August 26, 2014

Swept Away: Tribe Loses Third Straight To Milwaukee

Brewers Indians BaseballStop me if you have heard this one before:

Tribe starting pitcher gets down early and only goes five innings.

Tribe offense battles back to tie the game.

Tribe bullpen implodes and game seems all but lost.

Last night’s 9-8 loss to Milwaukee did however, feature another stunning late-inning comeback, but thanks to the pen, it was all for naught. The Tribe was trailing 8-4 going into the bottom of the ninth. With one out Jamey Carroll walked and Mark DeRosa doubled, which brought Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman to the mound. Hoffman, who has been spectacular this season, gave up an two-RBI single Victor Martinez to cut the lead to 8-6. Shin-Soo Choo worked a walk to put the tying run on base. Ryan Garko then laced a double to left to tie the game. Unfortunately for the Tribe, Garks twisted his ankle rounding second and was tagged out.

That would come into play later.

Nevertheless, the Tribe managed to come all the way back to tie a game they had no business being in. But all of the good will was lost thanks to another Tribe staple – the reliever walk parade. Greg Aquino, (who followed a perfect 10th from Kerry Wood) after giving up a one out single to Prince Fielder, walked three Brewers. J.J. Hardy’s sac fly put the Crew ahead 9-8.

Still, the Wahoos had another chance. They put two on with one out in the bottom of the 11th, but Choo struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch from lefty Mitch Stetter. Up came Garko’s spot for the Tribe’s last shot. Unfortunately, Francisco, locked in a 3-31 slump, was now there. Not surprisingly, Benny K’d swinging to end the game.

A couple of quick things that must be mentioned:

- Over the last month, I was pleasantly surprised by the relief work of Aquino, Luis Vizcaino, and Matt Herges. But over the last week or so, reality has set in and we all – the major league hitters included – realized that these guys are still Greg Aquino, Luis Vizcaino, and Matt Herges. There is a reason the Tribe was able to pluck these guys for nothing more than minor league contracts when they did. They are journeyman. In their 3.1 innings of work last night, the trio allowed four runs,  seven hits, and walked four.

- Joe Smith? I know he has been injured, but so far you have to say the guy is completely unimpressive. He has yet to find his groove here and continues to get pounded. Eric Wedge gave him the ball to start the sixth after the Tribe tied the game at three. In the seventh, he grooved a meatball right down the middle to the .202 hitting Bill Hall, who deposited into the left field bleachers. In his 12 appearances, covering 11 innings, Smith has allowed seven earned runs on 11 hits, walking 10.

- Trevor Crowe? Not ready. He made two killer mistakes that changed the game last night. He was shaky defensively in Center, almost crashing into Right Fielder Mark DeRosa on a fly ball, and he alligator armed a shot to left center which turned into a two-out RBI double for Fielder in a one run game in the seventh. Worst of all was his base-running blunder when he was the lead run at second base with one out in the fifth. After Carroll bunted him over to second, DeRosa hit a chopper to short and for some reason, Crowe was running on contact and was nailed. Bad, bad mistake. He is  hitting just .177.

- The problems with Crowe are magnified because Ben Francisco is the other option in Center right now. Doesn’t Franklin Gutierrez seem like a pretty good player to you? Without Grady Sizemore roaming Center, the Tribe is forced to go with either Crowe or Francisco, who looks completely lost at the plate. As our friends over at the newly named-changed Bench Ben Francisco said yesterday “Ben Francisco is no longer a rookie. He is no longer a 24-year old, wet-behind-the-ears young ball player. He spent parts of seven years in the minors and now we are seeing why.”

- Lastly, when they trailed by four runs into the ninth, couldn’t they have just gone quietly on their way to a loss? The comeback and subsequent L cost me a quality hour of sleep since I was sucked back in.

Now the Tribe heads to the Windy City for their first trip to Wrigley Field for the first time in 11 years. Nothing like a meeting of two teams who haven’t won a World Series in a combined 162 years.

  • Boomhauer

    The season ended when they blew Monday’s game. They would’ve been only 5 1/2 down and picking up momentum. Hopefully, Pavano will have a couple of good starts and DeRosa will keep hitting so Shapiro can turn them into some decent prospects (that the Tribe apparently needs since all of theirs suck).

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    The thing is, do prospects do us any good? If we keep stocking up on prospects, at no point will we have a solid team top-to-bottom.

    We need guys that are ready now. We have one more year of Lee. Three with Grady. We can’t keep nabbing 20-year olds that will need a year or two of seasoning.

    I’m done with Francisco. LaPorta gets called up last night if it was my choice. In fact, put Garko’s ass on the DL regardless of the extent of his knee injury. Make something up. Bring up LaPorta to slot in at first and left. I don’t care if he bats .200 from here out – he needs big league ABs.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Brendan

    I turned this off after the first inning when Jhonny did not cut off the Counsell run at home plate. It was so maddening and mind-numbingly stupid that I did not want to spend 3 hours frustrating myself. Rick Manning alluded to this as well but Counsell even turned and looked over his shoulder as he thought he was about to get in a run down. I know it was the first inning but this was just an obvious no brainer to throw home.
    I also know it is easy to get on Jhonny because he is “reserved” on the exterior but actually “burning with fire” on the inside to get better but I think he is the ultimate symbol and poster boy for this entire era of Tribe baseball – frustration and nothing more.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Brendan

    Just read through Pluto’s “scribbles” linked below in WWW before I made the above comment. He summarizes Peralta’s play pretty well in a few paragraphs.

  • DK

    i completely agree with all the sentiments listed here…I found myself completely awestruck with the stupidity of Peralta’s play in the first…

    also, Crowe seems to stumble and trip over his feet more than anyone I’ve seen since Paul Sorrento trying to leg out a triple…(although Sorrento’s was funny because you could just loook up to the scoreboard and see the big bowl of spaghetti and giggle uncontrollably regardless of what he did)

    I dont understand why this team seems so fundamentally challenged…throw strikes, dont walk batters, catch the ball, cut down runners…and the biggest thing I see now, that has been an issue since Shelton has been the “hitting” coach is just watching PERFECT pitches zip by…I mean, cmon…I know theres something to be said about working the count, but you only need to work the count when theyre NOT throwing meatballs…it drives me absolutely bonkers when they sit and look at the first pitch the 2nd or 3rd time thru the order off starters…youve SEEN what hes got, grip it and rip it…i miss the “see ball, hit ball” Charlie Manual hitting coach…they seem like theyre too worried about looking for a specific pitch, rather than swing when its in the middle of the plate…

    I dont understand how major league pitchers, especially relievers, can not throw strikes consistantly…with the amount of practice they have throwing the ball, eventually you would expect they would be gain this ability…I mean, I’m not anywhere near a major leaguer, but I’m 31, and I still can throw in the 80s, and I can still hit the mitt where its placed…I understand the whole pressure thing, and not every single time will the be able to hit the mitt, but good Lord, you dont see entire staffs, even the lowly nationals, walk people with such reckless abandon…its sad…

    this is the first year that I have not been to a game and I honestly can say, unless Cliff Lee is pitching, I dont think I will go to a game…I can afford tickets no problem, but I feel almost like going to go watch a Captains game, or an Aeros game instead…at least there, you know they are raw, and prone to mistakes…I dont want to go see a team in the Majors that looks like a minor league team…I expect so much more from a team, and this team just looks like its too tense and tight…they look nervous…and I think that stems from the manager CONSTANTLY moving people around, not giving consistant playing time, and not giving anyone more than 2-3 games in a row…

    Barfield needs to play over Valbuena, move Peralta back to short, and put Carroll at third until Cabrera comes back…DeRo in left, Crowe is not ready, I would almost give CF to Choo, put LaPorta in right, and pray that Shoppach remembers that he doesnt have to swing until he screws himself into the ground every at bat, Vic at first, and have Haf DH and rotate DHing with Laporta in Right, while maybe bringing Brantley up and sending Benny down…I would HAPPILY trade garko, benny, and peralta for a DECENT starter or reliever…

  • http://joesnake.neoblogs.org Joe

    I love how 1100 spun it this morning – something like if you got disgusted with the Indians last night and turned off the game you missed….A LOSS! (w/ an exciting but meaningless comeback)

  • Alex

    This team is killing me worse than Smalls

  • Anon Imus

    Season is likley lost but look at the lineup potential down the road; this assumes we lose DeRosa, get rid of Shoppach, and promote LaPorta and Santana.

    Cabrera
    Sizemore
    Martinez
    Hafner
    Choo
    Peralta
    LaPorta
    Valbuena
    Santana

    Stud hitters – Sizemore, Vic, Choo, and Cab
    rookies with high potential – LaPorta, Santana, Valbuena
    Question marks – Hafner and Peralta

    No glaring weak links ala Francisco, Shoppach, Crowe etc. etc.

    Of course, we would still need 3 starters and a new crop of relievers to be competitive, but I think the offense has the base to be really good for years to come.

  • DK

    @8 – thats saying Wedge lets them play…and thats also saying that Hargrove doesnt replace Wedge (which I think will happen regardless of what happens this season…you heard it here first…tell me this town wouldnt go bonkers for Grover back at the Jake…

  • MadCowz99

    The thing I don’t get is how a team that needs cash streaming in doesn’t realize its just a bad business decision to not fire the entire coaching staff immediately. Who’s going to pay to come see this team right now? I know one person already said in the comments above that they don’t want to go see them play right now and I know I feel that way too. So if this team is actually keeping people away who want to go, shouldn’t they just make moves to get me and other like me back? The attendance would go up and that means more cash and that means a better team in the future. Just please, please, please fire the coaches. They all are terrible and the team and its fans are suffering because of them.

  • AMC

    This team makes me ill. Positively sick just thinking about them. And yet, despite this sweep, they’re still right where they were after winning 3 straight series – 6.5 games back of the Tigers.

    That may be the most maddening this about all of this – this division is so gawd awful that even a team as painfully bad as the Indians won’t be totally out of contention for a couple of months.

  • DK

    agreed…and stupid me will still watch these chuckleheads daily and have it make my blood boil…but at least it gives me some decent fodder for this forum! :)

  • Carol

    Best part of the game last night was that the pizza was hot, my seats were good and the rain somehow missed the entire 11 innings. Our lack of bats in the bottom of our line-up was the huge reason for the loss as I saw it.

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