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Second Thoughts Game #74: Twins 5, Indians 3

Tribe falls to Minnesota in the rubber match, but still take three game series

Second Thoughts Game #74: Twins 5, Indians 3
June 24, 2013
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Player of the Game: Josh Willingham (2-for-5 with 2 RBI)

The Leadoff

The Tribe would have a chance to sweep Minnesota out of town on Sunday, but the Twins had other ideas defeating Cleveland, 5-3. Rookie left-handerPedro Hernandez kept hitters guessing for most of the ballgame as the Indians would tag him for just two runs on three hits through five innings.

Carlos Carrasco (0-3, 7.78 ERA) didn’t pitch bad, but would only last 4 2/3 innings giving up three runs on six hits walking four and striking out three. After gaining the lead and being up by one run before Carrasco exited in the fifth, the Twins would seemingly never look back.

The Bottom 9

  • No offense. Two runs on three hits against a rookie? In the words ofNick Swisher…come on, bro. The Tribe offense scuffled at the plate, not taking advantage of Hernandez’s control issues early. The Minnesota starter gave up six walks over his five innings, yet Cleveland could only manage two runs to score against him. 
  • Hitless with RISP. The team would have several chances to score especially with bases loaded and nobody out in the second inning, only to have the Tribe would finish Sunday’s game going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position having left 10 men on base.
  • Getting beat by no-names. What is it about no name pitchers that always seem to give the Indians problems? What no video or lack of scouting reports on the guy maybe? Cleveland can tangle all day with former Cy Young Award winners, but always seem to have problems against rookies and no name pitchers like Hernandez. Can you imagine if the Tribe beat the rookies just like the Cy Young Award winners?! I’ll be standing on the corner of Carnegie waiting for the parade if that happens.
  • Three runs or less. Offensively, the Indians could only muster up three runs on eight hits as the team falls to just 8-24 when scoring three runs or less on the season. Yes, starting pitching is still the most important, but the Tribe needs to consistently put up four, five or six runs per game in order to be consistent and stay successful.
  • Swisher struggles. First baseman Nick Swisher returned to the lineup on Sunday just in time to go 0-for-5 with a strikeout hitting in the cleanup spot in the order. Listen, I like Swish as much as the next guy, but why is Tito hitting Swisher fourth after missing six games with his shoulder injury?! It’s not like he went on a rehab assignment to get some at-bats, take some pressure off him and hit him in the lower third of the order to ease his way back into the thick of things.
  • Carrasco stays winless. He didn’t pitch all that bad, but Carrasco pitched poorly enough to grab the unfortunate title of tough luck loser Sunday afternoon. With another winless start, the Indians right-hander now hasn’t won a ballgame at Progressive Field since June 18, 2011.
  • Bullpen can’t put up zeros. After Carrasco left the ballgame yielding three runs, the bullpen’s job was to hold the one run lead for Minnesota and let the Indians offense have a chance to comeback late. Neither would happen as Nick Hagadone surrendered a run in the sixth inning before left-handed specialist Rich Hillgave up another in the eighth. Can we end the Rich Hill project soon? Anyone?
  • Wild pitches. Not one, not two, but three wild pitches were thrown by Tribe relievers in the ballgame on Sunday, with all three coming in the final three innings. Only one of the three wild pitches came around to score, but the issue that remains is Cleveland continues to lead all of baseball in wild pitches this season. Definitely not an area they want to be remembered for down the stretch.
  • Not scoring first. Minnesota jumped out to the early 1-0 lead on Sunday as Cleveland falls to just 11-27 on the year when the opposition grabs the first lead over the Tribe this season.

The Top 3

  • Kipnis and Bourn stay red hot. Second baseman Jason Kipnis and centerfielder Michael Bourn continued their offensive tear against the Twins, as both players collected three hits in the ballgame and accounted for six of the team’s eight hits on the afternoon. For Kipnis, he has now reached base in 25 straight games collecting a hit in 15 of his last 16 games with back-to-back three hit games. Bourn has also sizzled at the plate of late, collecting a hit 13 of his last 15 games and raising his average to .310 on the year. There’s no question one of the main reasons the Indians continue to be in the playoff race is not only about starting pitching, but the play of both Bourn and Kipnis at the top of the lineup.
  • Stubbsy goes yard. Right fielder Drew Stubbs cut the Twins lead to just one run in the seventh inning with his sixth long ball of the season. The right-handed hitter has looked better this month at the plate, as Stubbs is now hitting an even .250 in June, with three homers and 10 RBI. His home run also came against a right-hander where he came into the ballgame hitting below .225 against them. A good sign from Stubbs as the weather heats up and the month flips to July.
  • Win the series. Despite falling in the series finale on Sunday, the Indians took the three-game series with the Twinkies two games to three. In fact, the Tribe has now won four straight series dating back to June 10.

Closing Time

With the loss, Cleveland falls back to four games in back of the Detroit Tigers for first place in the American League Central Division with a record of 38-36.

Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will hit the road for the first game of a 10 game road trip against the Baltimore Orioles. Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4, 4.66 ERA) will get the start for the Wahoo’s versus Orioles lefty Zach Britton (1-1, 5.56 ERA) on Monday at 7:05 p.m. Jimenez is 5-2 with a 3.04 ERA in his last 10 games while Britton notched his first victory against Detroit last Tuesday, tossing 5 1/3 innings of one run baseball.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at

User Comments

June 24, 2013 - 2:50 PM EDT
I agree Jim. Omar fills the seats at Progressive field also!
June 24, 2013 - 1:29 PM EDT
Have to agree with Steve and shy here at least on the part of Gomes. You wouldn't have thought about it a month ago, but I don't see the Tribe signing Reynolds long term once the season is over, that is unless he starts mashing home runs like he did earlier this yr and can hit at a .250 or .260 clip.

Baring any acquisitions, that leaves Gomes right now as the replacement for him next yr with Santana moving to DH. But before we talk about next yr, I don't think some fans really understand just how valuable Gomes has been behind the plate this yr.

Still considered a rookie, Gomes has thrown out 9 of 16 baserunners defensively, while providing a decent stick in the lineup playing about every other day or so. He will only get better with more playing time, and has really done a nice job calling games when compared to Santana.

As far as Johnny Mac, I honestly didn't get the whole trade imo. I know he was a former Indian, but why not just call up Cord Phelps to play short? I would rather take a shot at him for a few weeks over McDonald who is basically just a defensive replacement. I would have rather asked Omar Vizquel to come out of retirement for a few weeks and end his career in Cleveland instead of making that trade.

June 24, 2013 - 12:45 PM EDT
Agree Shy. I thought that ground ball in the 1st was a double play ball off that bat, and then I realized Reynolds and not Chisenhall was manning third. Same deal on the RBI single in the 5th, a harder hit ball, but a more agile third baseman may at least knock it down and kept it on the infield. I'd rather just see them stick Chisenhall in there every day, it's not like Reynolds is swinging the bat better than him now anyway. If he goes 0-3 and strikes out 3 times against a lefty, he might at least save some runs that would otherwise score because of Reynolds lack of range. Carrasco didn't pitch well, and was all over the place in the first 2 innings especially, but if it hadn't been for Reynolds' non-play and two close pitches that the ump gave to the Twins in the 5th, he would've gone through 5 scoreless. I don't think it's all coincidence that the Indians have a much better record when Chisenhall's in the lineup
June 24, 2013 - 12:44 PM EDT
AND for my last comment which is really a question........

Does Reynolds come out of his "FUNK" against his old team in Baltimore this week??
June 24, 2013 - 12:35 PM EDT
I agree. Give Gomes more playing time his bat improves.

Gomes also can play first base and third. Gomes will be the everyday catcher next year which is why the tribe is only playing him at that position. He handles the pitching staff well, throws more runners out than Santana, and can hit just as well as Reynolds for average and power. Santana will DH next year and Reynolds is the odd man out.
Chiz will be at third and hopefully he gets his bat straightened out in AAA this year.
June 24, 2013 - 11:37 AM EDT
Gomes drove in the run that tied the game yesterday- a solid drive that was the hardest hit ball off the Twins rookie pitcher in the game. He's a very good hitter and he handles pitchers well- he also has the quickest throw to second of any catcher in the game at 1.7 sec. He needs game reps- to be the everyday catcher IMO. The Indians defense is really poor w Reynolds at third. The first run off Carrasco scored on a chopper that was ruled a hit because Reynolds didn't touch it. IMO he should have received 2 errors on the play- one precisely for not touching it, and one for allowing the run to score. I throw LIndor into the fire next year and go Chisenhall/maybe Urshela back up at third. Yeah I can hear Tony saying they're not ready. Was Manny Machado not ready at 19? Watch this kid in the Baltimore series, he's pretty amazing...
June 24, 2013 - 11:03 AM EDT
Also, I totally disagree with putting Gomes' .277 OBP in the lineup as an everyday player.
June 24, 2013 - 11:02 AM EDT
We need John McDonald on the roster because you have to have someone who can play SS if Mike Aviles gets hurt. Once Asdrubal comes back, the Tribe will DFA Johnny Mac. The cash/PTBNL we send the Pirates will be insignificant.
June 24, 2013 - 10:45 AM EDT
There are two things I cannot understand about Terry Franconas' and the front offices' thinking.

One.... Why is Swisher batting cleanup???

And two....Why do we need John McDonald on the roster??.....I can't beleive we sent Chiz down and picked him up for "A player to be named later"???...I hope the Indians aren't giving up more than an old catchers mitt in exchange for him!!!!

P.S. Can someone tell Yan Gomes to show Carls Santana how to frame a pitch already??...I will bet ya a dollar dog the pitching staff has a lower ERA with Gomes behind the plate than Santana!!!

I sure hope next year when Reynolds is gone Gomes will be the full time catcher and Santana will be the the full time DH and part time catcher.

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