Second Thoughts: Game #46 - White Sox 12, Indians 6
|W: Floyd (4-5) L: Jimenez (5-4)
The Indians limped into the 96-degree series finale against the White Sox just trying to avoid a sweep. Between having Ubaldo Jimenez on the hill against a surging lineup and their own still severely lacking due to a multitude of injuries, it was a tall task from the gate. Once again, the undermanned group competed early on, but poor pitching and not enough firepower buried them again.
Jason Kipnis continued to terrorize his hometown team with two more hits. Equally as impressive was the play he made in the bottom of the first inning. Paul Konerko flared a base hit over his head with the bases loaded and no one out. A run scored, but Kipnis tracked down the ball and was able to force Adam Dunn out at second base. Not ultimately much of a difference-maker in a six-run game, but it displayed the kind of player that he is. Most guys just wouldn't have thought or tried hard enough to get an out in such a situation. Over the three-game series, he went 6-for-12 with two runs scored, two home runs, four runs batted in, a walk and two stolen bases.
Johnny Damon came into this game 12-for-22 against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd. Despite his abysmal results at the plate thus far with the Indians, he was able to continue that success by depositing his first home run of the season. Count me out as someone who expects this to be a building block for him.
Michael Brantley put together a two-hit performance, and drove in two runs. It was the third multi-hit game during his current six-game hit streak. He continues to put the ball in play, produce well enough on both sides of the ball and look unflappable while doing it. There are holes in his game, but just so much to like.
Juan Diaz collected not only his first career Major League hit, but his second, as well. He was also hit by a pitch, and managed to reach base four times in nine plate appearances in the series.
With this 12-6 loss, the Indians were outscored 35-16 in the series. Beyond that, they were outhit 42-25, and struck out 24 times compared to just four walks. The team has been great at walking and avoiding strikeouts so far this season, but without the services of their three, four and five hitters, the trend was bucked.
Jose Lopez scratched out his first hit since being thrown into the cleanup spot out of desperation (1-for-13), but he has obviously been trying too hard to live up to the designation. After settling into everyday playing time and comfortability, this series was full of poor swings and pitch recognition from him.
Shin-Soo Choo was held hitless for just the second time since moving to the leadoff spot. Two at-bats came against left-handed relievers, putting him at 6-for-50 on the season against southpaws.
Jairo Asencio was absolutely maimed for a second consecutive day. He gave up four extra base hits (and hit a batter) to the tune of three runs in his first inning of work, and wore it for another inning because of the short outing by Jimenez. His time with the Indians may very soon be up.
Tony Sipp had a 1-2-3 seventh inning, but labored through the eighth and was charged with two runs on a base hit that Joe Smith allowed. Sipp isn't really someone who should be going more than one inning, but the bullpen had a lot of mopping up to do in this one and Manny Acta tried to stretch him out.
The box score will show zero runs next to Smith's name, but he still gave up the hit. It was his second troublesome appearance in as many days.
One of three batters to get hit in this game (Casey Kotchman twice), Lou Marson took a breaking ball to the face in the fourth inning. It busted his lip open, but he stayed in the game until the score got out of hand later on. Three stitches were required to close the wound, but he doesn't expect to miss a game. With one catcher already down, thank goodness the results weren't drastically worse.
This is reserved for a single player.
Once again, Ubaldo Jimenez made Chris Antonetti and the Indians' brass look silly. He suffered through a disastrous first inning, in which nearly everything was either a bad miss or something up for the White Sox to drive. He made better pitches for a short time after that, but just can never seem to go without laboring through an inning. He fell apart for the last time with two outs in the fourth, an inning that was capped off by a three-run homer on an awful 3-2 hanger to Paul Konerko. In the end, he was responsible for seven runs, and again walked more (four) than he struck out (three). He threw 99 pitches, and Chicago hitters cut and missed at just five. It is also worth noting that Jimenez was checked on by trainer Lonnie Soloft on two separate occasions early on, but he stayed in the game. Any ailment plaguing Jimenez is likely not physical.
The Indians return home after this one with the hope that Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis Hafner will be available to them at some point during the series against Kansas City. It will take longer to get Carlos Santana back, but the team can ill-afford to be without all three any longer. A roster move will have to be made in order to active Josh Tomlin.
It was short-sighted to say the least to start the season with the black hole in LF. Another problem that everyone could see (except for management) was the vulnerability to left handed pitching.
The annual injury bug is killing this team and they will have to change their S&C program and stay away from players who break down.
Give him a few days (or weeks) off, then let him rehab in A ball.
He is NOT at this point, a professional pitcher.
The Indians should have gone all-out to get Miguel Cabrera two years ago, but Adam Dunn was a necessity.
Dunn had one of the worst years a hitter has ever had in 2011, but has hit 15 HR's in 160+ AB's this year.
More importantly, he makes everybody in the lineup better even if he hits only .150 because pitchers fear him.
Big-Ugly-Guy in the lineup paid off for Mays, Mantle, Aaron, and we need our McCovey, Moose or Maris, & Mathews or Big Joe Adcock to intimidate.
Until we get that intimidator, we will never know how good our young players can be.