Covering the Bases: Game 50

Final:

Royals 6, Indians 3

FIRST: The Indians’ latest tumble to second place is not on the offense. This recent slide is on the starting rotation. The offense, even throughout all the injuries of late, has held up its end of things for the most part.

In Wednesday’s loss, Cleveland received another subpar performance from its starter and the result was a second straight series loss against a division rival. Following a sweep of the Tigers, the Tribe has been swept on the road by the White Sox and has now dropped two of three to Kansas City at home.

Jeanmar Gomez was the latest to turn in a forgettable outing. The right-hander allowed five runs on 10 hits over five innings. Over his past two outings, Gomez has surrendered 11 earned runs across 10.2 innings. Gomez is only part of what has been an ongoing problem, though.

Here is the output by Cleveland’s rotation over the past six games:

May 30: 5 IP, 5 ER, 10 H (Gomez, loss)
May 29: 6 IP, 7 ER, 9 H (Justin Masterson, loss)
May 28: 5 IP, 4 ER, 4 H (Josh Tomlin, win)
May 27: 4 IP, 7 ER, 7 H (Ubaldo Jimenez, loss)
May 26: 2.1 IP, 8 ER, 10 H (Derek Lowe, loss)
May 25: 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 H (Gomez, loss)

Totals: 1-5, 11.89 ERA (37 ER/28 IP) with 46 hits allowed

“It was like everybody was bit by the same bug this last week,” Indians manager Manny Acta said.

In the 10 games prior to the recent six-game slide, Indians starters combined to go 5-1 with a 2.31 ERA (17 ER/68.1 IP) and 50 hits allowed.

Cleveland can’t survive atop the American League Central, or in a postseason setting for that matter, if its rotation isn’t consistently eating innings and holding the opposition in check. Now, a 2.31 ERA over a long stretch isn’t realistic. Neither is an 11.89 ERA, though.

Some consistency with the quality starts is what the Tribe needs.

“The pitching sets the tone,” Acta said. “Right now we’re not setting the tone very well.”

SECOND: Johnny Damon (hitting .171) served as the designated hitter for the Indians on Wednesday. Other options while Travis Hafner is sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks consist of Shelley Duncan (.204), Jose Lopez (.256) and Lonnie Chisenhall (promoted from Triple-A on Monday).

Could help be on the way from the Minors?

“Everybody on the Triple-A roster is an option,” Acta said.

Well, we know that’s not entirely true. The top two candidates for promotion would seem to be right-handed hitters Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler. Both have experience at first base, left field and DH. Of the two, LaPorta is having the better season.

A lot of Indians fans have taken to Twitter and my inbox crying for LaPorta to be called up already. After all, he is hitting .304 with 13 homers and 30 RBIs through 44 games. He’s also hit .321 against left-handed pitching. Might he be on the way? It’s possible, sure. Acta said the team would go over in-house options on Thursday’s off-day.

Keep something in mind, though. LaPorta has always hit Minor League pitching well. It’s the jump to the big leagues that has typically presented the issue. It’s also fair to point out that LaPorta’s season stats are heavily influenced by a strong April showing at home.

Consider that LaPorta was hitting .228 (18-for-79) with a .794 OPS in May and .236 (17-for-72) with a .665 OPS on the road, entering Wednesday.

THIRD: The Indians stole three more bases in Wednesday’s game, giving them 42 on the season. Through 50 games last year, Cleveland had 29 stolen bases. It’s all in an effort to try to create as much offense as possible. The Tribe has turned 19 of their 42 stolen bases (45.2%) into runs. Jason Kipnis stole two bases on Wednesday, giving him a team-leading 11 thefts on the year.

HOME: Cleveland had a great chance at a comeback in the ninth inning. With one out, K.C. closer Jonathan Broxton lost his command and quickly found himself in a bases-loaded jam. Shin-Soo Choo walked, Kipnis singled and Asdrubal Cabrera drew a free pass to set up a potentially game-changing situation.

That was until Jose Lopez hacked at the first pitch and grounded into a game-ending double play.

“Jose was trying to ambush them there on the first pitch,” Acta said. “It was just a poor swing. The ball ate him up.”

Lopez said he was looking for a fastball and he got one. The problem was it was too high in the zone and he went after it anyway. At least Lopez owned up to it and admitted he should have taken the pitch.

Said Broxton: “I just wasn’t getting the ball over the plate. I was missing by a good bit. It wasn’t even close and luckily he swung at it right there.”

On deck:

Twins (18-32) at Indians (27-23)
at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday at Progressive Field

NOTE: Covering the Bases will return on Sunday. I’m off Friday and Saturday, so make sure you are following Justin Albers (@Justin_Albers) on Twitter and checking Indians.com for updates in my absence.

–JB

6 Comments

Pingback: While We’re Waiting… Cavaliers picking fourth, Chisenhall staying and LaPorta struggling | WaitingForNextYear

NO exciting players to watch.Where is a Lofton,a young Sizemore? Kipnis not ready yet,where is a power hitting outfielder? Get excitement and fans will come back in numbers!

Roman:You should rlaely see the film, if you get a chance. The trailer doesn’t paint that picture, but that was the impression I was left with after watching the actual film.But your remark about US fans did register with me. I realized that it wasn’t fair for me to rely on the film’s portrayal of Mexican fans, just as it wouldn’t be fair for you to base your view of American fans on those who made this film.So I made some edits to this piece in hopes of better illustrating that this was a documentary that offered one view of the rivalry. And whether or not that view is accurate is something I think every fan on each side of the border needs to decide for themselves.Fortunately soccer futbol is one of those things (unlike a documentary, for example, or even a blog) that gives us a real opportunity to learn these things firsthand as we travel to games, meet fans from other nations, and share our passion for the game. It reminds me of how my view of Iran changed dramatically after I watched a game in a hotel lobby with an elderly Iranian gentleman during France 1998. No politics, no religion, just two guys howling with delight at a flickering little television screen.Thanks for chiming in. Your point is well-taken.Chris

Mae.. que puedo decir… me he quedado sin palbaras, y aunque alguno lo tomen a uno de fiebre o envenenado, pero casi se me salen las lagrimas.. que lindo es cuando alguien puede poner el nombre del paeds en tal alta estima… no es fanatismo, es amor por la patria… mis respetos para don alejandro morera soto…se lo merece…Pd: La firma de Laporta… es como un suef1o… eso demuestra la calidad de hombre que fue morera…Saludos amigos!

That’s a nicely made answer to a challenging question

it all in one simple parhse Spain’s two clubs . For decades, even back to the fifties, the story here has been the same. Two clubs backed by the respective political godfathers, financed by their local finacial institutions (Caja Madrid / Caixa), run by presidents who had made dubious fortunes, mostly in the construction industry (Sanz / Nuf1ez, etc), on paper bankrupted and between them have won 75% of the Ligas since 1950. Identical histories, and awash with cash to ensure success in the European Cup on the international stage. Yes the Classico will be fun this year, Mourinho back to torment the Cules, but in the end, isn’t it getting a bit boring ..?

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