I went to today’s game against the Rangers, hoping to see the Indians salvage at least one game against the red hot team from Texas. Do you want to know the only positive thing I took away from today’s game? It was short – just two hours, 40 minutes. It was about 9,000 degrees in our seats this afternoon, and I was thankful that if the Indians planned to lose anyway, they at least got it over quickly so I could get out of the sun.
To be fair, there was one other high point in this game for me – Tony Sipp’s pitching performance in the top of the 8th inning. He struck out three difficult Texas hitters, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Moreland, and Mike Napoli, to keep the game at 2-0 Texas. I should add that Indians pitching was solid today, especially against a heavy hitting lineup (even if it was without Josh Hamilton). Mitch Talbot gave a great effort, and Joe Smith and Chris Perez both had successful outings as well.
And now to the offense…ohhhhh the offense. After getting shutout on five hits in Saturday’s 4-0 loss, the Indians only managed three hits in today’s game. Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley singled, while Carlos Santana hit the only truly hard-hit ball all day. I’m not trying to take anything away from C.J. Wilson, Darren Oliver, and Neftali Feliz; they obviously all had great days. What frustrated me the most about the Indians is that many of their outs were not even good at-bats. I know I’m often overly-critical of Austin Kearns, but he looked bad today. He struck out twice and dropped his average down below the Mendoza line once again – to .192. When he struck out looking in the bottom of the sixth, he appeared agitated by the umpire’s call. I happened to be waiting in line for ice cream at that point (it was seriously 9,000 degrees, I would do anything in an attempt to cool off), and I saw the strikeout on the television in the hallway. While it would’ve been a tough pitch to hit, it was definitely a strike. To watch it sail by and then argue about it just seemed futile to me.
I’ve saved the worst for last though – and that would be Travis Buck’s pinch hitting appearance in the 9th inning. I’m not sure why Manny Acta pinch hit for Orlando Cabrera; maybe he just thought a fresh bat might be able to start something where others did not. Buck immediately swung at the first pitch and popped up to the catcher. It just sort of summed up the game (perhaps even the series) for me; no matter what the Indians tried, it just seemed to fail miserably.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit concerned at this point. Even though ¾ of Minnesota’s roster is on the disabled list, they’ve been playing much better lately and even swept Kansas City this weekend. Cleveland’s offense needs to wake up, or this series probably won’t be much better than the four-game set against Texas. Detroit is now just 2 ½ games back, although it’s only June and I never fully expected them to stay 7 back for too long. Even though Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana have looked much better lately, they still aren’t achieving at the level they should be. Choo now claims that he’s still affected by his May 2 DUI arrest. It’s likely this has had an impact on him, and I know he may feel he let fans down. Acta dropped him down in the lineup today, which probably wasn’t a bad idea. Hopefully he can put this behind him and move forward; he made a mistake and was wrong, but you can’t undo what’s already done.
After the game this evening, it was the annual season ticket holder autograph party at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. It’s always a great time, and my father and I managed to gather a number of autographs – Michael Brantley, Carlos Carrasco, Rafael Perez, Orlando Cabrera, Tony Sipp, Joe Smith, Adam Everett, Josh Tomlin, Travis Hafner, Chris Perez, Lou Marson, manager Manny Acta, batting coach John Nunnally and bullpen catcher Armando Coamacaro. I also got to see elephants and a koala bear – a great day despite the loss!