July 29, 2014

Tribe 7, Reds 6 – Bullpen Picks Up Huff

Indians Reds baseballFor the second straight night at the Great American Ballpark, a Tribe starter lasted only three innings.  David Huff gave up 6 runs on 3 homers in his first two innings of work.  Joey Votto crushed a three run homer, his second of the night, in the second inning to put the Reds up 6-4.  Huff would pitch a scoreless third inning before being replaced by Greg Aquino.  Four pitchers out of the Tribe’s much maligned bullpen would pitch 6 scoreless innings allowing the Tribe offense to battle back and score three runs for the victory. 

Is this the beginning of a recovery for the bullpen?  Where do we rank these guys in this “new” pen in terms of reliability?  Both newcomers Aquino and Luis Vizcaino pitched two innings to get to the veterans Raffy Betancourt and Kerry Wood.  Aquino loaded the bases at one point but was able to get out of it unscathed.  Vizcaino gave up no hits in his two innings but walked three guys, two of them intentional to get around the dangerous Votto and to get to the pitcher’s spot in the order.  With runners in scoring position in both innings, he was able to quickly shut the door.  After a struggle in KC, Kerry Wood came out shaky giving up a leadoff single to the pesky Adam Rosales.  Jay Bruce followed with what intially looked like a walkoff two-run homer off the bat.  Shin-Soo Choo caught the ball up against the wall and disaster was averted as Wood induced a game ending DP for the save.  After the first two games of the KC series and the first two batters of last night, anxiety had to creep in with Wood on the mound.  It does not approach Bobby Wickman and Joe Bo levels but it is anxiety nonetheless.

The clutch Asdrubal Cabrera and Mark DeRosa combined to drive in all 7 runs.  DeRosa hit a two run bomb to left in the second inning and singled home both Cabrera and Grady Sizemore in the 5th to tie the game at 6.  Sizemore challenged the arm of left fielder Jonny Gomes on the play.  Gomes, who has a strong arm, had the ball in his glove before Grady had even hit third.  Sizemore continued around third and Gomes’ throw was off the line.  Sizemore, directed by Cabrera who was at home after scoring, came back into fair territory to avoid the tag and tie the game.  It was an exciting play with nice teamwork that clearly energized the dugout.  Cabrera would knock in the winning run in the 8th on a FC ball hit to 3rd.   Luis Valbuena, who led the inning with a deep leadoff double, scored the winning run after being sacrificed over to third by Jamey Carroll. 

This was a rewarding victory after the rough start from Huff.  It was great to see the bullpen hold the Reds scoreless for 6 full innings and equally exciting to see the offense actually come through with some clutch hits after executing sacrifices in two key spots.  It remains to be seen if Huff will eventually find a spot in this rotation and it is clear he is probably not a long-term solution for this season.  He has struggled in two starts against the Rays and Reds.  The Indians look to win their 4th series of the year with Cliff Lee going this afternoon in what will hopefully be more than a 3 inning outing.

  • LaundroMat

    I’m liking Vizcaino and Aquino so far, but then I was saying the same thing about Sipp when he first emerged, and he’s no longer on the roster. I’ll just enjoy good relief pitching as it comes.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Sipp is actually doing very well back in Columbus. If I remember right he’s been a strikeout machine. Perez has looked good too – let’s hope it translates.

  • Vic

    Now that I’m living outside of Cincy, it’s been forever since I saw a Tribe game but I got to take in Saturday’s game and it was great! (Great American Ballpark is gorgeous by the way.) I was on pins and needles the whole time, expecting the bullpen to implode once more but needless to say I was ecstatic with the result!
    On a semi-related note, when did Grady stop wearing his socks up? I always loved how he was that “throwback” player who wore his socks up like that but last night I saw he has them down like everybody else. Maybe this explains his season-long slump?