Second Thoughts Game #58: Indians 3, Yankees 4
Kazmir has one bad inning, offense falls short in bailing him out
Not a badly-pitched game
A four-run third inning by Scott Kazmir was the lone blemish in eight otherwise decent innings by the Indians pitching staff. Yankees first basemen Mark Teixeira, making his way back from injury, was just 1-for-9 prior to this series with no home runs or RBI’s, but has gone 3-for-6 with two home runs (including a grand slam) and seven RBI’s since the Indians came to town. It was Teixeira who did most of the damage in that third inning against Kazmir with a three-run homer.
Even though it looked like Kazmir wouldn’t make it out of the third, he ended up pitching six innings giving up only the four runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out seven. The left hander has had his ups and downs this season as far as the quality of his starts go, but his one consistency has been in strikeouts as he has averaged nine strikeouts per nine innings. He’s only averaged five innings per start, but pitched seven innings in his last start and six in Tuesday’s game.
The bullpen came out and did their job keeping the Yankees off the board during the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big surprise to Tribe fans, but the relievers have struggled mightily over the last two weeks, particularly the left-handed pitching. Such wasn’t the case on Tuesday as right-hander Bryan Shawloaded the bases with one out and pinstripe slugger Robinson Cano at the plate. Terry Francona decided to play matchup despite the recent struggles by his bullpen southpaws by bringing Nick Hagadone into the game. Hagadone instilled confidence both in himself and fans as he got Cano to ground into an inning-ending double play to keep the Yankees lead to only one.
Too little too late
Watching David Phelps pitch tonight, you wouldn’t believe he was knocked out of the game in the first inning by the Mets in his last start. In just their second ever appearance against Phelps, Indians hitters once again couldn’t touch him as he pitched six shutout innings allowing only four walks and one infield hit. He took the loss in his first start against the Tribe last month despite pitching six and two thirds innings of one run ball. However, Justin Mastersonhappened to pitch a complete game shutout victory that day for the Indians.
It wasn’t until Phelps was out of the game that the Tribe could get on the board as Drew Stubbs clubbed a three-run homer off Joba Chamberlain in the seventh to quickly bring the Tribe to within one. The bad news for Cleveland was the Yankees have David Robertson and Mariano Rivera in the eighth and ninth innings, arguably the best setup/closer combo in the game today. The Indians had a chance to tie it up against Robertson, but former YankeeNick Swisher hit a line drive right at second baseman Jason Nix for a rally-killing double play. And to no one’s surprise, the lineup couldn’t do anything against Rivera in the ninth as he picked up his 21st save of the year.
Well, up to this point this season, the state of the umpiring has been up for debate as many claim the amount of inconsistency, blown calls and attitude issues of MLB umpires has clearly escalated. Now the actions of home plate umpire Tony Randazzo during and after Tuesday night’s Indians/Yankees game, which went viral on Deadspin, have convinced me at least that the error-without-consequence and just plain arrogance of numerous umpires is out of control.
In the top of the ninth with Rivera pitching to Tribe shortstop Mike Aviles, a pitch high and off catcher Chris Snyder’s glove which Aviles appeared to check his swing on for a ball was called a foul-tip strike by Randazzo, who had been aggravating players on both sides all night. The slow motion replay on the broadcast confirmed that the call was blown and Aviles let Randazzo know it both during the at-bat and after he flew out to right field to end the game. The situation quickly escalated as Randazzo threw Aviles out of the game despite it already being over, thus bringing a livid Terry Francona from the dugout to give the ump a piece of his mind as well.
It wasn’t a crucial, game-changing call that Randazzo botched such as the blown home run call by Angel Hernandez a few weeks back, but his conduct following the call was completely unacceptable going after Aviles and then Francona. Human error is one thing. That’s unavoidable in sports and life in general. Human arrogance, on the other hand, can be avoided. However, that can run more rampant if there’s little or no consequence for blown calls as it currently stands now.
There will come a time soon if this keeps up that a botched call will push a player or a manager over the edge and force MLB’s hand. Book it.
Quote of the game
"[Rivera] is the best closer in the game. He doesn't need any help," - Terry Francona on Tony Randazzo.
Up Next: Indians vs. Yankees @ Yankee Stadium. First pitch at 1:05pm ET.
A familiar face and Cy Young winner takes to the mound on Wednesday against the scuffling Tribe, who are trying to get out of New York with at least one win. That’s right. Our old friend CC Sabathia takes on young Tribe right-handerCorey Kluber, who had his last start shortened by rain delays back in Cleveland. The Indians have fared very well against Cy Young award winners this season posting an 8-2 mark against them in 10 starts thus far. If the Tribe wants to cross Sabathia off their Cy Young hit-list, now’s a pretty good time.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.
Put Chisenhall at 3rd base. If you're out of it this summer, trade for pitching and RF help.