I’m pinch hitting for TD this morning with the weekend Tribe wrap-up. Lucky me, I get to recap three losses!
Despite a strong outing from Danny Salazar, the Indians came up short in their bid to salvage the final game in the weekend series against the Giants.
It was a miserable series for Cleveland’s position players, who were outscored by San Francisco 14-5 over the weekend. In Friday’s game the only players to get a hit were Bourn, Swisher and Kipnis. In the finale on Sunday that list included just Bourn and Gomes. The Yanimal hit the only home run of the series for the Tribe.
The telling stat for the Indians over the weekend? Try 0-for-29. That was the Tribe’s 4,5 and 6 hitters for the weekend. A big giant goose egg for 29. Those hitters were Santana, Brantley and Cabrera. It was really the first rough series for Brantley all season. He’s been very good, and you have to look at the way he was pitched to and see that the Giants decided not to give him anything he could handle. Cabrera and Santana on the other hand have been dreadful and they are bookends for Brantley. No reason to give him anything to hit at all.
Here’s where I go off on Carlos Santana because I have the floor.
That’s it. Ten hits the entire season. Three extra base hits. Three runs batted in. From the clean-up spot.
He’s absolutely killing the Indians right now. Why would you pitch to Kipnis knowing Santana was on deck? Why would you give Brantley anything decent to swing at?
Terry Francona has said that he doesn’t want to move guys all over the line-up. While I am usually on board with that kind of plan, having Santana in the spot designated to drive in runs is insane right now. The best I hope for when he comes up to bat is a walk so that Brantley has a chance to drive in runs, which he has been doing at a top ten pace this season.
The Tribe’s defense continued it’s sub-par play as well. Michael Bourn made a very nice catch on Sunday. He made a running catch in the deepest part of the park with basically his back turned to the plate and making adjustments to the ball as it came down. The few good defensive plays were far out-numbered by the bad or mediocre ones.
It wasn’t really even blatant errors in this series as it was in the series against the Royals. There were just several plays that needed to be made that the Indians just didn’t get to. The big one was in the game on Saturday. Jason Kipnis was shaded towards second base when Hunter Pence hit a ground ball to Kipnis’ left. Kipnis needed to get a glove on the ball, even if he didn’t pop up and make an out. He didn’t and it allowed both the tying and go-ahead runs to score. Jason didn’t dive for the ball. He tried to field it bending over on the run. It was the second consecutive series where the Indians paled in comparison defensively to the team that were matched up against.
That was the big fifth inning that doomed Zach McAllister on Saturday. McAllister was pitching a whale of a game until that fifth. Danny Salazar also pitched a really good game on Sunday, going seven innings and striking out eight. He allowed just one run and wasn’t a part of the decision. He looked a little shaky in the first, but composed himself and had his best start by far this season.
Carlos Carrasco pitched Friday’s game and while it certainly wasn’t his worst start of the year, it wasn’t quite the start the team was looking for from him. He went six innings and gave up four runs. What might be most troubling were comments he made after the game when asked if he was worried his spot in the rotation was in jeopardy.
“Yes, every day,” Carrasco said. “I pitch every five days. I worry every single day.”
I imagine he does worry every day. However, that can’t be good for his pitching. He has no confidence right now.
If you are looking for positives to take away from the series I will offer a couple. First and foremost was the outing by Salazar. It was just what the doctor ordered for the young pitcher. Solid outing in that he battled back several times after falling behind hitters. He managed to get the lead-off hitter out in every inning as well, something that has plagued him all season long.
The other positive would be Michael Bourn. After a one for thirteen start to his season, Bourn is warming up. He had five hits in the weekend series (or for those paying close attention half of Santana’s hit total all year). He saw the ball well, avoiding any strikeouts.
The Tribe travels down the coast to start a series with the Angels today. The Indians are now 11-14, three games behind the Tigers who were washed out yesterday. The Angels are 11-13 and will throw a pair of lefty starters at the Tribe. The Indians are 3-6 when facing a lefty starter this year. Justin Masterson starts tonight against Tyler Skaggs, one of the aforementioned left-handers.