The Indians lost their sixth game in row, their longest losing streak of the season, and remain winless on this homestand. Overall, they are just 6-12 at home and continue the recent trend of being dominated by the Reds in interleague play. There was another good crowd on hand Saturday night, by Progressive Field standards but by all accounts Reds fans were in the majority. The Indians will rely on the extremely shaky David Huff this afternoon to avoid their third straight series sweep.
Poor pitching, fielding, and hitting – other than that – the night went well for the Indians. I think everyone had low expectations for this season but expected improvement as the season progressed. There are still four months left in the season but the Indians seem to be getting worse as the season moves forward. Recent injuries have played a part in the regression. But did the loss of Grady Sizemore dramatically affect the arc of this team’s season? Trevor Crowe has been raking in his place since being called up last weekend and he contributed again last night.
Crowe had 2 more RBIs last night as the Indians tried to mount a 9th inning rally to tie the game. After Matt LaPorta and Shelley Duncan singles, and a Russ Branyan walk, Crowe singled to left center to bring home LaPorta and Duncan and cut the Tribe’s deficit in half. The rally quickly fizzled when the Indians’ two most reliable and clutch hitters to date, Shin-Soo Choo and Austin Kearns, failed to come through and tie the game against Francisco Cordero.
Crowe came across earlier in the evening during the 6th when Travis Hafner hit a bomb 423 feet to center to put the Indians on the board. It was his 4th homer of the season and his first in 17 days. Despite the spotty power, Hafner does have a 10 game hitting streak going and his batting average has improved with every game this month, now up to .276. His OPS in the month of May is at .936 after a .664 in April.
Maybe they could have used Hafner’s glove in the field last night. It could not have been much worse than the comedy of errors on display. The Tribe committed 3 more errors which compounded an inefficient start from Fausto Carmona. Carmona started slowly as the Reds scored 2 in the first. Tribe killer Brandon Phillips doubled to left and scored on a Joey Votto single. Votto advanced to 2nd on a throwing error by Crowe and was brought home on a Jay Bruce single. Two runs and the Indians were already behind the 8-ball. Laynce Nix, who has killed the Tribe over the past two games, hit a two run homer in the 4th to extend the lead to 4.
To put a nice wrap on the pathetic performance, Brandon Phillips continued to own his former team. He reached base in the 5th on a Jhonny Peralta error. Then he stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a groundout, and was brought home on a sac fly. He would score their 6th and final run in the 7th on a Bruce single after he hit another deep double to reach base. Philips went 2-5 and scored 3 of the Reds 6 runs.
To counter Huff, the Reds will go for the sweep with Homer Bailey this afternoon at Progressive. With the bullpen having pitched 7 innings in the past two nights, it would be huge if Huff could go deep into the game. What are the odds? Slim.