This one wasn’t pretty.
There are really two stories coming out of Cleveland’s 7-4 loss against the Yankees. The biggest will likely be the sprained quad suffered by Asdrubal Cabrera running to first in the fifth inning.
Asdrubal has been nursing a sore right quad for weeks, choosing to try and play through the discomfort. Half-way down the line in the fifth, Cabrera stumbled and winced as he re-injured that quad. He nearly plowed into the first baseman Mark Teixeira going past the bag. He was helped off the field by manager Terry Francona and Lonnie Soloff. He was not able to put weight on the right leg walking back to the dugout.
The initial diagnosis is a sprained quad, but of course they will do tests to see if there is further damage. I think the consensus of everyone watching was that the injury will likely be more severe.
Even with the nagging injury and a very slow start, Cabrera was hitting .256 for the season with a .757 OPS, 5 HR and 25 RBI.
Fortunately for the Indians, they have a very capable back-up in Mike Aviles. In 38 games, Aviles is hitting .275 with a .728 OPS. He has a good glove and range as well. Where this injury hurts the team is at third base, where they will likely lose Aviles’ glove and have to play Mark Reynolds and possibly Lonnie Chisenhall as a two man platoon instead.
The other story of the game was Justin Masterson. Usually, when Justin is the storyline that is a good thing. Especially this year. And especially against the Yankees. Going into the game, Masterson had the lowest ERA (1.94) of any pitcher against the Yankees since 2009. That’s better than King Felix and Justin Verlander.
Monday night was just not Masterson’s night.
It started off well. It wasn’t until the third inning that the Yankees got a hit off Masterson. That hit came from Reid Brignac. Yes, Brignac and his .217 average. It was followed by a single from Austin Romine. He of the .159 average. Masterson gave up key hits to the #8 and 9 hitters to lead off the inning, but the biggest mistake in the inning may have been walking the next man Brett Gardner on four straight low sinkers.
That would bring up Robinson Cano, who grounded to Swisher at first. Nick threw home and got the lead runner. One out. Masterson was a sinker hit into a double play away from getting out of the inning. Unfortunately for the Indians, Masterson’s first pitch to Teixeira was belt high and right in the middle of the plate. Teixeira lined it over the wall in the short porch in right field. Grand slam.
The Indians would climb back into the game. In the fifth inning, Cleveland’s speed was on display. A Stubbs double led off the inning, and then Michael Bourn sprinted out an infield single on a grounder to first base. Most mortals would have been tagged out, but Teixeira could get only air on his swipe tag attempt. Stubbs moved to third. Mike Aviles hit a pop fly to very shallow center, where Robinson Cano was able to catch it about 45 feet from second base maybe. He didn’t get to camp under the ball for a quick release and strong throw however, and Drew Stubbs took advantage by tagging up and sliding in ahead of the tag. On a pop up behind second. As the broadcast crew exclaimed, it has indeed been a long time since the line-up has had this kind of speed.
Following Cabrera’s injury, Swisher and Reynolds would walk, as Pettitte was suddenly unable to find the strike zone. Up came Carlos Santana with two outs and bases loaded. Santana lined a 3-2 pitch past third base and up into the stands for a ground rule double. The Indians tied the game at 4.
Everything fell apart for Masterson again in the 6th. With two down and Ichiro on third, Masterson again elevated a sinker that Romine would send to centerfield scoring Suzuki. After a stolen base, Brett Gardner singled up the middle, and then Masterson had a brain fart and cut-off the throw home from Michael Bourn. It looked like Bourn’s throw had a pretty good chance to cut down Romine. The damage was done, and the Tribe trailed 6-4.
The Indians offense meanwhile sputtered once they chased Pettitte from the game. In 4.1 innings, the Indians managed just one hit off the Yankees’ pen, one of the worst statistically in the AL.
Old friend Travis Hafner homered off Masterson in the seventh to close out the scoring. Yankees 7, Indians 4.
The questions following this one will be how severe is Asdrubal’s injury is and how long he will miss. Odds are that Lonnie Chisenhall, who is hitting again for the Columbus Clippers will likely get the call up if Asdrubal hits the DL.