Trying to escape the haunting memories of Sunday’s loss to the Red Sox, the Tribe traveled to Cincinnati to take on the Reds. Cleveland’s issues are starting to pile up in a very negative way. The most notable issue involves the bullpen and its inability to shut down opposing hitters. This was again the case today, as Nick Hagadone gave up a two-run bomb to Joey Votto in the 8th that would cost Cleveland the game.
To start the game, Shin-Soo Choo joined Travis Hafner as former Indians that have homered against the Tribe this season. Choo has been fantastic this season for the Reds, giving them the potent leadoff hitter they needed. The Indians responded in the fourth with a sacrifice fly from Carlos Santana. The Reds would tack on another run in the sixth inning, but the Indians would tie it up in the eighth inning on a pinch-hit homerun from Jason Giambi. Giambi broke out of his 0-24 slump with the 467-foot bomb, showing how beneficial it is to have a guy on the bench who can go deep at any time.
Ubaldo Jimenez continues to confuse Indians fans, pitching well today after his abysmal outing against Detroit. He went seven innings and only gave up a pair of runs. It would be nice to see consistency from the sporadic starter, but it’s nice to see him bounce back with a strong showing. After Jimenez’s day was done, Hagadone took to the mound, where he would give up the two-run blast to Votto.
The ninth inning is when things got extremely tense. Nick Swisher arrived at the plate to face Aroldis Chapman, and Chapman proceeded to throw a fastball well above Swisher’s head. The pitch wasn’t too close, but close enough to warrant a long stare down from Swisher. When Swisher stepped back in, Chapman fired a 100 mph heater that barely missed Swisher’s head. At this point, I certainly would not have been surprised if Swisher charged the mound. A 100 mph fastball to the head could do a significant amount of damage, and Swisher knows that. Swisher instead showed some composure by opting for a verbal exchange instead of a physical exchange. He then nearly hit one out of the park, and had some more words for Chapman as he ran past the mound to the dugout.
The attempt to hit Swisher was about as low-class as it gets for Chapman. If he had a problem with Swisher’s stare down after the previous pitch he certainly should not be throwing at his head. What’s even more astounding is the fact that there was no warning handed out by home plate umpire Paul Schrieber. You can bet that in tomorrow’s game the Tribe will deal some retaliation out. You’ve got to protect your team’s leaders, and Nick Swisher is certainly one of those leaders.
-Carlos Santana had a rough day defensively, giving up two passed balls and failing to corral a throw from Stubbs that could have saved a run.
-Michael Bourn continues to impress with his speed when he made a great running catch in the bottom of the 7th.
-There was a controversial call by the umpires in the 6th inning. Zack Cozart hit a double to left and the ball looked to have either been on the line, or just missing to the left.