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Second Thoughts Game #87: Tigers 9, Indians 4

Carrasco gives up six as Tribe drops fourth straight

Second Thoughts Game #87: Tigers 9, Indians 4
July 7, 2013
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Player of the Game: Torii Hunter (3-for-5) with a double, triple, homer, and 3 RBI

The Leadoff

Still believe Tribe Town?

Awesome Amazingness? More like Abominable Awfulness.

A four run third inning and a three run fourth was more than enough runs for the surging Detroit offense as they took down the Indians 9-4 on Saturday.

Carrasco’s struggles continue

Well, at least he didn’t hit anyone, right?

Tribe starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (0-4, 9.10 ERA) looked horrible Saturday, giving up six runs on 10 hits in just 3 1/3 innings. To his credit, he did have Miguel Cabrera in a 3-2 count with two outs and no runs across in the third inning. Only problem was he hung a curveball to Miggy one pitch later who took it deep for his 27th jack of the year.

Prince Fielder followed that up with a majestic shot of his own, making the Tigers three and four hitters go back-to-back for the first time all season.

The last time Carrasco won a ballgame was June 29, 2011. In that game, Orlando Cabrera started at second base, Shelley Duncan was in left field and Austin Kearns started in right field. He also is winless at Progressive Field since June 18, 2011.

I think it’s safe to say a win could go a long way for the right-hander, but right now, Carrasco needs to get sent back down to Triple-A Columbus. Zach McAllister will fill his spot in the rotation as early as this upcoming week or right after the All-Star break. It’s a shame to keep sending him up and down, but the Tribe cannot afford to throw Carrasco out there every five days while trying to compete for the postseason.

There’s no question he has the stuff, but whether or not he can consistently prove it at the Major League level remains to be seen.

Pitching is the name of the game

For the second straight night, Tribe starting pitching handed runs to the Motor City Kitties early in the ballgame. Yes, the offense has been flat, but Justin Masterson and Carrasco have fallen even harder, both allowing six runs in the biggest series of the season.

Over the last 18 games, only five times have Indians starters pitched a full six innings. Two were thrown by Masterson, two by Scott Kazmir and one by Ubaldo Jimenez. During that same 18 game stretch, Cleveland starting pitchers have gone 5-5 with a 5.70 ERA.

For a team competing for the A.L. Central crown, that’s simply inexcusable.

Not only does that not give the offense confidence, but it hasn’t helped the bullpen either as we have all witnessed of late. Relievers are throwing more innings, appearing in more games and throwing more pitches.

And that’s why success in baseball always stems from good and consistent starting pitching.

Matt Garza or Bud Norris sure would look great in this rotation right now. If I’m Chris Antonetti, I’m making a splash in the trade market well before the trade deadline.

Bats on ice

Judging by these last two games, you would have thought Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer started for the Tigers.

While Detroit was having another field day offensively, the Tribe offensive struggles continued, only scoring two runs on four hits through the first six innings. As a team, they have scored just four runs on 14 hits in the series.

The Tigers scored nine runs on 13 hits alone on Saturday.

Yes, there were three players in the Indians lineup with two hits in the game, but in what was Anibal Sanchez’s first game off the disabled list, all the Cleveland offense could tag him for was one run on three hits through five innings.

Not in the starting lineup Saturday, first baseman Mark Reynolds made a pinch hit appearance in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The result? You guessed it…another strikeout.

The at-bat put Reynolds in a 0-for-20 slump, where the right-handed hitter has struck out in 11 of those last 20 ABs.

Since May 10, Reynolds is hitting just .177 with four homers and 18 RBI.

Rockin’ Raburn

The biggest hit of the afternoon for the Wahoo’s came on Ryan Raburn’s tenth homer in the ninth inning. Always a nice to see the former Detroit outfielder gets a big hit against his former team.

So just how good has Raburn been this first half? Here are his stats compared with another Indians player:

Raburn:  .269 AVG  10 HR  28 RBI  .365 OBP  .545 SLG

Player B: .245 AVG  9 HR  30 RBI  .350 OBP  .415 SLG

Surprisingly enough, Player B is none other than first baseman Nick Swisher. I’m not getting on Swish too much who did hit a solo shot of his own in the ballgame and has hit .333 over his last 10 games, but Terry Franconashould really start thinking about getting Raburn in the lineup more often as the season progresses.

Big Apple Bound

Before the conclusion of Saturday’s game, Major League Baseball announced that second baseman Jason Kipnisand Masterson will represent the Tribe at the 2013 All-Star Game.

There’s no question all Indians fans would agree both first time selections deserve one of baseball’s highest honors.

Masterson (10-7, 3.78 ERA) has almost equaled his win total from last season already, leading the league in innings pitched and becoming one of just five starters in the American League with double digit wins.

It’s nice to see recently named June A.L. Player of the Month in Kipnis also representing Cleveland at Citi Field in New York, batting .296 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI in 77 games.

His 1.216 OPS was also the highest in Major League Baseball in the month of June.

Said Kipnis via Twitter (@TheJK_Kid):

“Just wanted to give a shout out and thank you to you Cleveland fans helping me get to my 1st ASG!! Can’t tell you how excited and…Proud I am to represent the Indians and this city! I’d say dream come true but I honestly never dreamt of this day! So thank you. –JK22”

Closing Time

With the loss, Cleveland (45-42) falls to 3 1/2 games in back of Detroit for first place in the A.L. Central having lost seven straight to their division rivals.

Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will look to end their four game losing streak on Sunday, as Corey Kluber (6-5, 4.33 ERA) will get the start against Doug Fister (6-5, 3.80 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. Kluber is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts versus the Tigers this season.

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

User Comments

July 7, 2013 - 10:41 AM EDT
I'm fine with Garza simply from the fact my expectations are that he is a good middle of the rotation starter that is consistent and will give a team innings and quality starts. That is what the Indians need.

As for Reynolds, yep, this is why back in late April and early May when people were clamoring to extend him why I said it would be crazy to do so at that time because he'd have required a 3 or so year deal at least $10 million per. You can't make those kind of decisions on snap judgments and in just 30 games. He has been the fourth worst hitter in the AL over the last 50+ games!
July 7, 2013 - 10:31 AM EDT
I see Reynolds got a cameo appearance and did his usual. I cannot believe how far he has fallen. LOL - where are those wanting to extend his contract?
July 7, 2013 - 10:15 AM EDT
I just don't understand the fascination with Matt Garza. It just doesn't make sense for the Tribe to give up young talent for a lifetime .500 pitcher with recent injury problems. Garza is surely not an ace. Too similar to Brett Myers.

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