I feel like so much has happened since my last post (July 16th). The Indians entered tonight’s game with Minnesota with a record of 4-7 in their last 11 games. Usually I would just call this a bad stretch, but with it being the end of July the Indians really do not have a ton of time to continue playing like this if they want to contend. To illustrate my point, ESPN.com has a simulation that projects the % chance that each team makes the playoffs. Entering tonight’s game, the Indians percentage was a meager 7.9%.
Tonights game began on a good note. Choo led off the game with a single, and came around to score on an RBI groundout by Carlos Santana: Just like that, its 1-0 Cleveland. Justin Masterson began the game with a devastating sinker that caused the first five Minnesota hitters to ground out to second base (I have no idea how to figure out if this is a record, but I am just going to SAY it is). In fact, Masterson retired the first 11 batters he faced before a Joe Mauer walk.
And then…it poured.
Josh Willingham blasted a hanging slider into the seats, giving Minnesota a 2-1 lead. Minnesota added three runs in the 5th, and knocked Masterson around for five more runs in the seventh. In all, Masterson’s line:
5.2 Innings Pitched, 7 Hits Allowed, 10 Runs, 8 Earned Runs. pp
The Indians added a couple of runs near the end of the game, highlighted by Carlos Santana’s two run home run.
Some Quick Thoughts:
1.) Which direction are we going?- As already stated, the Indians chances of making the playoffs are becoming smaller with each lopsided loss. After tonights results, the Indians now find themselves 5.5 games out of 1st place in the AL Central. So far, our big deadline acquisition: Brent Lillibridge. Yes folks, we acquired a player who is most well known for having a game-ending Web Gem. Compare him to the Tigers acquisitions of Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, and the White Sox pickups of Kevin Youkilis and Francisco Liriano (acquired tonight), and you can see why the Indians are behind.
2.) Rewarded for our Patience?- Carlos Santana had a forgettable first half to say the least, but he has rebounded quite well in July. So far this month Santana has hit .286 with four home runs and twelve runs batted in. It is nice to see that one of the run producers has picked up the slack this month (cue me staring down Travis Hafner).
3.) My quick vent, or what should be known as 1B).- I feel like I need one, so here it goes. I was watching tonight’s game, when Rick Manning and Matt Underwood mentioned that Chris Antonetti said today that he had spoke with many teams about possible trade scenarios in the last few days. When they asked him about which Indians players were involved in talks, Antonetti said that he had kicked tires with “over 50 players, from minor league talent all the way up to the big league club.” They ended the exchange by saying that “It is very apparent that the Indians are trying to improve their team for a playoff push.”
Excuse me for being judgmental, but Brent Lillibridge really doesnt satisfy my appetite. I am not saying that the Indians need to panic and overpay for someone like Alfonso Soriano or Hunter Pence; however, I do think there are some viable options out there the Indians could pursue. *I am looking at you James Shields*
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