It’s rare these days for the Indians to put 7 runs up on the board and get 15 hits in one game. They accomplished this last night but unfortunately Mitch Talbot was on the mound. He gave up 8 earned runs in just 5 and a third innings pitched last night. He continues to put the Indians in a hole early in games – last night giving up 3 in the 2nd inning. Mitch is not long for this rotation and last night may have been the final straw – he’s 1-6 with a 7.63 ERA in 9 starts since the end of May.
With the mix of starters on the DL and a couple guys in Columbus holding their own, the Indians will have a couple rotation questions coming out of the All Star Break. After the game, Manny Acta sounded like a guy who had lost his confidence in and patience with Talbot, stating,
“He’s scuffling, so we’re going to have to look into that. We’re not going to overreact, but we’ve got to look into things. It’s been 31/2 months of baseball. We have to do what’s best for our team and look at all our options.”
Mitch can’t like the sound of that.
While the Indians put 7 on the board, they failed to capitalize on one opportunity after another against Jays starter Jo-Jo Reyes. Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera got on base a combined 8 times last night. They scored only 2 runs.
With Carlos Santana getting some rest, the 3-4-5 spots were comprised of Travis Hafner, Shelley Duncan, and Orlando Cabrera. Hafner went 0 for 5 – it killed them in a couple key situations with RISP but after the heroics of the night before, it’s hard to crush him for it. Shelley Duncan is what he is – a platoon guy and pinch hitter, not a cleanup hitter.
And then there’s Orlando Cabrera. He went 0 for 4 with two pathetic ground outs and two foul outs – perhaps the most useless at bats imaginable. His automatic outs started innings, ended innings, and blunted rallies in the middle of innings.
The 8-9-1-2 hitters in the lineup were consistently getting on base (it’s hard to imagine getting 5 hits out of Jack Hannahan and Lou Marson and losing the game) and the middle of the order failed to get them in. Only in the 8th, with Travis Buck hitting for Duncan, did they come through with a clutch hit – a double knocking in two and cutting the Jays lead to 3. However, Cabrera immediately fouled out to wound the rally and Matt LaPorta promptly killed it.
The Tribe bullpen is also leaking oil heading into the break. Vinnie Pestano and Tony Sipp could use the rest. After the Indians made thing interesting in the 8th, Pestano subsequently gave up 2 in the top the 9th to push the lead back to 5 and put any hopes of another 9th inning rally off the Jays putrid bullpen out of reach.
With the Tigers win, the Indians are now only a half game up in the Central. Josh Tomlin toes the rubber for the Indians tonight while the Jays will counter with Brandon Morrow.