April 19, 2014

Angels 4 Indians 3: A Durbin Debacle

After receiving text after texts from my boys Billy and Fritzer, in the left field stands in Anaheim that read like a missed opportunity convention, my response as we headed into extra innings was simple. “This one just isn’t meant to be.”

After living right for eight straight games, playing flawless defense and coming up with timely hits, the Indians were on the other end of the stick and it cost them dearly in their 4-3, 12-inning loss to the Angels.

Before we tackle how they lost, lets cut to the end. After Vinnie Pestano, Tony Sipp, and Chris Perez were once again money putting up zeroes and giving the Indians a chance to take a lead in a tie game, Manager Manny Acta had to go to his pen once again in the 12th. This time he went to right-hander Chad Durbin to face righties Torri Hunter, Vernon Wells, and switch-hitter Alberto Callaspo.

The second I saw the Durbin/Hunter matchup, I tweeted “Chad Durbin in, Torri Hunter up. This could be the ballgame.” Not a second after I hit send, Hunter missed a game-winning home-run foul by two feet. It was a bad omen.

Despite getting Hunter out, Durbin allowed a single to Wells, who was mired in a 1-30 slump. Then he walked Callaspo on four pitches. To make matters worse, Durbin uncorked a wild pitch to Mark Trumbo, moving the runners into scoring position. To set up the force at any base, Trumbo was intentionally walked. The game ended with a sac fly from the light hitting Jeff Mathis.

“There’s no need to get a guy into scoring position,” Durbin said of his wild pitch. “Make them hit their way into it. I kept trying to throw sinkers middle away and let it run to the corner of the plate, and it ran off the plate or down. That’s not very efficient.”

Durbin is very lucky he got himself a guaranteed million dollars from the Indians in Spring Training, because he isn’t pitching like a guy who wants to stick around. While Pestano, Sipp, Rafael Perez, and Chris Perez have been lights out thus far, Durbin has been extremely ineffective. In his five appearances, he now carries a 10.13 ERA and has allowed five hits and four walks in 2.2 innings of work. Not what you want from the veteran.

In all fairness to Durbin, he should never have been put in that situation. Asdrubal Cabrera’s bad news bears-esque throwing error turned a Howie Kendrick leadoff double into run in the bottom of the fourth. On top of that the Indians offense failed to come through time after time and blew several easy scoring chances. They were 0-8 with runners in scoring position.

In the fourth inning with a 1-0 lead, Shin-Soo Choo singled and stole second. Carlos Santana then walked. Choo ended up on third on an Ervin Santana wild pitch and the Tribe seemed to be in business with runners on the corners and nobody out. Then the bottom fell out. Travis Hafner was called out on a suspect check swing third strike for the first out. All they needed was a fly ball. Orlando Cabrera, who has been so good thus far, hit a hard liner right at second baseman Howie Kendrick, who turned it into a 4-6-3 double play.

In the sixth, Choo again was on board to lead off the inning and again, he stole second. Santana’s groundout moved him to third. Once again, all they needed was a sac fly or a ground ball to the right side. Instead, Hafner again K’d and Choo was caught too far off of third and Mathis’s snap throw to nailed him for the third out.

In the eighth, trailing 3-2, the Tribe once again had a shot for a big inning. Adam Everett and Michael Brantley (who had three hits and SHOULD NOT taken out of the leadoff spot when Grady Sizemore comes back) hit back to back singles. Asdrubal Cabrera, the Tribe’s Mr. Clutch in the first 11 games, hit a grounder towards third base. Everett who was off the bag, had no choice but to run home and was tagged for the first out. Brantley was then wild pitched over to third and once again the Tribe had the tying run at third with less than two outs. Choo, facing lefty Scott Downs, hit a 3-2 chopper that glanced off of the glove of Downs right to Kendrick. Brantley scored to tie the game and Cabrera moved to third. Santana, who is 0-for his last 18, K’d looking against Fernando Rodney to end the threat.

That was their last best chance to score and the Angels won it in the 12th.

“Our pitching took us to the end of the game because we didn’t execute offensively.  The lack of execution pretty much took away our victory,” said Acta.

While it is disappointing to end the road trip with two straight losses, I think a 4-2 trip is something we’d all have signed up for beforehand. “I’ll take a 4-2 West Coast trip any time,” said Acta.

Now the Indians come home for a three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles. They are still in first place at 8-4, but a win last night would have been great for the momentum. A day off comes today before the Orioles come to town. Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA), who has been great in his first two starts of the season, will get the series underway Friday against Baltimore phenom lefty Zach Britton (2-0, 0.66 ERA).

With the Cavs season now over, lets get behind this team. Get out this weekend and see this young bunch. Hopefully I will see you down there Sunday.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Tron

    Good to see those flashes of Pronk early on were just a mirage, and when push came to shove good old waste of a paycheck Travis put up some Ks. That was pathetic watching him TRY to hit with a runner on 3rd. The only people with any production were our 9,1,2 lineup.

  • oribiasi

    We need Grady back and Choo needs to turn it around completely. Send Durbin packing or something.

  • 5KMD

    “I’ll take a 4-2 West Coast trip anytime” as well, but that assumes you get back home and start kicking but again immediately. Losing the last two of that trip puts alot more pressure on this next series.

  • stin4u

    Again, I’m not trying to go chicken little on everyone. But the fact is, it is still really early in the season. It’s tough to tell either way if this team is a contender or a pretender but I think as the dust settles from this hot start we’ll see the holes in this team start to show. I’ve said from the start that they’re young and they’re bound to be streaky. It’s been a wonderful start I just hope they can continue to pick up steam and not trail off.

  • mgbode

    you start off 8-2 so that if you happen to lose a couple games, you are still 8-4 and in 1st place.

  • Reggie Ruckus

    They lost two games in a row by a total of 3 runs. Let’s not hit the panic button. It’s not like they got beat by a bottom feeder either. The Angels are a playoff caliber club. That being said, that throwing error was one of the worst plays I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand what he was even thinking there. A total brain fart that hosed up the inning and probably the game. Despite that the team battled back to tie it up but couldn’t take advantage of their chances to pull it out. Durbin has been horrid but with a roster move to be made this weekend when Joe Smith comes off the DL I think Pestano or Herrmann will be sent to Columbus.

    I think if the weekend weather was like it is today you’d see decent walk up crowds but with sub-50 temps we’re looking at 10-12,000 tops.

  • Fritzer

    Have to be very encouraged by pitching and bullpen sans Durbin. Hacker was garbage last night. On a side note, great bits every inning by the rally monkey. Best mascot in baseball.

  • b

    Didn’t like or see the point of the Durbin signing at the time, and especially not now. Eat the salary and call up Jensen or Joe Martinez.

  • b

    Also I will be furious if Pestano is sent to AAA. He had a good September and he has been GREAT this year. Acta is finally going to him in late innings situation (like the 8th last night) and he’s lights out. He should hold onto the 7th, Sipp in the 8th and Rage in the 9th, and they Tribe is essentially playing 6 inning games on defense with 9 innings of offense.

  • ClevelandFan14

    I still have high hopes this team can finish .500. I am not panicking just because they have lost 2 games in a row. I am worried about Durbin though. They need to get rid of him if he doesn’t right the ship soon.

  • http://www.twitter.com/boxoflewine Eli

    What if my panic button releases a secret store of M+M’s? Can I hit it then?

  • Harv 21

    Durbin probably just needs to pitch some, not with the game on the line right now. Last night he had no feel for anything and Manny did him no favors by calling panicky pitch-outs when the guy is struggling with his control(the last one, fearing a squeeze with a non-bunter up, was mindless).

    This guy will probably look like a different pitcher in a month. He needs some work. ANd they aren’t going to cut a guaranteed salary. Can’t believe it’s up to me to tell everyone to chillax.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com BAJ22

    That was, by far, the worst Hafner has looked all year…and in “key”, game changing situations. I like the guy, but that was tough to watch!!

  • christopher

    so yes Durbin was obviously not able to find the strike zone but some of the blame has to go to Acta as well…

    two pitchouts with men on base in an extra inning game is a little curious; especially the last one.

    i understand he thought Anaheim was going to put the squeeze on but Durbin wasnt able to find the zone as it was and he is going to intentionally tell him to waste pitches out?

    as good as Manny looked with his righty/left matchups and squeeze to win he has to take some heat for this loss.

    to echo the previous post i will take a 4-2 west coast trip anytime as well.

    i know i will still be in the stands on Friday night welcoming home our weary wahoo warriors. fear.the.tribe

  • christopher

    @harv

    my bad, sorry to basically say what you already had posted.

    /ditto’d

  • Harv 21

    Great minds and all that, Christopher.

  • jimkanicki

    i was more offended by matt laporta going 0-4 on 9 pitches than durbin’s performance.

    this was the first game where they did not play actaball. to wit:
    laporta’s at-bats.
    not attempting steal of brantley with 2 outs and 2 strikes on acab. (nit pick, i know, but uncharacteristic of acta not to be aggressive.)
    carrasco walking lead-off batters (even though he got – i think – two DPs to erase them, it’s not actaball).
    the silly error.
    five times runner on 3rd with less than two outs yields 1 run.
    probably shouldve given santana the night off.

    while not a panic situation, it’s definitely a ‘coaching opportunity.’ message being: if you play sloppy you will lose. you’re not the 95 indians and unlikely to overcome sloppy play; behave as such.

  • Illmatic8

    Chad Durbin is awful. Every time he enters the game, I have sick feeling in my stomach. He then proceeds to get tagged to affirm that my internal barometer on his skills is correct. Please get him off of the roster.

  • Reggie Ruckus

    Paul Hoynes says Joe Smith’s up and Herrmann’s been sent back to Columbus. No surprise.

  • Scotty

    AMEN about Brantley staying in the leadoff spot instead of Sizemore. Sizemore’s fast, but we need someone who hits for average to start the game off. Let the guy who bats for power come up after someone else has a chance to get on base.

  • Garry Owen

    @ Eli: If it’s Peanut Butter M&Ms, hit that button. Hit it.

  • mgbode

    @Garry Owen – I have heard rumors of a Pretzel w/ PB inside M&M. MMmmmmm.

  • Garry Owen

    But back to baseball . . .

    For those conscious during the ’80s, what color M&M is a home run?? Go . . .

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Durbacle?

  • Scotty

    @Denny – Nice.