July 30, 2014

Red Sox 4 Indians 2: Running Into a Loss

The one thing I love about Actaball is that the Indians are a fundamentally sound club that rarely beats itself. Last night, the aggressive base-running that has worked so well all season backfired not once, not twice, but four times in the 4-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

The Indians were first on the board in the second inning. With two out, Ezequiel Carrera hit a two-out RBI single bringing in Travis Buck, but Orlando Cabrera was nailed trying to advance to third, robbing Michael Brantley of a chance to add to the 1-0 lead. It was an aggressive play, but as the old baseball adage says “you never make the third out at third.”

The Red Sox took the lead in the top of the third against Fausto Carmona on a Jed Lowrie sac fly and a two out RBI double by Adrian Gonzalez. Like so many times this year, Carmona seems to be one pitch away from avoiding major trouble, and then gets bitten.

Things could have been much different in this one if not for the aforementioned Tribe base-running blunders. In the third and fourth, Boston Catcher Jason Varitek, who seemingly hasn’t thrown someone out since the Clinton administration, nailed both Shin-Soo Choo and Travis Buck in steal attempts in the third and fourth.

Then in the fifth, Matt LaPorta was on first with one out with Carrera sent a sharp liner to the left-center gap that was run down by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. LaPorta  forgot how many outs their were and took off sprinting on contact. He was doubled up with ease to end the inning.

“I just messed up. I lost track of the outs,” LaPorta said. “I know that’s a huge mental mistake. If you want to be a championship ballclub, you can’t do things like that.”

When you face a pitcher like Josh Beckett, you just cannot make mistakes like these and give back outs. Said Manny Acta: “We gave a few away on the bases. That translates, sometimes, into 15 to 20 pitches. Maybe it means you get a guy out of the game an inning earlier.”

Beckett seemed to be getting the better of the matchup with Carmona, and that became clinched in the seventh. Still trailing 2-1, David Ortiz led off by hitting a line drive to center. Carrera made a poor break on the ball and then let it bounce off of his glove. The official scorer ruled it a double, but in reality, it was an error. Another killer mistake by the Tribe in this one. After J.D. Drew grounded out and moved Ortiz to third, Carmona gave up a two-run blast off the right field foul poll to the light-hitting Varitek. It was his first homer since May 30th of last year.

Again, essentially two pitches changed the entire game to Carmona; the two-out double by Gonzalez in the third, and the Varitek seventh inning jack.

“Fausto gave us a tremendous effort,” said Acta. “He gave us a chance to win.” The four runs came on just five hits and one walk. He struck out seven.

The Wahoos managed to chase Beckett in the seventh, but couldn’t get that big hit that they have all year. They put two on with two out in that seventh inning, but left-hander Rich Hill K’d Jack Hannahan looking to end the threat.

In the ninth, Buck hit a one-out solo homer off of closer Jonathan Papelbon, but that was all they could muster. The 4-2 loss was Boston’s first win over the Tribe in five tries this season.

As they say, you can’t win ‘em all. The Tribe can still take the series with a win this afternoon at 12:05. Its the return of Mitch Talbot (1-0, 1.46 ERA) to the rotation, who hasn’t made a start since April 1tth, when he pitched a complete game in Anaheim. He will be opposed by tough lefty Jon Lester (6-1, 3.68 ERA). Expect to see a classic getaway Tribe lineup featuring the bench bunch – Shelley Duncan,  Adam Everett, Austin Kearns, and Lou Marson.

  • Harv 21

    Josh Beckett is a bad man. A few innings of seeing him work the corners convinces an ump that everything close is a strike.

    Fausto pitched well, but he can be so frustrating to watch because with his size and stuff he’s this close to being dominant. Wish he’d take a Beckett seminar to pick up just a drop of his concentration and badass competitiveness. Or maybe he should just watch Josh Tomlin for that.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Great foresight, TD. Today’s lineup:

    Brantley, A Cab, Choo, Duncan, LaPorta, Kearns, Hannahan, Marson, Everett

  • stin4u

    Last night was a really sloppy game in general, both defensively and on the bases. I hope these guys aren’t getting worn out heading into a tough stretch of games.

  • christopher

    Okay so as positive as we are on winning days I feel i have to let out a few criticsims today.

    1. LaPorta’s “mental mistakes” have hit a breaking point with me this year. His average bat is not making up for the amount of times that I have watched him completely botch a fielding play and now simple baserunning.

    2. Carmona is not a #1 MLB starter. With the depth of our rotation it is currently not hurting us too bad but if we are looking at the playoffs this year and shorten the rotation Carmona doesn’t deserve the #1 spot if he continues not being able to make outs when they count and giving up HUGE innings.

    3. Depending on the outbreak of Carrera and the continued success of Brantley at the leadoff spot I would trade Grady Sizemore come deadline time for either a veteran pitcher or huge first base bat. (ducks as garbage comes flying at his head) His value may never get any higher depending on his continued injuries and the lineup may be able to survive without him. Now I know there are obvious “chemistry” repricussions from this move; but depending on the pickup they may be smoothed over.

    Here’s to hoping to see some sad chowda’ heads this afternoon at the Jake.

    fear. the. tribe.

  • TSR3000

    I really hope that we can pick up a bat or another starter at the trade deadline. Can we be a buyer for once?

  • Steve

    I’m sorry, but LaPorta’s bat has not been “average”. His 133 OPS+ is more than solid, even at 1B. Also, it takes just 6 PAs from Carrera for you to give up on Sizemore? Yes you should be enthusiastic about this time, but that’s a whole new level there.

  • Sam

    When was the last time you saw a quality major leaguer traded for a quality major leaguer? Not saying it can’t happen, but at the deadline there will be buyers and sellers. We’re not going to get what you suggest as no team looking to unload a 1B or P, or any quality MLBer for that matter, would want sizemore….he’s not CHEAP, nor is he locked up for that long. To get that type of player we’d have to trade a prospect. IMO, trades like what youre suggesting happen more in the offseason, and not that often then. Not knocking the idea, just saying it’s tough to match up two “buyers.”

  • Harv 21

    LaPorta is improving, but my prob with him is that he looks more like the guy that we hoped Michael Aubrey would be – a solid line drive hitter – than power guy he was advertised to be. Too much Charlie Lau, not enough Charlie Manuel in his approach so far. If he’s only going to hit .260 – .280, he needs to hit more than 15-20 homers a year. Otherwise, I’ll consider him a big miss in that trade.

  • christopher

    @steve

    LaPorta’s BA is .263 with an OBS of .342 — doesnt blow my socks off to allow him to continue to make the majority of errors on the team. And I am not “giving up on Sizemore”..he’s a veteran player that has value I want to use to aqcuire pieces that are needed. Carrera is regarded as the #1 outfield prospect in all of baseball; I’m going on that vs his 6 plate appearences.

    @Sam

    I agree with you totally in that moves like that are not normally made at deadline time. I did mean to type that the package would need to be Sizemore and a prospect to make it go through for a team looking to unload a salary.

  • Ben

    We trade no one of value to us…We find a way to rip Seattle off at the trade deadline…then we win the whole %^$%*@$ thing.

  • GhostToMost

    Michael Aubrey, wow, I had forgotten about Aubrey.

    Aubrey was a first round pick all the way back in 2003, and to date he has 135 big league at bats.

    I mean when you see guys like Marte get chance after chance, its surprising to me that hes never gotten an extended opportunity in the bigs. Especially as a first round pick.

    As for LaPorta, yeah, hes very frustrating at times. He has the ability to be a very good player, maybe a border line All Star if not an All Star. But the mental gaffes are a bit perplexing. There was a pop up in the infield earlier this year that Santana lost in the sun, and LaPorta just stood there and watched it drop. He got chewed out by Sandy Alomar and a couple other guys in the dugout afterward.

  • Adam

    Another LaPorta mental error just happened. Lobbed the ball to second on what should have been a double play. Only got one out

  • GhostToMost

    @Adam

    Yeah was just going to say the same thing.

    Paging Zach McAllister….

  • oribiasi

    Jesus we are getting smoked by the BoSox.

  • mgbode

    @Sam – Jason Bay for Manny Ramirez???

    that’s the last MLB for MLB I can remember and it involved a 3rd team getting prospects.

    ——————————

    I’m not completely sold on us making a trade because we are ‘solid’ everywhere though we could use an upgrade in a few slots (3B, 2B, 4/5 SP). If Hafner and/or Sizemore become injury concerns, then we need a backup plan there as well. I like Buck, but as a 4th OF, not a starter.

    our trade ‘bait’ I would say is best to be the 4A guys we have that may not have a future with the team. guys like Valbuena, Huff, Donald, and even perhaps Marson and Phelps (if we need them to land a true difference maker). Also, realize that trading them before they can be stolen from our system if they are not apart of our future is apart of this one.

    I’d love to land a Beltran or Reyes rental (Mets selling and they are expiring contracts), but those seem out of reach.

    The Dodgers and Padres should also be selling, so maybe we go for a Maybin or Eithier? Kuroda and Lilly are also in the final years of their deals and could fill-in the backend of the rotation.

  • Adam

    Talbot looks terrible. Dont know if he’s not 100% or what. Looked like he was pitching batting practice. Throwing in the 80s right down the middle of the plate.

  • Garry Owen

    We’re only down by a touchdown and PAT. We’ve got ‘em right where we want ‘em.

  • NJ

    Did people forget how good Sizemore is? He came back from what could have been career ending surgery and hit six homers and like fifty doubles in two weeks (or something). Yes, he’s been injury prone, but this guy is worth the risk. And with his contract the way it is, we won’t get anything worthwhile for him in a deal imo.

    Only thing I’d like to see us trade for is some veteran SP. 2B/3B can be addressed by Kipnis and Chisenhall.

    Freaking Talbot.

  • christopher

    @NJ

    I am actually banking on the fact that people remember how good he is and how he came back earlier this year to make his trade value that much higher.

    Look i know he has a monster deal still left and i am not saying it’s probable; i’m just saying that i see him as a player that packaged with a prospect could yield a veteran SP or big bat first baseman for the playoffs down the road. Especially due to the Carrera’s MLB talent projection.

    If I’m not mistaken Acta is on record saying his best OF is Brantley, Carrera, Choo. (from a defensive standpoint of course)

  • GhostToMost

    Quote:

    “If I’m not mistaken Acta is on record saying his best OF is Brantley, Carrera, Choo. (from a defensive standpoint of course)”

    I wouldnt be opposed to putting Grady at DH when he gets back, anything to put less strain on his knees and keep his bat in the lineup. Nobody on this team has a propensity for XBH’s like Sizemore.

    I think Brantley, at this point, is just as good defensively as Grady if not better. Grady the outfielder has become expendable, Grady the hitter not so much. We still need that bat and I wouldnt move Grady unless were getting something big in return. Whether its a SP, a big bat or even a closer.

    Not that I think they would trade him, but if they did….

  • christopher

    @ Ghost….i’m with you.

    1 – Brantley
    2 – A-Cab
    3 – Choo
    4 – Sizemore
    5 – LaPorta
    6 – Santana
    7 – O-Cab
    8 – Carrera/Buck
    9 – Hannahan

  • Tommy

    @christopher

    Did I just read that wrong or did you just say that Carrera was the #1 outfield prospect in all of baseball?

  • NJ

    @19 – I see it the other way, that teams will be scared away by the injuries which will reflect in what we’d get in return. Assuming that, I’d rather take the chance on Sizemore and see him fail than give him away for some middling player and watch him prosper.

    And like Ghost said, we really can’t give up his bat. As inspiring as these first few months have been, I’m kind of worried about what our offense will look like in the long run. There’s just so many question marks. Going forward, what kind of production can we expect from Acab, Santana, Choo, etc.? When will Hafner be back? What will he be like?

    Sizemore has such an upside at the plate (16 XBH in 84 PA!), I don’t think we can afford dealing him.

  • Adam

    There is no way Sizemore should be traded. Before the major knee injury he was a very durable player and when healthy is one of the best hitters in baseball. The new knee injury was minor and I think more of a precaution putting him on the DL. Not sure where you got that Carrera is the best outfield prospect in baseball but thats gotta be way off

  • christopher

    yeah the Carrera line was that of a sarcastic one…I’M SORRY I FORGOT THE FONT.

    Carrera isn’t even the top OF prospect in the Tribe organization.

  • GhostToMost

    @21

    I like that lineup a lot, the big question is…could Manny talk Grady into hitting somewhere other than lead off?

  • christopher

    @Ghost

    that seems to be the BIGGEST question in regards to Sizemore. I have always read that Sizemore has been adamant in staying in the leadoff spot and that he is not comfortable hitting anywhere else.

    bummer if that is the case.

  • mgbode

    @christopher/ghost – not only leadoff but in CF. he needs to take a queue from Beltran and play LF/DH so he can preserve those knees of his (yes, I am still beating that drum).

    @nj – chisenhall and kipnis are longterm fixes at 2B/3B. I am talking about a fix for this season’s run (Reyes w/ Asdrubel back at 2B for this season or Betemit are possibilities). I’m not sure I want to trust a rookie to be ‘the answer’ for a WS-run (hey, why not despite today’s outing).

  • Harv 21

    There was a farm report last week listing Carrera as the best defensive OF in the org, including the bigs. Was thinking about that when Ortiz’s line drive last night fell at his feet while he was running back to the wall. Have only seen that before in gale force winds. Probably just rookie nerves.

  • mgbode

    @TD (or any other WFNY staffer) – a throwaway line in Jon Heyman’s most recent article caught my eye. What role would the Indians consider for someone of Minaya’s stature? It seems all of the important roles are filled and filled well, so what could we consider him for that he would accept?

    “The Indians and a couple other teams have shown interest in Omar Minaya, who is not being used by the Mets and will surely take a job elsewhere eventually.”

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jon_heyman/05/25/jose.reyes/index.html#ixzz1NOeSd9cD

  • Mallalubba

    Why am I starting to get the feeling that the team has something against Carmona? It seems like when he does enough to win, no one gives him the other components to close the deal. If they weren’t on such a hot streak, I’d probably ignore it. But when they’re winning like they are, games like that are confusing.

  • NJ

    @28 – Fair enough.

    It would depend on the price. If we’re dealing 4A type players like you mentioned, then it isn’t so bad. I just think this club needs to always be planning for the future and not dealing serious prospects for three-month mercs.

    In the case of 2B/3B, I’d like to see what Kipnis/Chisenhall can do at the ML level first. They don’t need to play lights out, more like Asdrubal did in ’07.

  • mgbode

    @NJ – agree completely. the guys I mentioned (outside of Lou) are guys I’m also worried we lose in next year’s rule5 draft as well because we won’t have enough slots on the 40man.