Mariners 4 Indians 3: Poor fundamentals do Tribe in….again

Zack McAllister

Zack McAllisterI stayed up for that? Stop me if you have heard this one before.

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)

  • Natedawg86

    Reynolds is a liabilty at 1B. He had no business making that error that bounced right through him (as his EYES WERE CLOSED) extending the inning. Chis through that ball in the ground, but I can’t remember if reynolds had a shot at it. Either way, Chis dropped a popup to further extend the inning? Catches are 10X harder moving backwards, CALL HIM OFF BRANTLEY! You made it over there in time. Would have been a much easier catch for him. This series really killed them, i hope they can at least manage to come up with a W this afternoon, we need it in the worst way. I don’t know what to do with Reynolds. Does he need a mental break or something? He is playing horendous.

  • Natedawg86

    Stubbs – if you are put in the game to pinch run, please don’t ever do that again. That was embarassing.

  • mgbode

    one thing on Chisenhall. man, he looks confident with the bat in his hands now. gone are the days when he looked lost at the plate AND on the field. it makes me at least hope that is the product of hard work and that he can improve on his fielding (as I assume he’s been concentrating on improving at the plate).

  • mgbode

    these two series to start the “2nd half” are about as frustrating as it gets. losing a bunch of easily winnable games by 1 run to under .500 clubs when you are gifting them runs and leaving yours stranded (or running into outs) is ridiculous.

  • boomhauertjs

    A trade for Kendrys Morales and a DFA for Reynolds is sounding really good right about now…

  • bupalos

    Hidden by all the overblown overexcitement over overrated Tito is the fact that this team has had poor fundamentals all year. Bad base running has been partially covered by the excellent team speed, but it’s been pretty poor as far as taking bases on outs. There’s still a fair amount of baseball to be played, but I honestly don’t remember a team that was so poor at converting chalk to runs. It’s to the point where you almost feel like a guy on second and third and nobody out is the kiss of death.

    Go back over the last 3 weeks and convert the tribe’s chalk to runs at a mediocre rate and we’re 1.5 games up on Detroit. We should have gotten an NL manager for this team. Tito’s more suited to a club like Detroit.

  • mgbode

    “overblown overexcitement over overrated”

    so you are saying the team is UNDERperforming :)

  • bupalos

    The only thing that feels new about this is that the games have been close and so the bad fundamentals are catching up to us. I’m glad guys like Swisher and Giambi enjoy themselves more with a guy like Tito, but I can’t help question whether he’s the guy for a lineup that in reality is largely built on youth and speed.

  • bupalos

    I’ll stick up for Reynolds a little in the field at least. He’s made a few surprisingly nice plays over the last few weeks even averaging in that hideous botch, he hasn’t been as bad there as you would expect. A total 0 at the plate though makes me question whether you can play him any longer.

  • bupalos

    Chisenhall is a mystery to me just because I can’t remember a pro player with that body type being that clumsy and looking that uncomfortable.

    The lefty at bats still aren’t looking too good either. But then there’s this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXDamfaQqBE

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Is it a streak now?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    He made a nice baserunning move advancing to third on the Chisenhall bouncer up the middle then completely lost it the next hitter.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Flag: Excessive use of the word over. 5 yard penalty repeat first down.

  • mgbode

    not sure how much to place on the manager for these things. and, even if you can, then you still have to give him credit for getting these guys to sign here (all mentioned as a big reason), not to mention the work his staff has done with the pitchers.

  • mgbode

    he’s 24yo. I think plenty of players would look that uncomfortable but most don’t get the chance. that’s why I’m so positive on his advances at the plate. if he can get that squared away (after looking so lost last year and earlier this year), then there is hope for his defense too.

  • ToxicToast

    Before we crucify Francona for poor execution in areas like fielding and baserunning, it’s worth remembering how much it has improved over the last few years.

  • ToxicToast

    Asdrubal’s trade value has been discussed at length should the Tribe decide to “sell.” But if Kazmir has another good outing today he could prove to be a valuable asset too. With Garza off the market, Kazmir would probably be the best available rental pitcher out there.

  • Natedawg86

    I notice a little less white in the knuckles lately when he is batting.

  • Natedawg86

    I am not too worried either. I must admit I was a little scared when heard the rumor about Chiz/Garza…

  • Natedawg86

    Would have been interesting to see what would have happened at the plate had he went all out. Could have been a run scored and a runner on 2 or 3…

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Could have but I’m surprised he broke towards home at all given how close he was to 3b when the ball was fielded.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    That would mean the Indians are selling. I don’t think they can afford that kind of message. Besides that Kazmir is lucky to throw 100 pitches and last 6 innings. I don’t think there is much demand for those kinds of starters now.

  • nj0

    Something to smile about today: Lindor is eating up AA ball.

  • nj0

    There’s always demand for starting pitching. Bud Norris is drawing a lot of attention now.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea the Indians could use another SP other then Masterson who pitches more then six innings. mgbdode and I talked about Norris over a month ago.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Wish he was a half year more along that way Cabrera could be moved. Baltimore has upgraded their pitching first Feldman and now Rodriguez as setup for Johnson.

  • nj0

    I’m sure he’ll be ready to go just when the production of Swisher and Bourn bottom out and their contracts become a burden.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Swisher probably so some might say this season he’s already bottomed out. I still like Bourn I think he’ll provide enough over his deal although I’d like to start seeing him be a little more aggressive on the basepaths.

  • nj0

    I’m not convinced Swisher has been all that healthy this year. And he hasn’t been that bad. Not as good as advertised though.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Bourn with a nice drag bunt leadoff base hit. Swisher walk.

    But yea you could be right on Swisher’s health plus he just had his first child. Hopefully he picks it up because the offense could use him.

  • nj0

    Nice 1st. If Bourn and Swisher play the rest of the year like I hope they can, I don’t see why a wild card isn’t a possibility. Or the division if Detroit continues to stumble.

  • nj0

    Mark Reynolds makes me miss Matt Laporta.

  • mgbode

    and I didn’t even realize we had a day game until you posted this. thank you (and yes, it’s in the above article, but it somehow didn’t register)

  • nj0

    Get away game! Then an off day to mentally prepare for having to deal with Texans.

  • mgbode

    gotta love that when we have a “must win” game that we show up and make sure to win it. but, it sure would have been nice to get some of these runs sprinkled across the last few games (same thing happened in Minny with that 7-1 win)