The only good news about last night’s Tribe loss in Anaheim is that most of you probably missed it. Those West Coast games are tough. Thank goodness for the MLB App’s condensed game functions. I was able to watch the Indians’ fourth straight loss twice in 20 minutes. Even after the second viewing, the Tribe still dropped their fourth straight game on the trip, this time to the Angels 6-3. So, where did it all go wrong?
Some familiar themes appeared for Tribe fans. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Tyler Skaggs, a young left-handed pitcher, was mostly giving the Tribe fits. If not for a three-hitter stretch in the fourth inning that saw the Indians put up a three spot, Skaggs was pretty dominating. His line in the box score isn’t overly gaudy, but the tape reveals some really bad swings for Tribe hitters. After a Swisher double and a Kipnis walk, Skaggs made one big error a little bit up in the zone and Carlos Santana blasted it over the fence to make it 3-1 Tribe.
Justin Masterson looked like he was rolling along fine for most of the night too. He had some of his typical nasty stuff, but just couldn’t deliver it with enough consistency. When Masterson makes hitters look bad, he really is capable of making them look silly. Unfortunately, he made too many mistakes against a stacked Angels lineup. The first four hitters, Aybar, Trout, Pujols and Ibanez accounted for all the RBI in last night’s game.
In the fifth inning, the Angels tied it up at three. Masterson walked Ian Stewart, gave up a single and a sacrifice bunt putting men on second and third with one down. He was able to come back and strike out J.B. Shuck swinging and it looked like Masterson might just be able to get out of it. He made a decent pitch inside to Erick Aybar that was probably just a bit up in the zone and Aybar squirted it down the first base line scoring two and tying the game up at three.
I don’t even want to talk about the rest, but I kind of have to. In the bottom of the eighth, Nick Swisher committed an error on a grounder to first. Swisher moved inside as Masterson sprinted over to cover. Masterson was there, but Swisher didn’t ever pick the ball up and get it to him. After a sac bunt and a Mike Trout single, the Angels had the lead and the Indians seemed to lose the will to win. The Angels poured it on from there with a Raul Ibanez triple.
To add insult to injury, the Indians weren’t able to come back in the ninth against former Tribe reliever Joe Smith. They beat the ball around the yard on their former teammate a bit, but they weren’t able to muster even one run against him.
The Tribe was recently 0.500 in the standings and seemingly headed in the right direction, but a quick plane ride has fixed that. The Indians have lost four straight after getting swept by the San Francisco Giants. It’s up to Corey Kluber to try and change the momentum for the Tribe. There’s nobody you’d rather have than Kluber right now anyway. His last outing was a complete game, 11 strikeout gem against the Kansas City Royals.