When I saw that the Indians were facing a soft-tossing lefty, making just his second major league start, I already felt a sense of dread wash over me. The Indians have never done very well in these scenarios, even on their best day. Take a team that has already been scuffling offensively, mix it with a pitcher like Andrew Albers for the Twins, and you have just two singles and no runs to show for it. While Danny Salazar wasn’t as sharp as he was against Detroit last week, he had a solid outing, albeit one on a limited pitch count. He made a couple of mistakes – one to Brian Dozier and one to Trevor Plouffe, but otherwise danced out of trouble. The bullpen provided four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while walking three.
I wish I had more to say about this game, but if you’re an Indians fan it was pretty unremarkable. Albers pitched to contact – he only struck out two and walked nobody on the way to his complete game shutout victory. His fastball tops out at around 87 mph, so I imagine if he has a day where his control is off, or he suffers from some poor BABIP, it could get bad quickly for him. He had a lot of help from the Twins defense tonight, which made a number of dazzling plays behind him. There were a couple of close (and potentially questionable calls) at first base, but did they even matter? When you have no runs on two hits, you’re not going to be able to do much anyway. In many ways, Albers reminded me of Jeremy Sowers. I don’t know if anyone else saw that, or if I’m just delusional – but Sowers had a number of fantastic outings at the very beginning of his major league career before everyone started to figure him out. Albers also managed to shut down a hot Kansas City offense, and came just shy of a complete game in his other major league start. If nothing else, I’m happy for a kid that has hung around the minors for a while, and at one point was pitching in the Can-Am independent league. I wish it wasn’t against the Indians, but I tend to like stories like Albers’. And speaking of the Royals, with a win tonight (they’re currently leading Miami in the eighth inning) they could pass the Indians in the standings.
I’ve managed to maintain very optimistic this season, almost disgustingly so. Even though I knew I was being kind of irrational at times, it was still fun to keep a positive outlook for once. I’ve about run out of positive vibes at this point. I attended four of the games on this terrible homestand, thankfully one of the four was yesterday. The first part of that game was one of the worst I’ve ever attended in person. I felt so dejected, that by the time the Indians started to turn it around, I wasn’t even that excited. I guess you could call my emotion more relief and shock than anything else. I know that this team doesn’t have a true cleanup hitter, and that Francona’s options are really limited at this point. However, I’m more than tired of seeing Asdrubal Cabrera in the cleanup spot. I don’t think it was a complete coincidence that the Indians managed to get something going with a slightly different lineup yesterday. In fact, I’d consider giving Cabrera a day or two off – I managed to sit close to the Indians dugout for the 14 inning Detroit game and he just looked so frustrated after every at bat. He looked so frustrated, that I started to feel bad for him. I’m sure it gets to a point where you’re pressing and almost trying too hard. Just pull back and let him have a break, or give someone else a shot in the four spot. Anything to try and get a spark going.
Side note: We had a great suggestion to start a game day thread on this blog. I meant to do it today, but it completely slipped my mind. I put a giant note on my computer though, with the hope I’ll remember tomorrow. So hopefully there will be an outlet to discuss the game and vent as it takes place from this point forward.