Second Thoughts Game #5: Rays 6, Indians 0
Player of the Game: Alex Cobb (7 1/3 innings 0 ER 4 Hits 3 BB 6 SO)
For the second consecutive night, the Indians were blanked by Rays starting pitching as they fell to their third loss in a row on Saturday, 6-0. Tribe starter Trevor Bauer while making it through five innings, showed fans and the organization that he needs more minor league seasoning, as he compiled seven walks and gave up three runs in his Indians debut.
The Bottom 9
- Shutout again. For a team that was not shutout until June 9th of last season, the Tribe now has fell victim of shutout in two of their first five games to start the 2013 campaign. What happened to the Indians bats between Toronto and Tampa Bay no one is for certain, but Cleveland better find them quick if they want to start this season off on the right foot.
- Blown calls. Where do I even begin? Honestly, this was the worst umpiring crew I’ve seen in a very long time. Strike zone? Forget about it! And if the so-called strike zone wasn’t enough, the two horrible blown calls at second base by CB Bucknor was the icing on a stale offensive night. The botched stolen base call I can handle from time to time, as there will be calls that go the Tribe’s way this season. It was the blown call on the double by Yunel Escobar that was the huge problem and ultimately cost the Indians a run. No, the run wouldn’t have mattered in the end, but seriously how do you miss that call? I know one thing; players sure didn’t miss the call when voting Bucknor as the worst umpire in the big leagues in a 2010 ESPN the Magazine poll of 100 MLB players.
- Offense struggles continue. After starting the season scoring 15 runs on 31 hits through the first three games, Cleveland has managed no runs on just seven hits while also striking out 18 times in their last two games. I don’t want to say this early, but these last two games almost felt like I was watching the Tribe in 2012 all over again. It sure doesn’t help when I see Manny Acta breaking down the loss on Baseball Tonight either. More 2013 and Terry Francona please!
- No help with RISP. Once again, the Tribe had chances to score against the Rays early, but failed going 0-for-5 on the night, leaving six runners stranded. Any sort of offense has almost disappeared in the first two games of this three-game series, as Cleveland hitters are a combined 0-for-10 with 10 runners left on base.
- No Bauer Outage. Nerves? Maybe. But talk about giving up any kind of momentum going into the game with Trevor Bauer serving up four walks to start the game. It was the first time since Bartolo Colon back in 2000 that an Indians starter began a game issuing four straight walks.
- Why small-ball? With runners on first and second and nobody out in just the third inning, Michael Bourn tried to sacrifice the runners over only to have Lou Marson thrown out at second. Even if the Tribe centerfielder lays down a successful sacrifice there, I don’t like it. Bourn came into the ballgame swinging a hot stick, going 7-for-18 (.389) through the first four ballgames. In three out of the four games, Bourn also had at least two hits. Swing away! This isn’t the National League anymore.
- Where’s Asdrubal? With another hitless performance on Saturday night, Asdrubal Cabrera is just 2-for-20 (.100) to start the year. If the Indians want any chance of contending this season and keep what’s left of their early momentum alive, Cabrera needs to start hitting like the All-Star we all know he can be.
- Allen out? After a successful first year in the majors last season, Tribe reliever Cody Allen has gotten roughed up in his first two outings this year. The right-hander also seems like he has yet to gain control of his pitches, giving up three walks in three innings. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Nick Hagadone replace Allen in the bullpen before the next homestand ends.
- What is it about Tropicana? Sure it could be Rays pitching or just simply bad luck. With another loss at Tropicana Field, the Indians are now just 5-16 in their last 21 games at the Rays home ballpark dating back to 2009.
The Top 9
- Sweet Lou! How about Lou Marson! I’ll be honest, I have been critical of Marson especially when it comes to hitting at the plate, but all of his offensive struggles were just about wiped out from memory after taking a brutal hit and preventing a run from scoring in the third inning. Rays centerfielder Desmond Jennings bowled over Marson trying to score on a groundball to third, only to have the Indians backup catcher miraculously hang onto the ball for the out. Win or lose, that play will be one to remember this season.
- Raburn’d. After Bauer issued walks to the first four Rays hitters to start the game, Ryan Raburn would save the Indians starter from any more damage throwing Matt Joyce out at the plate in the first inning. I have a feeling Detroit will be regretting giving up on Raburn when it’s all said and done. He also got his first hit with the Tribe going 1-for-3.
- It’s still early. As horrible as these last two games have been, we are still just five games into the 2013 season. Like any team, there are certainly going to be roller coaster rides through the long 162-game journey. Let’s hope with a long 10 game homestand starting on Monday clears the Tribe’s woes for the better.
- Bauer showed moxy. Say what you will about his seven walks and lack of consistent control, Trevor Bauer showed some moxy and confidence in his first Indians start. He kept calm, stayed within himself and ultimately gave the Indians a chance to win. For a 22 year old making just his fifth start in the big leagues, I’ll take it.
- Albers ejected. To say I loved the fire and intensity from reliever Matt Albers getting ejected and barking at Bucknor after his second blown call would be an understatement. With the team struggling offensively to begin with, I knew it was only a matter of time before a Tribe player was tossed. Give Jason Kipnis another five seconds out there and he would have got ejected too.
- No errors. After committing four errors through their first four games, the Tribe played errorless baseball on Saturday.
- Getting the leadoff man on. Surprisingly, the Tribe was able to get the leadoff man on in five of the nine innings. Only problem was the team’s inability to get the leadoff man in to score of course, but Cleveland did have chances.
- Almost out of Tampa. Just one game remains on the roadtrip against the Tampa Bay Rays, and that is definitely a good thing. Starting the season without a day off for the first 13 games, it will be nice for the Tribe to finally come home and play in front of their fans for the first time this season on Monday.
- Good Rays pitching. As hard as it may be, sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opposing starting pitcher and move onto the next game. It’s hard to do that two straight games, but the Rays haven’t made the playoffs three of the last five years by accident. Although it sure would have been nice if the Tribe caught a break and faced former Indian Roberto Hernandez in one of these three games.
With the loss against Tampa Bay and wins by Detroit, Chicago and Minnesota, the Indians move one game in back of first place in the American League Central Division. With a record of 2-3, Cleveland moves below the .500 mark for the first time in 2013.
Up next for the Indians: Sunday afternoon baseball, as it will be Justin Masterson (1-0, 1.50 ERA) against reining AL Cy Young Award winner David Price (0-0, 3.00 ERA) at 1:30 pm in the rubber match of the three-game series.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One small thing though. I know alot of you get down on Lou Marson but he is a good defensive catcher. Maybe its just me but the most important thing I want out of a back up catcher is good D and being able to handle a pitching staff. I am not saying to sign him to an extension but I do think it could be worse.