Red Sox 5, Indians 2: Papi & Lester stymie Wahoos for third straight loss

MIchael Brantley

MIchael Brantley

This wasn’t another one that got away, but the Indians once again shot themselves in the foot defensively which directly affected the 5-2 loss in Boston on Thursday night. During their 9-1 hot streak, the gloves weren’t a hot topic of conversation, despite the fact that they led the league in errors and unearned runs. But during this three-game losing skid, they have committed four errors and botched several other key plays that could have changed the games.

It wasn’t going to be an easy task facing the Red Sox ace, Jon Lester. Giving the defending champs, or any team for that matter, extra outs, can be a killer. Take the second inning for example. Mike Napoli sent a routine grounder to Asdrubal Cabrera at short. He fired in the dirt to first baseman Carlos Santana, who failed to make the scoop. It was Cabrera’s 12th error on the season, tops for all Major League shortstops.

Tribe radio play by play man Tom Hamilton put it best right after the error: “I’ve gotta tell ya, Asdrubal Cabrera is playing a very shoddy shortstop right now.” But as Hammy also pointed out “Cabrera needs to make good throws to Santana, because he is not very good at first base either.”

After a Daniel Nava single put runners at the corners, old friend Grady Sizemore laced a line drive to right which went over the head of Ryan Raburn for a ground rule double, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. That is when Tribe starter Josh Tomlin buckled down with assistance from Santana, who was looking to redeem himself. With the bases loaded and nobody out thanks to a walk to David Ross, Jonathon Herrera sent a sharp grounder right to Santana, who fired home to start a 3-2-3 double play. Tomlin came back with a big K of Jackie Bradley Jr. to kill the potential big inning.

“The Little Cowboy” and Lester would trade zeroes until the fifth. Bradley Jr. walked and went to second on Tomlin’s errant pickoff throw, but he retired both Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia, bringing the dangerous David Ortiz to the plate. First base was open and the right-handed hitting Napoli was on deck. The situation called for a possible intentional walk, or at least seeing Tomlin nibble the corners to see if he could get Ortiz to chase one. Instead, he left a fat pitch right over the plate that Big Papi crushed for a two-run bomb.

“There was no thought about walking him,” said Francona. “He was 0-for-10 against Josh. I know what David can do. I’ve seen him do it, but Napoli hit the next ball off the wall. We wanted to get him out.”

Trailing 3-1 against Lester, the Indians could have easily packed it in. Instead, the immediately went to work. Leadoff man Michael Bourn reached when Lester made an error of his own trying to cover first on Bourn’s ground ball. Michael Brantley doubled with one out to put two in socring position for Jason Kipnis. The Tribe’s All Star second baseman has been seeing the ball much better of late, and delivered a two-out, two-run single to make it a game again at 3-2.

Response runs have been a big problem for Indians pitching this season. It was important for Tomlin to deliver a lockdown sixth and he looked on his way when he retired the first two he faced. But Herrera tripled which brought Terry Francona out of the dugout to call for lefty Nick Hagadone to face the next two batters – both left-handed. First was Bradley Jr., who Hagadone walked on four pitches. As Hammy put it after the Bradley Jr. AB: “that’s what will get you sent back to the minors.”

“I thought it was a perfect situation for Hags,” Francona said. “It worked out about as bad as it could. That’s not how we drew it up.”

Next was Holt. Hagadone got ahead 1-2 before Holt worked the count full. He fouled off two pitches and then smacked a liner to left. Brantley looked like he might have a beat on it, but couldn’t make the play. Two Sox scored to stretch their lead back out to three. Hagadone had one job to do, and he failed at it twice. The southpaw has been a tease over these past three seasons riding the I-71 shuttle. In his first two appearances since his recall in early June, Hagadone looked like he had turned the corner. But in his last three appearances, he has only retired one batter, while giving up three hits and two walks.

“I don’t feel the same way,” said Hagadone. “I think that shows. I haven’t gotten anybody out in weeks. It’s obviously not the same.”

Lester pitched into the eighth for his seventh win of the season. Junichi Tazawa retired Santana with one on and two out in the eighth before turning it over to the nearly untouchable Koji Uehara who earned his 14th save.

The Indians, winners of nine of 10, have now lost three straight and are 3-4 on this 10-game road trip. They get back at it tonight with another fun pitching matchup. Francona sends out former Red Sox Justin Masterson (4-4, 4.61 ERA) while Boston counters with John Lackey (7-4, 3.18 ERA)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • MrCleaveland

    When you’re piling up stupid errors on routine plays, to me it’s a sign of laziness and a lack of passion. I think this might be one reason why the fans haven’t bought into the Tribe as much as you might expect.

    If you sail a throw over the first baseman’s head after going hard and charging a bunt, that’s forgivable. When you boot easy plays, it’s not. I hope tolerance for this stuff has not set in.

  • boomhauertjs

    Counting the days to Asdrubal free agency…

  • CB Everett

    I must have said it ten times last year (and I thought it was the last time) but what is that lurch Hagadone doing on this team? He has never had success at this level. When he’s in high leverage positions (which he shouldn’t even be in) he’s gas on the fire. Francona or someone in the brass is memorized by this guy’s arm, and it’s insane.

  • mgbode

    I guess, but it doesn’t appear to be a lack of trying. It just appears to be what happens when you put subpar defensive players all over the field and they feel pressured to make perfect plays because they don’t trust their counterparts either.

    Happens a ton with kids and I think it pertains to adults. Example: during the regular season, I had a couple really great defensive players, but they would often make bad throws when throwing it to the lesser players because they felt if they didn’t hit it right on the target/glove, then it was a wasted throw (so much more pressure to do it). Now, in allstar season, they are completely relaxed as they know everyone can make the plays and have been even better than they were all season.

  • mgbode

    Oh, to be young, tall, and left-handed.

  • mgbode

    Good to be young, tall, and left-handed.

  • Jack

    Nick Thompson Swisher
    Will he ever get a hit?
    Leaves us all stranded

  • CB Everett

    “It just appears to be what happens when you put subpar defensive players all over the field…”

    Plus the team’s obsession with moving guys around to different positions=guys playing out of natural positions. (ala Santana at 3B and 1B, Aviles at 2B, Cabrera at SS). Ok, the last one was a blatant cheap shot.

  • nj0

    That’s a new one for the List of Reasons People Don’t Care For the Indians.

  • nj0

    Outside of Santana at 3B, the VAST majority of errors have been committed by players playing their one-and-only “real” position.

  • TNB

    If its not the Dolans being cheap, its a lack of passion, or a marathon season, or whatever other reason.

    Quite frankly, as much as I think Cleveland is full of passionate people, aside from the unique NFL, which only offers 8 games, unless this team has some huge name players on it or in perennial contention, people arent going to come, and they’ll find any excuse they can.

    This isn’t to try and reignite the debate of the sad state of frontrunning fans, as I know those of us who come to a outlet like this are obviously part of the most invested community, but still. We’re not going to ever really be able to make any real statistical analysis on ‘why’ people dont want to go to the games.

    As for #Cabrerror (#Yes, I follow all you WFNY guys on twitter and please continue to make this a thing) we should’ve shipped him after his ‘great’ season, but hindsight is 20/20. I still think that we shouldnt call up Lindor, however, because then what do you do with ACab? I doubt anyone wants him, for anything worthwhile. Theres a lot more issues with this team than just Cabrera, and rushing along someone who could be our best SS since Omar isn’t the right idea, in my opinion.

  • Jason Hurley

    I was at the game last night, and the impressions I come across with this team are: 1. Hagadone is not a good relief pitcher. 2. Yan Gomes is becoming one of my new favorite players because he actually runs out ground balls. 3. Francona is determined to destroy Lonnie Chisenhall. 4. Nick Swisher is not good at baseball anymore. 5. I hold my breath whenever a ball is hit to an infielder.

  • nj0

    Why the destroy Lonnie?

  • MrCleaveland

    No sale, mg. Come on, they’re pros. Dropping an easy throw while trying to turn a DP shows a lack of concentration, which shows a lack of passion. Yeah, it’s a long grind, as it were. but still . . .

  • MrCleaveland

    If a team is going to continually frustrate you with shoddy play, it’s hard to get behind them.

  • nj0

    I don’t like assuming lack of passion when I don’t see 99% of the work people put in. Maybe ACab could put in more work, I don’t know. Maybe he’s just limited in his physical abilities.

    Just saying: guys who have a lot of passion make errors too. It happens. Lindor has made about as many errors in as about as many attempts. Does he lack passion?

  • nj0

    Unless they’re the Browns.

  • mgbode

    yeah, I don’t get that one either. if Tito wasn’t determined to destroy Lonnie, then would he be hitting over .500 now?

  • mgbode

    Aviles is a utility IF. If he cannot hack it defensively all over the IF, he won’t be in MLB long. It’s a tough gig, but it’s a MLB gig at least.

  • mgbode

    yeah, they’re cruddy defensive pro’s though. you might be correct. maybe they just don’t care.

    but, I just know the easiest way to make an error is to worry about the last one. sometimes that destroys even really good defensive players

    http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view6/2319924/chuck-knoblauch-o.gif

  • nj0

    Maybe because he was on the bench? But he hadn’t had a real day off in like 20+ days.

  • Steve

    A couple bad days, even after a hot streak, and the dogs are back, biting at your heels.

  • nj0

    I’m trying to come up with a good mash between calendar and a player whose contracts we had to wait out. Peraltander? Swishendar? No luck. The Hafner Meter? But it’s not really a meter, is it. Seems like we do a lot of counting down the days.

  • nj0

    What have you done for me lately?

  • CB Everett

    I think I get what you’re saying. It’s hard when they’re not doing the basic, fundamental things right. It’s like going into a doctor’s office, and when he comes in with his Coke-bottled glasses, he trips and drops his pen. Doesn’t inspire much confidence.

  • cmm13

    DOLANZ IZ CHEP, FIRE TITO, TRADE CABRERA, THEY SHOULD HAVE DRAFTED JOHNNY FOOTBALL.

  • MrCleaveland

    Once again, I’m not talking about all errors. I’m not talking about errors that occur when a guy is hustling. I’m not talking about when a good fielder occasionally boots one.

    I’m talking about chronic, completely avoidable errors, such as when a guy (*cough* Cabrera *cough*) repeatedly butchers ROUTINE plays.

  • nj0
  • nj0

    LOL. Grossi seemed legitimately mad that the Indians didn’t draft Manziel. WTF?

  • nj0

    Fair enough. Will file under: agree to disagree.

  • Jason Hurley

    Eh, I shouldn’t have included that one, it was more of an in-joke with my father from the game that I should have filtered out before I posted. The guy is playing really well, and it seems odd to have one of the better hitters on your team sitting in favor of anyone right now. let alone guys hitting barely over .200. I get that Lester is a lefty…but, at this point it doesn’t make a lot of sense to not let Lonnie hit given the other options available.

  • mgbode

    Wait a second. He’s from Akron. I have it on good authority that Akron kids hate all things Cleveland:

    Clevelanders, because they were the bigger-city kids when we were growing up, looked down on us…. So we didn’t actually like Cleveland. We hated Cleveland growing up.