Second Thoughts Game #54: Indians 2, White Sox 3
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 Tomlin, Trevor 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.
- 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.
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.
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...