Second Thoughts: Game #58-Cardinals 2, Indians 0
|W: K. Lohse (3-3) L: J. Masterson (2-6) S: J. Motte (11)
Player of the Game: Kyle Lohse (7 2/3 innings 3 hits 0 ER 2 BB 4 SO)
There simply isn’t too much to say about a game where the Indians were almost non-existence on offense against the former World Series Champion Cardinals, as the Tribe was shutout for the first time this season, 2-0. St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse was brilliant, going a season high 7 2/3 innings and keeping Cleveland guessing at the plate as they scattered just three hits across the field.
Indians starter Justin Masterson was just as dominant as Lohse for almost the entire game, but it was Carlos Beltran’s solo home run in the fourth inning that would prove to be all the Cards would need to pull away with the close victory.
The Bottom 9
- Offense no show. After scoring six runs on 11 hits in Friday’s 6-2 victory, the Indians looked nothing like themselves offensively against the Cardinals on Saturday. Not only did the Tribe collect just three hits on the night, but two of those hits came late in the ballgame in top half of the seventh and eighth innings.
- No run support nor win for Masterson. It frustrates me each time I glance at Masterson’s stat line seeing that he has just two wins in 2012. Sure I guess you could say he could have one more win considering what happened on Opening Day, but when is the offense going to finally give the Tribe ace any run support? Over his last seven starts, Masterson is 1-4 with a 4.40 ERA and in those seven outings, Cleveland is averaging less than two runs per game. Unacceptable if the Indians have any hopes of competing for the Central Division title.
- Santana far from rockin’. For some reason Carlos Santana continues to struggle and has gotten out of sync at the plate. Over his last 10 games, the Indians catcher is hitting just .108 with 0 HRs and four RBI. Santana’s last home run came almost a month ago on May 15 against the Miami Marlins, and his average has now dropped below the .230 mark on the season.
- No small ball. Is it just me or has Indians manager Manny Acta shied away from playing small ball? Being a former National League manger and now playing in a NL ballpark, any fan would think Acta would have something up his sleeve as far as playing and getting back to his old National League ways. With the Tribe down just one run in the seventh inning after Michael Brantley leadoff the inning with a single, why not have Johnny Damon sacrifice him over to second base? No, instead Damon grounds into a fielder’s choice and any chances of a comeback at that point seemed almost near impossible.
- Fourth inning was the game. After Beltran put the Cards ahead by one with a solo home run in the bottom of the third, the Tribe had a big chance to answer back with runners on first and second and one out, only to have Johnny Damon foul out and Casey Kotchman groundout. If the Indians could have just gotten one run in there, I think we’re looking at potential momentum swing and possibly a different overall outcome of the game.
- Not stopping Carlos Beltran. Going into the three-game series, I felt that if the Tribe wanted to win the series they needed to stop one player in particular: Carlos Beltran. Not only because he turned down the idea to come to Cleveland twice (once in a potential trade at last year’s trade deadline and the other as a free agent last offseason), but also because Beltran is currently hitting .284 and now leads the NL with 17 home runs.
- Still no CP or Vinnie. With the Tribe down 1-0 heading to the bottom of the eighth, Acta called on Jeremy Accardo to try and keep the deficit to one run late in the ballgame. Why not bring in Vinnie Pestano instead? Or maybe even Chris Perez. Not that it may have even mattered, but putting in Pestano in that situation would have easily been my choice especially when trying to keep the deficit at just one run. That’s simply a mistake by Acta.
- No leadoff man. At no point in last night’s ballgame did the Tribe get their leadoff man on to start an inning. Definitely difficult to score runs without consistently getting a leadoff hitter on base to try and manufacture runs especially during a pitcher’s duel.
- Where’s LaPorta? For the third straight game, Matt LaPorta was not in the starting lineup on Saturday. I understand he may be just 2-for-11 on the season so far, but how are we as fans as well as the organization supposed to know if he can finally hit in the Major Leagues if he doesn’t consistently get playing time? I expect him to be in the lineup on Sunday.
The Top 3
- Masterson close to being masterful. Masterson was once again the tough luck loser in this ballgame, much like he was on Opening Day giving up just one earned run on five hits in seven solid innings. Being one of the AL leaders in walks, the Tribe ace walked none on Saturday while striking out six. Could the 2011 Masterson finally be back? Let’s hope so.
- Brantley keeps on hitting. Michael Brantley forgot to tell the other Indians hitters in the lineup to put their hitting shoes on, as the Tribe centerfielder contributed with two of Cleveland’s three hits in the ballgame. Brantley also extended his hitting streak to 17 games on the season, two hits away from tying his career high 19 game hitting streak.
- Clean defense. For the second game in a row the Indians did not commit an error defensively. The Cardinals have already committed a total of four errors in two games of the series, but only resulted in one unearned run.
Losing last night’s ballgame, the Indians (31-27) move 1.5 games back behind the Chicago White Sox in the Central Division. Cleveland is now 11-11 over their last 22 ballgames.
Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will still look to take the series against St. Louis in the rubber match on Sunday, as it will be Ubaldo Jimenez (6-4, 5.31 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (Making his Major League debut) at 2:15 pm. Jimenez will look to build off his last outing where he gave up just one run on five hits in a win against the Detroit Tigers last Tuesday. Cleveland may struggle offensively again on Sunday, as the team is 0-3 on the year against pitchers making their first or second career starts.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brantley's raking continues, a nice surprise.