slumps are frustrating, but as long as they don’t last too long, the payoff is totally worth it.
Kazmir Comeback: Chapter 5
If you’re not inspired by the Scott Kazmir comeback story at this point, you’re obviously not paying attention. Minus his first start of the season where he gave up six runs in only three and a third innings, the left-hander is 2-2 with a 3.69 ERA in four starts where he’s averaging six strikeouts and less than two walks per start. Obviously Kazmir didn’t have his best start against the Phillies on Tuesday night where he gave up four runs in five innings, but he still did his job keeping his team in the game for as long as he pitched.
As exciting as Kazmir has been in his comeback with the Tribe, probably the most surprising development has been the resurgence of his velocity. Over his last two starts against Oakland and Philadelphia, Kazmir has hit 95-96 mph on multiple occasions. While he may have attributed the zip on his fastball to frustration, knowing he still has the ability to reach back for a little something extra definitely raises his ceiling as a rebounding starter.
Whether Kazmir remains durable throughout the course of the season remains to be seen, but at the present time, it appears the Indians have something special on their hands.
Quick Game Facts
- After committing only one error over a 12 game stretch, Indians defenders have committed seven over the last six games.
- Tuesday night’s loss to the Phillies marked the first time the Tribe has lost back-to-back games since April 27th and 28th.
- Since departing after only three and a third innings in his Indians debut, Scott Kazmir has not pitched less than five innings per start.
- The two runs scored off Bryan Shaw in the eighth inning was the first time the right-hander had allowed multiple runs in an appearance since September 30th, 2012 vs. the Cubs.
Up Next: Indians vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. First pitch at 1:05 ET.
Cole Hamels may not have a Cy Young award, but maybe it will help Tribe hitters to pretend he does since that seems to be an incentive for them to score a plethora of runs. And they may need them with Corey Kluber toeing the rubber against Hamels in Wednesday afternoon’s matchup. Kluber was royally shellacked in his last start against the Tigers where he served up eight runs in only four and two thirds innings of work.
The key for Kluber, stay in the strike zone and don’t leave anything up where a hitter can catch up to it. When he commands the zone, he’s been very effective so far this season in his first several appearances. When he doesn’t, he can’t work around it as we saw in Motown.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.