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Second Thoughts: Game #54: Rays 9, Indians 2

Rains delays, stagnant offense make for forgettable night for Indians

Second Thoughts: Game #54: Rays 9, Indians 2
June 1, 2013
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Not Much To Say

Pretty much all anyone on either side can say about this game is ‘glad it’s over’. After three rain delays totaling nearly five hours, anything pretty much could’ve gone right or wrong for either team. Unfortunately, the Indians came up on the short end of the stick as the team’s left-handed relief surrendered eight of the nine runs to the Rays.

While a loss is still a loss, the good news is the team and its fans can forget about this game as it didn’t cost them any ground in the division with the Tigers losing to the Orioles in walk-off fashion earlier in the night. Dust yourselves off, get some sleep (if possible) and prepare for the next one.

Inconsistent Lefties

It really is quite strange how all the Indians’ left-handed relief options have seemed to fall off the deep end at the same time. Rich HillNick HagadoneScott Barnes and now-former Indian southpaw David Huff all battled inconsistency over the past few weeks as the Tribe soon found themselves without a reliable left-handed specialist in their bullpen, adding to the issues the relief corps has had to deal with over the past week or so.

Unfortunately for Barnes, things didn’t get much better on Friday night against the Rays as he gave up five runs on four hits, including two home runs, in a nightmarish third inning in relief of the starter Corey Kluber shortly after play was resumed following the third rain delay. Yes, this was short notice and the circumstances were a bit unconventional, but regardless, a meltdown of that magnitude appears to have punched his ticket back to Triple-A Columbus.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Tribe southpaws tonight as Nick Hagadone came in for the sixth and pitched two shutout innings with a hit and a strikeout. Hagadone now has back-to-back scoreless appearances for the first time since May 6th and May 10th. Much like Ubaldo Jimenez, it’s all about confidence with Hagadone. His frustration over poor pitching last season was what sidelined him for the remainder of the year as he suffered a self-inflicted injury. Take it one outing at a time and keep putting zeros on the board and gradually, he’ll find his groove again.

As good as Hagadone was, Rich Hill was equally as bad. With Tampa Bay already up 6-2, Hill tacked on three more on five hits. He did end up striking out the side, but the damage was already done. Hill has scuffled quite a bit as of late as he has now given up eight earned runs in just three and two-thirds innings pitched (five appearances). In his previous two leading up to Friday night’s outing, Hill was brought in to face one batter each time and ended up walking both.

One has to wonder if left-handed relief is becoming more of a priority in the trade market for the Tribe as all three lefties to pitch on Friday now have a combined ERA of 7.02.

Quote of the Game:

“A sincere thanks to each and every fan that stuck around to watch that game! You all made it fun. #ClevelandRocks” - @Evan3Longoria (Evan Longoria’s Twitter account).

Up Next: Rays vs. Indians @ Progressive Field. 1:05pm ET first pitch.

Weather permitting – and I use that term loosely – Ubaldo Jimenez will toe the rubber against Rays rookie and former Tribe farmhand Chris Archer, who was just called up to make his 2013 Rays debut against the Tribe. In six career MLB appearances (all in 2012), Archer is 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA.

Jimenez, on the other hand, has been gradually climbing out of his pit of mediocrity and has become not just a serviceable starter, but has also become reliable to pitch deep into games and done much better at limiting the damage, sans a couple starts. In his last six starts, the right-hander is 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA. Again, not the dominant ace-type numbers he put up in Colorado, but still good enough to give the Tribe a chance to win when he pitches. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.

User Comments

League Park
June 1, 2013 - 11:23 AM EDT
Our bullpen is just terrible lately. Aleen is the only one who can consistently pitch a scoreless inning. Hill should be sent to Lake County if he keeps this up. Barnes has looked like a BP pitcher.

Very concerned with 9 road games coming up at Yankees, Rangers and Tigers. We could find ourselves in 3rd place.

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