The Indians handed a game away they should of won because of poor defense and a lack of clutch hitting. You can throw in bad base running to this 4-3 loss to Seattle as the Tribe can’t seem to get out of their own way since the All-Star break.
Lets change course and start in the ninth inning, with the Indians down one. Much maligned Mark Reynolds broke a 3-42 slump with a leadoff single against closer Tom Wilhelmsen. He was immediately replaced by pinch runner Drew Stubbs. Lonnie Chisenhall, another one the Tribe’s current question marks, did not bunt, but instead came through with a single right up the middle. The speedy Stubbs advanced to third and the Indians looked like at a minimum, they would tie things up. Mike Aviles came on to run for Chisenhall. Yan Gomes, already with two hits, hit a ground ball to Kyle Seager at third. He looked Stubbs back to third and threw across to second to get Aviles. The problem was for some odd reason, Stubbs took off for home and then completely stopped halfway down the line. He was eventually tagged out, killing the Indians comeback attempt right there.
It was just a horrific decision by Stubbs.
“Without a doubt, I hesitated and it cost us,” said Stubbs. “As soon as he went to second, I should have gone. I think I would have scored.”
The Indians last chance was Michael Bourn, who struck out to end the game. The thing is, they should have never been in this situation to begin with.
Zach McAllister was making his first start since the beginning of June and must have felt like his defense was playing a welcome back prank on him. With the Tribe leading 1-0 in the first inning thanks to an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single, McAllister watched as his defense did their best Little League impression. With two out and a man on first, Kendrys Morales hit a sure out grounder right to Jason Kipnis at second and he booted it. The next batter was Seager who hit a hard one hopper right at Reynolds at first. Big Mark did his best Roger Dorn impression, ole style, letting the ball completely get by him instead of putting his body in front of it. Seager was given a generous RBI double as Nick Franklin scored. It should have been ruled an error. Before being retired to end the inning, Justin Smoak hit a pop fly to foul ground, which was dropped by Chisenhall for another error.
So if you are scoring at home, McAllister essentially needed to record six outs in the first inning. A five and fly became inevitable.
Gomes put the Indians back ahead in the second, crushing an upper-deck, two-run home to left against Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez. But then, once again, the Wahoo scoring just stopped. But the Mariners kept at it. They didn’t score in the bottom of the second, but Chisenhall made another error, this one of the throwing variety. That is now four he has made since the break.
Seattle got to McAllister in the third. Raul Ibanez and Morales connected on back to back doubles to start the inning. Seager singled, but Morales was thrown out at home on a great block of the plate by Gomes. After Smoak struck out for the key second out, it looked like McAllister may wiggle out of the jam without giving up the lead. However, Saunders doubled, moving Seager to third. Seager would tie the game, coming home on a wild pitch. Seattle then took the lead on a Mike Zunino RBI single. Too many McAllister’s pitches in the third were up. He clearly looked a tad rusty, but managed to get through five innings, no thanks to his defense.
“He kept his composure,” Francona said. “First time back, hadn’t pitched in a while, and we’re making him throw a lot of pitches. So, I thought he did a pretty good job.”
The offense had plenty of opportunities to get back at Ramirez and the Seattle pen, but again they failed to scratch anything across. They put their leadoff man aboard in the fifth on a Nick Swisher bloop single, but he was quickly erased on a Kipnis double play. Michael Brantley led off the sixth by singling off of Ramirez, but he too went nowhere as Carlos Santana grounded into a double play of his own. Gomes started the seventh with an infield single but never got past first base.
You already know what happened in the ninth.
“Obviously, we need to win tomorrow,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “But we need to get back home, get out there and get some early work in, because we’re not catching the ball very well.”
The defense certainly isn’t helping matters, but the offense continues to be the real issue. The Indians have lost four of five to Minnesota and Seattle, but the scores of 3-2, 3-2, 2-1, and 4-3. The Tigers won again in Chicago 6-2 and the Wahoos lost another game of ground in the AL Central race.
“We can’t worry about the Tigers,” said Stubbs. “We just have to play our game. If this team plays the way it’s capable of doing, we’ll be just fine at the end.”
This was as frustrating a loss as we have seen all season, and there have been some doozies of late. The good news is that they get right back on the field this afternoon at 3:35 EST. The Mariners have now won eight in a row and go for the sweep sending lefty Joe Saunders (9-8, 4.28 ERA) to the mound. The Indians will send their own left-hander, Scott Kazmir (5-4, 4.30 ERA) to stop the mini two-game skid.
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)