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Second Thoughts Game #54: Indians 2, White Sox 3

Second Thoughts Game #54: Indians 2, White Sox 3
Bryan Shaw watches as the White Sox celebrate a walkoff win over the Indians. (Photo: AP)
May 29, 2014
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Offensive Struggles Return

When you’re struggling offensively, you should enjoy running into a guy like Hector Noesi. With the return of Jason Kipnis to the lineup and Noesi (career ERA of 5.73) on the hill, this was as good a chance as any to break out of the funk.

Instead, the team failed to score more than two runs for a fourth consecutive game (all losses), and dropped a second straight winnable game late. A Jason Giambi home run gave the Indians a lead early, but they couldn’t do any further damage against Noesi. Right now, with the exception of Michael Brantley, there just aren’t’ consistent performers in the lineup.

As mentioned last week, the offense’s numbers over the month of May are pretty good. However, like every other aspect of the team, the offense just can’t seem to get on a roll and keep it going for extended periods of time. It led the team in their series’ against Detroit and Baltimore, overcoming some poor pitching in the process, but then completely disappeared against Chicago. It’s been a roller coaster ride this season, with poor stretches of play followed by stretches that give us optimism.

With the team now six games under .500, let’s hope another winning streak is on the horizon.

A Silver Lining – T.J. House

For a second year in a row the Indians have had to use eight different starting pitchers in the first two months of the season. Last year it was due to injury, whereas this year the culprit is ineffectiveness.

Enter T.J. House.

House got beat around in his first start, but for a team that was desperate for someone to eat some innings, he did the job. In this start he was fantastic. He worked quickly, located well, mixed his pitches exceptionally, and stymied the White Sox for 6 1/3 innings. Truthfully, I thought Francona had a quick hook taking him out after back-to-back hits in the seventh inning after throwing only 87 pitches.

There’s no need to rehash all the issues plaguing the Indians rotation right now, but the fact of the matter is that they need more performances like this from guys like Josh TomlinTrevor Bauer and House. Right now the only pitcher that can be relied on for a quality start is Corey Kluber, and that’s not going to cut it.

None of us wanted to see TJ House in the rotation at this point in the season, but if he can have another couple of starts like this one he might find himself there for a while.

Key Relievers Falter

It’s not often that Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw let the team down, and it’s almost unheard of for them to struggle in the same game. However, the Indians have made a habit of finding new ways to lose games, and both Allen and Shaw giving up the game in late innings is yet another example.

Allen entered the game in the eighth inning to protect a 1-1 time and wasn’t able to do it. He walked two batters and gave up a single in 2/3 innings of work. After a sacrifice fly from Adam Dunn, Allen was pulled in favor of Bryan Shaw. Shaw would get out of the eighth, but run into problems in the ninth. The first batter hit a groundball to Mike Aviles at third. The throw from Aviles one-hopped Lonnie Chisenhall at first, who couldn’t scoop it cleanly. An error was charged to Aviles on the throw, but it’s also a play that a more experienced first basemen should make.

While Shaw would only give up one hit, the game-winner to Moises Sierra after pinch-runner Leury Garcia stole second and moved to third on a fly ball, he definitely wasn’t as sharp as normal. He’s been the best reliever on the team this year, and his defense didn’t help him (do they ever help anyone?), so it’s easy to give him a pass. Cody Allen on the other hand has struggled some over the last two weeks. That’s something that will need to be monitored.

Other Notes:

- How much do the White Sox fear Jason Giambi? We all know what Giambi did to them last year. He had the home run early in this game, and when he came up with two outs and a runner on second in the ninth inning the White Sox choose to walk him in favor of facing Yan Gomes. Gomes would hit an RBI single to tie the game. For all his theatrics against the White Sox last year, Giambi hit only .183 last season and has just three hits so far this year. I’d choose to face him over Yan Gomes every time.

- Jason Kipnis’ return couldn’t have come at a better time. While his numbers weren’t great before injury, he was showing great discipline. If he can match that improved discipline with the production he gave the team last year he’ll create a great 1-2 tandem with Brantley in the middle of the lineup.

- The Indians will head home to open a three game series with Colorado on Friday. Corey Kluber will attempt to break the Indians four game losing streak against Juan Nicasio.

User Comments

May 30, 2014 - 9:26 AM EDT
Not sure that sends the best message though. How much of McAllister's struggles were because on injury? Guy goes out on 3-days rest and has been different ever since. He has to get his spot back when he is healthy.
May 29, 2014 - 10:38 PM EDT
If House goes out and has another good start his next time out, then i seriously consider optioning McAllister to Columbus. He's coming off an injury and has been awful the last 5-6 weeks. No reason not to go with the hot hand in House if he is pitching well...
May 29, 2014 - 10:00 PM EDT
Tony, I agree on House. He has the potential to be a solid MOR-BOR type guy, and if he locates his stuff he can be very good. With McAllister struggling so much, any chance we see McAllister optioned instead? Or a possible "rehab" stint?
May 29, 2014 - 9:58 PM EDT
There is something majorly wrong with this lineup if we can't scrape together more than two runs against Hector Freaking Noesi...This is the one game that i thought just looking at the probables that we would smash the Sox....apparently not.
matt underwood
May 29, 2014 - 3:28 PM EDT
horribly put together team - square pegs in round holes all over the place
May 29, 2014 - 12:21 PM EDT
TJ house was the one and only bright spot from this one. It was one start, but you could see how effective he can be if he locates down in the zone and can establish all of his pitches. I'd love for him to go out his next time out and pitch another very good game because it would make for a tough decision on what to do with McAllister.

This might be one of the worst offensive units in some time for the Indians. Also, the defense may be the worst all time. That's not a good combination to have. What we keep seeing is if the bullpen is not near perfect and/or the starters can't pitch deep into games....then this team has no chance to win.
May 29, 2014 - 11:24 AM EDT
Ugly game. Ugly series. Ugly script that keeps repeating. Late inning walks, stolen bases, errors, losses. And no offense. Swept by a White Sox team playing without their biggest thumper. Yes last night there was a key error that probably doesn't happen if Francona doesn't go outside the box w Aviles at third and Chisenhall at first in the bottom of the ninth but lots of other things had to go poorly to lose the game, and they did. To waste a stellar performance from a 23 yr old making his second start, to waste Gomes superclutch game tying hit, is so'o'o frustrating
matt underwood
May 29, 2014 - 11:16 AM EDT
always expect a performance like that from our Defense. lost us another game as we slip farther and farther back in the AL Central

with all of these guys playing multiple positions makes me think we should just re-sign Ryan Garko and throw him into the outfield again - boom, there is our right handed bat.

for the first time in a long time, i seriously hate this team. hate the way they are constructed top to bottom. reminds me of Wedge era baseball - i almost didnt make it out of that time period alive...
May 29, 2014 - 10:43 AM EDT
Never expected a performance like that from House, he really surprised me.

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