Nobody said beating the Texas Rangers was going to be easy, especially when you have starting pitching that could go either way on any night and a lineup that looks more like a 4A convention than a Major League team. But hey, as GM Chris Antonetti told us two days ago, these guys still have a lot to play for. Especially the young kids who want to have jobs in 2013.
One of those kids is Jeanmar Gomez. It seems like decades ago that Jeanmar Gomez looked like the best Tribe pitcher in Spring Training, running away with the fifth starter job and on his way to a solid April. Then, like so many Indians this season, the wheels just fell right off the wagon. Gomez lost his roster spot to Zach McAllister, was sent to AAA, and hadn’t been heard from since. He received a late August call-up after Roberto Hernandez sprained his ankle and took his spot in the rotation. Last night was Gomez’s third September start and once again, it didn’t really impress anyone.
The Rangers love to jump all over you early if they can. It didn’t take long for them to knock Gomez around. Ian Kinsler led off the bottom of the first with a double. Elvis Andrus followed with a single, adding to an insane 31 game hitting streak against the Indians. Josh Hamilton’s RBI groundout scored Kinsler, and Adrian Beltre’s two-run jack made it 3-0 four batter into the game. At that point, you could have stopped watching. In fact, I’m sure the majority of people who are actually still paying attention to this team probably did.
Hamilton added his 41st homer of the season, a solo blast, in the third adding to the Texas lead. Remember when the Indians had players with Hamilton’s kind of power in their lineup? The Rangers have Beltre, Hamilton, Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz, all with 30 plus home run power. The Indians may end up going the entire season without a guy hitting 20.
Sure, the Wahoos tried to keep themselves in the game, but once again couldn’t string anything together. Do you ever recall a team scoring so many runs via the RBI groundout?
In the top of the fourth, the Tribe loaded the bases with nobody out against Rangers starter Ryan Dempster. OK, here was a real shot to do damage. Lonnie Chisenhall had the first chance, but he struck out. Casey Kotchman was next. He sent a double play ball to the shortstop Andrus who flipped to Kinsler at second. The DP was staved off as Kinsler’s throw was wide of the bag, otherwise the Tribe wouldn’t have scored. Lillibridge K’d to end the inning.
I don’t know what the 2012 Indians have against hitting with the bases loaded, but the futility we’ve watched is staggering.
Gomez gave that one run right back in the bottom of the frame on Geovanny Soto’s sacrifice fly.
The Tribe got their second run in Carlos Santana’s sac fly in the fifth, but again this inning started with two on and nobody out and all they could muster was one run.
Acta turned to David Huff to start the fifth as he had seen enough of Gomez. He’s made three starts and has yet to pitch past the fifth.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Acta. “We really thought Gomez was going to take a step forward this year. We felt it was a very important year for his development.”
Meanwhile Huff, who will be out of options next year, pitched two and two-thirds scoreless and looked good in his second relief appearance. We’ve seen this before from the lefty though. I wouldn’t get to excited. Then again, maybe there is a spot for him as a reliever next year.
“Look, I’d like to start,” said Huff. “I’d like to pitch out of the bullpen. At this point, it’s about being in the big leagues.”
Really, there are so many spots open in this roster for next year, why shouldn’t Huff be considered for one of them? Yes, I really did say that. Bullpens throughout baseball are full of failed starters.
More good news for the Tribe, the 2013 schedule was announced. They start the season on a road trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay before coming home to welcome the Yankees, White Sox, and Red Sox. Lets put it this way – a hot start in 2013 is probably not going to happen.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)