The Indians offense tagged Rangers starter Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.30 ERA) for five runs, including two home runs, on their way to a 5-2 victory.

Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4, 4.79 ERA) pitched just five innings, but allowed only four hits and one run on 101 pitches.  Ubaldo struggled with his command through the first three innings, walking three batters while reaching 69 pitches.   However, the only run Jimenez ceded was a solo home run to nine-hitter Leonys Martin in the third inning.  Martin had been 2-20 up to that point.

Ubaldo did not have his best stuff tonight, but he found a way to work through that and still be effective.   The old Ubaldo would have blown up against such a juggernaut Rangers lineup, but he was able to limit the damage to just one solo home run over five innings.

The scoring for the Indians began in the second inning, when Jason Giambi was hit by a pitch (the first of two such incidents for Giambi on Wednesday).  The next batter was Mike Aviles, who launched a curveball from Texas starter Nick Tepesch into the left field seats.  Mike Aviles has come on as of late, batting .293 in the month of June.

The Indians continued the barrage in the third inning, as Michael Brantley had an RBI single after Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis reached on singles.  Michael Brantley, who has the lowest slugging percentage on the team (.360), batted fourth.  Quite a puzzling move by Terry Francona, who has been inconsistent and interesting in his lineup selection throughout the season. However, it did “work” tonight.

Kipnis, who went 3-5, tacked on another run with a leadoff home run in the fifth inning to the right field bleachers.  Michael Brantley walked two batters later.  Carlos Santana subsequently nailed a double into the right field corner, scoring Brantley all the way from first.  Carlos Santana is still falling in love with his big wide swing.  When he does shorten up his approach, he is able to keep the ball in play and become a more adept run producer.

Five Indians relievers pitched four innings of one run ball, and things were going quite smoothly until the ninth inning.  With the score 5-1 with two outs, Pestano allowed a single to Leonys Martin, which was at first called an error but then switched to a single.  Jurickson Profar followed with an RBI double, his third hit of the game.  Profar has been an Indians killer so far in his young career, hitting .538 (7-13) with 1 HR and 2 RBI.  However, Vinnie Pestano was able to force Daniel Murphy into a flyout to finish the game.  Pestano did not record the save because he pitched himself into the save situation.

On a personal note, it was enjoyable to watch the Indians bullpen preserve the victory instead of their recent history of blowups.  I’ve still seen too much of Rich Hill for my liking, but he was able to retire AJ Pierzynski in a clutch situation in the bottom of the sixth.  Nick Hagadone was also able to do the same against Daniel Murphy in the seventh.

This was the Indians first series win since May 17-20 against the Seattle Mariners.  The Indians have won consecutive games for the first tine since May 29-May 30 at home against the Reds.  With a look towards optimism, 70 of the Indians’ final 97 opponents have records below .500.

The Indians are off on Thursday, and will host a three game series against the Washington Nationals on Friday.  Justin Masterson (8-5, 3.68 ERA) will toe the hill against lefty Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.59 ERA) on Dollar Dog Night at Progressive Field.

W – Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4)

L – Nick Tesepch (3-6)

A – 34, 248


  • Sean Porter says:

    Going into this road trip from Hell, I was hoping that the Tribe would be 3-3 going into Texas. The Yankees were slumping, and we always play Detroit tough, so I thought that breaking even was doable. Texas was the series I was least optimistic about.

    Baseball IS a weird game, and the ’13 Indians are a weird team.

  • The Doctor says:

    whew, i thought the rich hill move was the beginning of the end.

    swisher looks HORRIBLE. if he’d focus on just putting the ball in play (like he did with that rbi hit on tuesday) rather than swinging as if he’s aiming for jupiter everytime he comes up, i think he’d right the ship pretty quickly. for some reason he seems really intent on hitting the ball as hard as humanly possible.

    his second at-bat tonight was his season in a nutshell – swing from the heels at a curve that nearly hit his foot for strike one, then get so angry at himself for swinging that he decides to take a crushable fastball right down the pipe for strike two. toss in one throwaway pitch by the pitcher for ball one and then take another enormous cut for strike three. he has not had a night off (on a gameday) since may 3. he is in desperate need of one, or several (he’s 4 for his last 44). francona should be smart enough to either sit him for a game or two or move him out of his rallykilling 3/4 spots.

    on the plus side, good to see kipnis coming back around, and of course a win is a win.

    • David White says:

      I agree that Swisher should take the night off on Friday. That would give him today and Friday to work with Ty Van Burkleo on his approach.

      Wouldn’t mind seeing this lineup against Gio Gonzalez:

      CF Bourn – L
      LF Brantley – L
      1B Santana – S
      3B Reynolds – R
      2B Kipnis – L
      C Gomes – R
      RF Raburn – R
      DH Giambi – L
      SS Aviles – R

      That would leave McDonald, Stubbs, and Swisher on the bench for pinch-hit defense. I would attack Gio with as many lefties as I could, this season lefties are hitting .304 against him.

  • shaun says:

    after that 0.1 IP tonight, and what we’ve seen the past few outings, i think its time for hagadone to go down to columbus for a while…

    • Drew says:

      I know. He is a big guy with a downhill deceptive delivery and he brings the heat. The problem is that all the benefits he gets from those qualities are rendered useless by the lack of movement on his 4-seam fastball. He COULD get by with that if he has to have an offspeed pitch that will buckle opposing hitters. He is basically throwing batting practice to MLB hitters and gets lucky when the ball stays in the park!

      • David White says:

        I would like to see the Indians acquire left handed reliever Tim Collins from the Kansas City Royals. This would be apart of a bigger trade, but that will be for another article..

        • Sean Porter says:

          If that bigger trade includes Billy Butler, consider myself interested… Butler would be the legitimate #3 this lineup is screaming for…

          • The Doctor says:

            for all the bagging I’ve been doing on Swisher, careerwise Butler is shockingly similar. outside of batting average, where Butler has a noticable advantage, their career OBP, SLG, and then OPS and OPS+ are eerily similar. same for their 162-game average counting stats. additionally, swisher’s been worth 21.9 WAR over his 10 years while butler clocks in at 12.0 WAR over 7 years. i’ll certainly acknowledge WAR has its flaws but i’m not interested in debating those here.

            i was honestly surprised to discover this as I’d always had a picture of butler in my mind as some kind of epic masher and swisher as mostly a bum who managed to find himself in the middle of some good lineups. there is definetly some room to argue that swisher’s stats are largely a product of those yankees lineups and that butler’s found himself on some bad teams, but i’m not entirely sure how we could measure that.

            last thoughts: butler is 5 years younger, while swisher is clearly better in the field. now if we’re talking 2-3 years down the road, yeah, i’d rather have butler, but i’m not seeing him as some panacea that cures our middle of the lineup woes in the short-term. who would he replace? if swisher starts hitting a little bit more like himself and a little bit less like matt laporta, i think we’ll be OK.

          • Sean Porter says:

            The Doctor: Yes, their OPS marks are very similar, especially if you compare their last four full seasons (’09-12). Swisher OPS have ranged from .822 to .870, Butler’s from .822 to .882.

            But not only has Butler played on far inferior offensive teams than Swisher has, Swisher has had the pleasure of playing half his games at Yankee Stadium, a homer haven, while Butler has played half his games at Royals Stadium, a notoriously poor homerun park.

            Not only is Butler’s batting average infinitely better than Swisher’s over the last four seasons (Swisher’s range: .249 to .288. Butler’s range: .291 to .318) but he strikes out at a much lower pace too. (Swisher: 531 total. Butler: 387 total)

            I know disciples of Bill James and Moneyball will vehemently disagree, but I still value a player who can consistently put the bat on the ball. In my opinion, they tend to be less streaky.

            Putting both players with the same surrounding cast, playing in the same ballpark, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that Billy Butler is the far superior candidate to man the 3 hole. The guy is the epitome of a consistent, professional hitter.

  • Steve Alex says:

    Ahem. Doc is right. Another 0-4 with two strikeouts with men in scoring position for Swisher, still batting in the heart of the order every night and killing rallies. And all we can talk about is how Brantley shouldn’t be hitting 4th. On a positive note, Kipnis has 9 HR and 14 SB, the only 2B in the league with more than 5 of each. And now everyone in the rotation but Kazmir has their ERA under 5.00. It’s not Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz, but it’s an improvement. Should see Chiz on Friday, hopefully in place of one of the 8.00 ERA lefties in the bullpen.

  • Jon says:

    Ubaldo is 5-2 with a 3.40 ERA over his last ten. His 56 K’s in 55.2 innings over that time span is also very good. The 24 walks are a bit frustrating but all in all Ubaldo is proving to be a valuable piece of the rotation, even if we don’t want to admit it. If his next 10 go the same way I’d say he’s worth keeping around. He’s only 29, and we could re-sign him for cheaper. The job Mickey Callaway has done so far is great, and with more time he can continue to make Ubaldo a solid number 2 or 3 starter.

    • Swift says:

      If there was a “coach of the year”, Mickey Callaway should get some serious consideration. As Steve Alex said, this isn’t Maddux/Glavine/ Smoltz, but I’m at the point that our rotation is the least of our problems, not our biggest one.

      (And yes, now I’ve jinxed it and all heck will break lose)

  • Mason says:

    Even though Nats are struggling, Tribe still faces Gio & Zimmerman. I understand Gio is a bit off this year, but I am not ready to say things are ‘OK’ just yet.

  • shaun says:

    i think it will be either hill or hagadone…both have been reasoning (aside from stats) is that tito put them both in last night maybe as a final audition to see who he’ll keep…my other thought though is that if its hagadone, they’ll send him down and if its hill, maybe DFA?

  • Adam Hintz says:

    So… I’ve made the joke on Twitter, but I’m starting to believe it a little bit:

    What if Nick Swisher is just experiencing what almost every other new parent experiences? Losing sleep, focusing on his daughter… all of these things can definitely take away from the focus required to play top-level baseball.

    But even if this is the problem, I don’t know what you do about it. Swish has every right to be a good dad, and really, that’s more important than ball anyway. I HOPE that it’s just a slump that he’ll break out of any day now, but if this is all because he’s taking a little less time every week to focus on baseball… well, I’m OK with that, too.

  • Steve Alex says:

    You mean the 3-day paid vacation wasn’t enough rest for Swisher? Who misses three home games for that? We had guys last year only miss one game for a birth, and that was on a road trip. Who in the real world gets 3 days off work because their wife had a baby? I mean, if there are complications or something, sure, but to just put your feet up and smoke cigars for 3 days? That’s not the real world.

  • DP Roberts says:

    Steve Alex: most people in the “real world” are allowed, under the Family And Medical Leave Act, 12 weeks per year for “the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth.” For Swisher to only take 3 days for the birth of his child doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    Secondly, baseball players need to be mentally prepared for the game. I think they ought to take as much time as they need to get re-focused, rather than coming back too early while their head is still with their wife and child.

  • The Doctor says:

    @Sean Porter – apparently i can’t make the comment any more threaded than it already is so i’m stuck with this non-reply reply.

    i’m completely with you on the “putting the bat on the ball” aspect of it – i have an exceptionally hard time coming to terms with the idea that strikeouts aren’t worse than other outs. if you hit the ball, at least it COULD be a hit – if you miss it, well, it’s a little harder to get a hit that way.

    i guess i should have prefaced my comment by saying, “given the relatively similar profiles of swisher and butler, i’m don’t think it would be worth what it would cost to acquire him in a trade (especially given that the royals are in our division)”.

    i am curious though, say we were to acquire butler, (assuming he was traded for players not in our starting lineup), who would you have him replace/how would the lineup change?

    • Sean Porter says:

      While the idea of the Royals and Indians making a big trade is probably far-fetched (dealing within one’s division is generally rare), let’s hop on the hypothetical train, shall we?

      Most likely, this trade would be one of those rare “a team that should be a seller instead shocks everyone by being a buyer” scenarios. Basically, at the deadline the Indians would pull off this trade, not so much for 2013, but for 2014 and 2015. (The remainder of Butler’s KC contract, including the option year)

      I would recall Chisenhall now, and for better or worse he’s the Tribe’s starting 3b the rest of the year. Reynolds would move back to DH/part-time 1b, and hopefully his bat would return. At roughly the same time the Indians would trade for Butler, they would also trade off Reynolds to a contender who needs a right-handed power bat. Butler would assume Reynold’s role.

      The lineup for the future would look something like:

      cf M. Bourn
      lf M. Brantley
      dh B. Butler
      1b N. Swisher
      c C. Santana
      ss A. Cabrera
      2b J. Kipnis
      rf D. Stubbs
      3b L. Chisenhall

      With Yan Gomes getting significant playing time also. I’d love to obviously upgrade at rf and possibly 3b. The lineup could also have Santana at #3, Butler at #4 and Swisher at #5.

  • Steve Alex says:

    Yes, I know all about the family medical leave act, and it is a good thing. I guess I just grew up in a different time. To me, that time off should be for the mother. She’s the one that endured the pains of labor, not Nick Swisher. Now I don’t know anything about their circumstances and there may be a perfectly good reason why he had to be home. I hope it was more than just he was too distracted and mentally unprepared to play. But IMO, someone making the kind of money he is should feel an obligation to show up for work, especially since we were on a homestand. Part of the motivation for signing him was that he doesn’t miss games, and he’s already been out for multiple games twice this year. I guess I’ve just soured on the guy, which is a surprise to me because I was very happy with his signing and love his positive energy. I was expecting a hard-working professional who loves the game, not a goofball who swings for the fences and treats the game like a big joke.

    • Drew says:

      Good God, man. He is in a slump! Until June 1st, he was Nick Swisher as advertised (.270/.368/.478). June freakin’ 1st! That was less than 2 weeks ago, and might I remind you that nearly the entire team has been in a slump since June 1st!

      The shoulder injury sucked but it did not require a DL stint and lasted 3 games. He was out for the birth of his daughter for 3 games, he is on pace to play 147 games this season. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me.

  • Steve Alex says:

    Okay. We’ll give the guy the benefit of the doubt and see how he’s doing after the All-Star break. I hope he gets hot and shuts me up because I’m tired of complaining about him. I would much rather talk about all the runs he’s driving in.