Santana bombs, but Swisher’s boot buries Tribe 6-3

Carlos Santana - Dejak AP

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.

 

  • boomhauertjs

    I’ve been trying not to join the pile on Swisher, but the errors are getting ridiculous. Maybe give Lonnie 3B, Santana 1B, and Swisher DH to get his head straight.
    I pretty much gave up on this team several times last year, so I’m hesitant to do so again, but they haven’t had too many games where there’s a been a solid performance by the pitching, defense, and hitting together. It makes me wonder whether they’re not going to ever be a good team this year.

  • Adam Copeland

    The Indians are a hard team to root for, because in many of these games it feels like they’re just beating themselves. This recap omits how the Angels got their first run, when Mike Trout scored on a ground out after he got a “triple” when Bourn misplayed a fairly routine single to center and let it get past him. It seems like nearly every game the Indians have at least a couple of defensive brain farts that come back to haunt them and last night was no different.

    While the Indians slumbering bats and their horrific defense were the main culprits for last night’s loss (as they’ve been in too many this year), I also thought that Tito’s management of the 8th left something to be desired. With a runner on second and Trout at the plate, I would’ve preferred walking Trout (who ended up hitting the go ahead single) and taking my chances with Puljols. Walking Trout also sets up a potential double play situation, with a slower Puljols trying to beat out a grounder. But then, after Trout singles (and moves to 2nd on the throw to the plate), Tito walks Puljols but then keeps Masterson in to face the next hitter instead of going to his pen. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  • CB Everett

    The baseball nerds may accuse me of panicking and regurgitating the yearly “it’s only April” mantra, but I’m in the same boat as you. I don’t want to give up, but I’m not seeing any real signs of life. They’re just playing such bad baseball (poor situational hitting, porous defense, terrible outings from the bottom half of the rotation, a shaky ace, terrible production from the 1-4 hitters, blah blah blah)–and beyond all of that, just an overall lack of heart or sense of urgency.

  • Harv 21

    Turned on the game for just 10 minutes and in that span saw Bourn go little league on the Trout triple (how does a 2 time gold glove CF have A-ball level instincts there?) and Aviles nonchalant an out into an infield hit. Knew we were going to lose this game.

    I’ve been one saying it’s early but … so many reliable veteran fielders seem to have their heads elsewhere that I hope Tito didn’t set too much of the “I love you Man” tone for veterans in spring training. Maybe instead of “unfinished business” the battle cry should have been “every spring the rock starts at the bottom of the hill, lower your shoulders.” This is getting ridiculous and painful to watch.

  • mgbode

    the defense has gotten to a point where it’s almost just expected that it is going to cost us runs every game. even when we were ahead last night, it didn’t feel like we had the game. very frustrating. yes, it is early, but it is just a deeper hole we will have to dig out from under if we don’t fix things soon.

    I am glad that we are putting Carrasco in the pen. That is a good first step.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Lonnie at third, Santana at first and Swisher to DH is exactly what I asked for over a week ago. Of course I also asked that Carrasco be moved to the bullpen once and for all but what do I know.

  • Steve

    “baseball nerds”

    Yup.

  • Steve

    I know the fans always want to see a player ride the pine when he has a tough stretch, but is that really the best way to help Swisher get his act together in the field?

    I’d rather go the Dorn route, and keep giving him reps until he’s embarrassed by his own performance.

  • Natedawg86

    Jack

  • CB Everett

    That is also a step in closing the book on the Cliff Lee trade. Knapp, Donald, and now Carrasco:( Ah well, time to move on to Bauer time. That too will not be a boring ride.

  • mgbode

    the problem is that Swisher is the guy at the top of the hill in charge of stopping the rock

    http://lpc1.clpccd.cc.ca.us/lpc/harpell/images/fallmass.gif

  • mgbode

    he’s not embarrassed yet?

    maybe Francona could place a couple paper bags in the locker room with eye holes poked out and write on them “To be worn on anytime the ball travels towards 1B”

    that is too harsh, but still.

  • Steve

    Hopefully he is. But I think that’s the best route. He’s the best defensive 1B in the system when he plays like he should be able to. That’s not saying a whole lot, but I think it’s like continuing to bat Santana at cleanup. Trust your guys to come around.

  • nj0

    Better yet, make him wear this.

    http://cdn1.mden.com/AD910.JPG

  • nj0

    I wouldn’t want to sit him down for a long stretch, but I do feel like some sort of message has to be sent to the club that nobody’s name is written in pen on the lineup card.

  • nj0

    It is only April though. But losses in April count the same as losses in September. I preach patience simply because there – as poorly as things have gone – I think we have the best team on the field that we can possibly have (especially now that Carrasco has been demoted). We just have to ride things out and hope that these guys play through their troubles.

  • Steve

    Alright, I’l buy a sitdown. But like we saw with Santana last night, your vets are going to break out and play well, and you can’t be screwing around sitting them for lesser players.

  • nj0

    True, but I can’t help but feel that some sort of message needs to be sent. Maybe a benching isn’t the right way to do it. I just can’t shake the sense that some of these struggles come from lack of focus (Swisher) rather than the kinds that are just naturally parts of the game (Santana).

    I’m a numbers guy and all, but even I know that sometimes guys need to be motivated over 162 games. Hopefully Francona can figure out how to do that cause it sure feels like we need it.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Me Hoff?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I said this over a week ago too! Ya’ll just don’t listen to the mighty $hamdaddy.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Back to back trades of Cy Young pitchers and all you basically got was Michael Brantley. Phew, good thing the people in charge back then are no longer around right?

  • mgbode

    every game he makes an error that is his postgame attire.

  • CB Everett

    Not true. We have Matt Laporta…I think in the Mexican leagues.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The baseball season is indeed a marathon and not a sprint the problem is I thought last season was a fluke which is why I was in no way riding high with the team as it entered spring training. The fact that in the winter the big moves were David Murphy, John Axford and um Josh Outman didn’t help. I really had hoped the organization would finally live up to the “we’ll spend when we contend” line they constantly regurgitated all those years ago. Now I realize they justify that line by saying they signed Bourn and Swisher and extended Brantley, Kipnis and Gomes. All true. The thing is they signed Bourn when Bourn found himself without a team basically. Still they did sign him. Swisher on the other hand was the flash and pizazz for as much as he can be counted as being that for me. They sought him out they wined, dined and dazzled him and he signed. Neither he nor Bourn would have ever been signed had the Dolan’s not sold STO. So does this make me so amazed at these two signings? No. But at least they did something. Now fast forward to this season. They only marginally improved the roster with the FA additions they made but they did extend Brantley, Kipnis and Gomes. The first two were obvious no-brainers especially Kipnis who is the best player on the team. I think they rushed on Gomes as I’m not sold on him. They let Ubaldo and Kazmir go I don’t fault them the financials for these two were out of their ballpark. But now you have the Masterson saga and lets not forget Cabrera.

    But I’ll be patient!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Matt Carmona Hernandez? With the last name LaPorta shouldn’t he being playing in Canada or maybe France?

  • nj0

    There wasn’t any real market for Swisher either. Not sure that changes your point.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    No I agree which doesn’t make me feel any better.