To put it exceedingly mildly, this hasn’t been the greatest of years for major league umpires. And by the time the bottom of the fifth inning rolled around, Terry Francona must have felt like he’s had enough.

Today was a day that seemed doomed no more than five minutes after it started. Immediately after Mark Reynolds bobbled away what looked to be an easy double play, Michael Bourn couldn’t haul in a line shot from the Rays’ James Loney. Two runs would score on the play, and Zach McAllister would spend the rest of day laboring through 4.1 innings; ending his run of twelve straight starts of going at least five innings and giving up no more than three runs.

But to let’s refer back to the umpires for a moment.

It certainly seemed like McAllister was getting squeezed by home plate umpire Bill Welke (who, in the third inning, was possibly punishing the Tribe battery of McAllister and Yan Gomes for Gomes’ leaving his crouch after a third strike that was called a ball; Evan Longoria would single in a run soon after), but Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson seemed to get the benefit of the doubt on the corners.

This, along with a play involving the ball boy down the right field line that the Rays turned into a triple, exacerbated Mount Francona. He ended up being tossed for the first time as the Indians skipper, and for the 36th time in his managerial career.

The lone inning of damage for the Tribe came in the fourth, in which they clawed back into the game on the strength of an RBI double by Gomes and a two-run single by Mike Aviles.

But whatever momentum gained from the offense was effectively washed away once again by the bullpen. Nick Hagadone’s struggles continued as he gave up a two-run homer to Yunel Escobar, which made it  7-3; sapping any energy the Tribe may have had in reserve for a comeback.

The Rays also greeted rookie Matt Langwell rudely in his Major League debut, as his second pitch was sent over the wall in right by Longoria to close out the scoring.

The good news for today? Baltimore beat Detroit, so the deficit remains at just half a game.

W: Jeremy Hellickson (3-2; 5 INN/9 H/3 ER/4 SO); L: Zach McAllister (4.1 INN/7 H/5 R (4 ER)/4 BB)

Player of the Game: Evan Longoria (2-5; 1 HR, 3 RBI)



  • Sean Porter says:

    Has anyone noticed that McAllister’s fastball – that consistently sat in the 92-95 range – is now barely breaking 90mph? I’m starting to think that he’s going through a “dead-arm” period, which is causing a loss in velocity and his recent command problems.

  • Sean Porter says:

    And speaking of the bullpen: The Tribe needs to address their total lack of any dependable left-handed arms, either at the trade deadline (if they are still in contention) or after the season.

    Hagadone and Hill are walking, talking gas cans at this point.

  • Steve Alex says:

    I agree Sean, the left-handed relief has been terrible. Hill has completely bombed the last month, and neither Barnes nor Hagadone give any reason to think they can do the job consistently. This is our greatest need at the moment. I also think it’s time to give Chisenhall another chance. He’s playing very well at Columbus, and Reynolds needs to go back to 1st base. If Chiz bombs again, at least you know in time to make a move at the deadline for a 3rd baseman. Aramis Ramirez is having a very good walk year for a last place team.

  • Sean Porter says:

    I would like to see Reynolds back at 1b too – he’s limited at 3b and it seems to me that his offense went south about the time he was moved over there.

    Its been bandied about by the Tribe announcers that Gomes has experience at 3b. Now, I’m not suggesting moving him there tomorrow, but with his bat perhaps it could/should be something for the Indians organization to consider long-term?

    (If you want to take that as my less-than-ringing endorsement of Chisenhall, go right ahead. I’m already hoping the Tribe drafts 3b Colin Moran from North Carolina this week!)

  • Cale says:

    Speaking of LHP, I see this afternoon that it looks like the Indians will sign JC Romero. He opted out of his minor league contract with the Nationals when he wasn’t called up by June 1st. I’m not saying he’s going to solve all our problems, but it can’t be any worse.