Visual approximation of today’s game against the Blue Jays
The vast majority of this road trip was beautiful to behold; a joy to watch. The Tribe will return to Cleveland having gone 8-2 over this 10-game trip, which is definitely considered a very successful road journey. However, with Sunday’s 17-1 loss, it seemed to drape a dark cloud over all of the positive things that happened during the rest of the trip. If today would have been less of a dumpster fire, I think I’d more readily acknowledge that splitting a 4-game series against a good offensive team on the road is a positive thing. Especially considering some of the struggles that the Indians have had against the AL East this season.
Corey Kluber had some rare issues with command today and didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. This is exactly what the Indians hoped to avoid – even if Kluber was off, they needed to try and get innings from him with the overuse of the bullpen on Friday and Saturday. Joba Chamberlain managed to maneuver out of some dangerous spots, but he couldn’t pitch the rest of the game. After 33 pitches (which I believe was his season-high for an appearance) he was removed in favor of Tom Gorzelanny, who saw his ERA balloon to 21.00. To this point, Francona had used Gorzelanny judiciously and it proved successful. Since he was probably the only member of the bullpen who had thrown a limited amount of pitches over the past couple of days, Francona pretty much had to leave him in the game. He only managed to get a single out, but 7 runs were charged to him. His successor, Tommy Hunter, gave up one additional run. Chris Gimenez became the third position player to pitch this series, and he threw two innings, giving up 4 runs.
Because the pitching performances ended in such disaster today, it took some of the spotlight away from the woes of the offense. While the Blue Jays scored 17 runs on 18 hits, the Indians managed just one meager run on 5 hits off of J.A. Happ. Happ managed to strike out 11 today (the Jays pitchers overall struck out 14) so the Indians’ offense never really seemed to have any sense of life. Abraham Almonte went 0 for 3 in his return, including 2 strikeouts (the first of which was on just three pitches). For the most part Happ mowed through the lineup like a hot knife through butter…even when the score was just 3-0 Toronto you had a feeling that it may be enough to win it.
Yan Gomes got the lone RBI today, but he’s never really been able to break out of his slump this season. I think the Indians may have to address that elephant in the room sooner rather than later, but that’s a topic I hope to write more about in the near future.
The Indians return home for seven games against the Tigers and Yankees. The Tigers, with a sweep of the Rays, have now jumped over the Royals for second place. Their offense is firing on all cylinders right now, so we just have to hope that the Indians got all of their pitching woes out of the way today.