Second Thoughts: Game #62 - Reds 12, Indians 5
|W: J. Arredondo (4-1) L: J. Tomlin (3-4)|
The Indians looked to salvage the first Ohio Cup series with a victory on Thursday afternoon and return to Cleveland after a winning road-trip, but got bested again by an old friend and a new foe.
Shin-Soo Choo led off the ballgame with a home run, and added another of the solo variety later on. They were his fourth and fifth on the season. The leadoff role has suited him over more than just a small sample size now, as he is 36-for-118 (.305), with 24 runs scored, 10 doubles, four home runs, eight runs batted in, 10 walks and three stolen bases.
Asdrubal Cabrera's modest 12-game hit streak came to an end on Wednesday, but he bounced back with three hits (two doubles) and a walk in the finale. Besides Jason Kipnis, he continues to be the most consistent hitter in this on-again, off-again lineup.
In his last at-bat of the game, Michael Brantley sent a double deep into the opposite field gap to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. During that time, he is 28-for-82 (.341), with 15 runs batted in and six stolen bases.
Carlos Santana has been struggling before and after his concussion, but he turned in a respectable game on Thursday, driving in a run, drawing two walks and roping a 3-2 breaking ball into right field for a single. While he hasn't yet been the extra-base and run-producing force he was expected to be, he is still getting on base at a .350 clip.
Lou Marson also responded nicely to losing a hit streak in the last game he played, matching Cabrera's three knocks. Conversely, he was charged for interference during a rundown in the fifth inning. The play directly led to one run, and two more went on to score in the inning.
Due to the poor pitching before him, Esmil Rogers was called on to pitch for a second straight day. He came on in a bases loaded, one out situation, and escaped untouched. He stayed on for the sixth inning (collecting a hit in the Indians' half of the fifth) and allowed an unearned run that came across on his wild pitch. The occasional wildness has shown slightly, but he works fast, throws faster (a consistent 95-96) and has done well in his first two appearances.
In each of Choo's three other at-bats, he struck out. Two of them came against two different hard-throwing right-handers, which, along with left-handers in general, have given him a lot of trouble this season. While he has been successful since being inserted into the one-hole, his bat speed has taken a hit from seasons past.
As was the case on Sunday, Lonnie Chisenhall, Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman were not in the lineup against a right-hander. Damon and Kotchman are more understandable because of how ineffective they've been overall, but whatever this plan is for Chisenhall is not a good one. If he's on this level, he needs to be playing, good results or bad right now. It may not be a concern much longer, as Jack Hannahan is due back in the very near future.
Josh Tomlin was thoroughly beat up in this game, allowing runs in three of his four innings, and six overall. He had a chance to get out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the fifth unscathed, but Brandon Phillips came through with two outs and ended his day. As Indians fans know, he is always going to give up hits. If he isn't locating every pitch and keeping hitters off balance, games like this see those hits turn into crooked numbers. Credit the Reds, though, who hit good and bad pitches alike. Much like the rest of the rotation, Tomlin has been a model of inconsistency, and Zach McAllister could very well be on his and Jeanmar Gomez's heels, in particular.
Scott Barnes, who spelled Tomlin, allowed a hit and a run for the first time in his Major League career. Five each. The Reds treated him like a batting practice tosser, coming a triple short of the cycle in the inning. He retired just one of the nine batters he faced, and also distributed two walks. While he was probably safe before this catastrophic showing, he could now be in the running for the extra reliever that gets optioned to Columbus soon.
Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips continued their dominance against the Indians in this one. They added four more hits and seven more runs batted in, ultimately going 13-for-25 with four home runs and 13 runs batted in in the series. In comparison, the Indians put nine runs on the board as a team.
And last, but certainly not least: http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22278977&c_id=mlb
Interleague Play continues on in Cleveland as the Indians will host the Pirates starting tonight. All eyes will be on games one and two starters Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez as they look to continue turning their seasons around.
For more Indians insight from Kevin, and occasional ticket giveaways, follow him on Twitter: @KevinIPI. He can also be reached by way of email at email@example.com.