Rangers 12, Indians 8 (box)
Pardon me while I attempt to remain hopeful after watching my Cleveland Indians get pounded during three straight games. The rotation was the big question mark, and I hate to think that said question has been answered after having our starters gave up 22 earned runs in 11 collective innings.
Yesterday’s loss marks the first time in 13 seasons that the Indians have opened up the year by getting swept. The 1996 team, led by Mike Hargrove, went on to win 96 games and finish atop the AL Central. The down side to this is that the team that swept them to start ’96 was the New York Yankees who went on to win the World Series. Something tells me that the Rangers team that we just face will not go on to win the World Series in 2009. But what do I know.
I know that if we could have somehow had yesterday’s game start in the third inning (or even half way through the second inning) that the Tribe would have won 8-3. Well, in my twisted theory, anyway. Needless to say, the Carl Pavano experiment did not go as planned. As Vince Grzegorek pointed out, the silver lining to this is that the Indians are now that much more ahead of the curve in their incentive-based pay for their prized free agent.
And while fans are still baffled, Pavano cannot wait to take the hill again.
“It’s disappointing,” said Pavano. “I pitched poorly, but I get another chance in five days and I’m looking forward to that.”
The guy who replaced Pavano, Zach Jackson – who conveniently just lost a rotation spot and landed in the bullpen – actually pitched well in his four innings of relief work. Sure, he allowed two runs. But in the grand scheme of things, this team should hope to only have two runs cross the plate in four innings. He fanned six batters, walked none and only allowed four hits.
Kerry Wood made his first appearance of the season and went on to strike out the side despite allowing two hits, one walk and a run scored.
On the offensive side of things, the team did start to swing the bat well. 11 hits and five home runs in the third of three games is a good trend considering that the first game was brutal, and the second was considerably less brutal. Though striking out twice, tell me that the stroke that Travis Hafner put on his home run was not perfect? A line drive that got out in a hurry. Now if he could just stop looking like a fool on some of those off-speed pitches. Grady’s two home runs and four RBI were nice; the three strikeouts were not. At least he’s still batting .286, albeit with a higher-than-normal BABIP of .333.
Not a good start by Mark DeRosa. In 12 at bats, DeRosa is yet to record a hit. Brother went 0-4 yesterday with two strikeouts and a costly error. If anyone is looking to get their first hit, you can bet it’s our third baseman who is fresh off of a very strong WBC. With a contact rate north of 70 percent, his luck is bound to change eventually.
Victor Martinez continues to put the bat firmly on the ball. A 2-for-4 day with a walk, run and RBI is extremely solid. Factor in that one of his two outs missed leaving the park by maybe three feet, and it’s even bettter. His catching counterpart Kelly Shoppach is also playing well with two extra base hits in only seven at bats. He’ll always be prone to the strikeout, but when you’re struggling to score runs, it may be worth keeping him in the linuep a little more often.
One win with a few strong innings pitched would be a nice change of pace. Heck, maybe even something to build off of. Let’s hope it comes sooner than later.
(AP Photos/LM Otero)