David Price is a great young pitcher. He is left-handed. He entered the game 4-0 with a 2.01 ERA in five career starts against the Indians. The Tribe is not exactly what you would call an offensive juggernaut. Left-handed pitchers have little trouble with them. It was a getaway day. Aaron Cunningham was in the starting lineup.
You do the math.
“That’s why I felt that (Wednesday’s) win was so important for us, because you really don’t want come into the last game of the series trying to tie the series against David Price,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He overpowered us. We just didn’t have good at-bats against him.”
That was the understatement of the year. Price completely dominated the Indians “right-handed” lineup four seven innings. He allowed just two hits, walked three, and struck out seven. Any time Price put a runner on, the Wahoos couldn’t do anything with it.
Their only real threat against Price came in the fifth. Trailing 1-0, Price walked Carlos Santana and gave up a single to Jose Lopez to open the inning. It seemed as if the Tribe was in business. After Shelley Duncan failed to move the runners up (he struck out), Lou Marson had his shot. On a 1-1 pitch, Santana and Lopez – not exactly Ricky Henderson and Vince Coleman – took off on a hit and run. Marson swung and missed and Santana was gunned out at third for the second out. Lopez eventually ended up on third after a wild pitch and Marson would walk. The problem was there were two on and two out for Aaron Cunningham.
What did you think was going to happen?
Cunningham weakly popped out to center field.
After another pathetic 0-fer with the bat, Cunningham is hitting .183/.255/.513
While we are on the subject of the Indians late inning defensive replacement, one of my Twitter followers (@exiledclevelndr) pointed out to me after the game that the Tribe is now 7-13 in games Cunningham starts and 40-32 when he doesn’t (correlation is also with facing lefty starters). In those 20 starts, the Indians offense only scored five or more runs four times (20%). In the other 72 games did it 34 times (47%). Call it beating a dead horse, but there has to be something better than Cunningham out there for this team. He continues to stay on this team only because he can play center field and hits right-handed.
Rick Ankiel was just designated for assignment by the Washington Nationals. His bat may not be great, but it is certainly better than Cunningham’s as is his track record. Ankiel can also play center and he has a rifle for an arm. Darnell McDonald is out there. As is Brent Lillibridge. Both of those players were DFA’d in the last week as well and can do what Cunningham can do.
After his last at-bat where he grounded out to the pitcher, Cunningham attempted to break his bat over his knee. He failed! That at-bat and subsequent reaction essentially sums him up.
See this is what a 6-0 blowout will do to my recap. It gets overtaken by talk of the 25th man on the team.
But I digress.
Ubaldo Jimenez got the start for the Tribe and was looking to bounce back after his horrific start in Toronto where he didn’t make it out of the third. While he put runners on in each of the first five innings, Ubaldo allowed just one run – a Luke Scott solo homer in the third. He retired the first two Rays in the sixth, but then the wheels came off when he hit Desmond Jennings. Jose Molina followed with a single. Ubaldo then walked the light-hitting Sean Rodriguez to load the bases. With the lefty Carlos Pena on deck, Scott Barnes warming in the pen, and the right-handed B.J. Upton coming to the plate, it was obvious that this would be the last batter Ubaldo would face.
Upton took Jimenez’s 0-1 pitch down the third base line for a bases-clearing, back-breaking double. And that, my friends, was the ballgame.
“I thought Ubaldo battled well for us,” Acta said. “He gave us five innings for us to do something, to score runs, and we couldn’t do it. And in that [sixth] inning, it’s too bad, because he couldn’t come out of there with a very good outing.”
The Rays added two more insurance runs which weren’t even needed with the way Price was dealing. One of them came off of the lefty Barnes, who you most likely have seen the last of for a while. Rafael Perez is due back in the next week to ten days if he responds well to his rehab outings. In addition, Barnes just hasn’t looked good in his seven appearance stint.
It hasn’t been officially announced yet, but right-hander Cody Allen will be recalled from Columbus. The strikeout machine started the season in A ball and has made it all the way to the majors, rifling through three levels of the minors. Allen has 53 K’s in 43.1 IP this season and has a 1.87 ERA in 31 games. He will most likely be here until Raffy Perez is ready.
The Tribe returns home after a 3-4 road trip for a four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles. Derek Lowe (8-7, 4.43 ERA) gets the ball for the Indians. He will be faced by right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 2.59 ERA).