More Luck Than Skill

June 18, 2013

During the course of a 162-game baseball season, every team is going to win a couple games they should have lost.

Tuesday night’s game between the Indians and the Royals definitely falls into the latter category for the hometown team. The offense was sputtering early and often against SP Ervin Santana, and threatening to waste a decent outing by Ubaldo Jimenez (5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). To their credit, however, the Indians would not stop battling; they made Santana work a little bit harder every inning, finally breaking through in the 7th to make the game 2-1.

But then the Indians did their best to screw the pooch (oops, one of Stephanie’s dog puns must have gotten left over from yesterday) as the game turned over to the bullpen. After Hagadone got through the 7th unscathed, Cody Allen was called upon to keep it a one-run game. The first batter Allen faced, Eric Hosmer, chopped an easy grounder right back to the mound, but one atrocious throw to first later and Hosmer (who should have been out) was standing on third with no outs. The Indians had essentially given up another run for free, and that two-run deficit loomed large.

In the bottom of the 8th, however, the offense awoke. Ryan Raburn led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to second on Drew Stubbs’ weak groundout. Michael Bourn slapped a single to plate Raburn, and Mike Aviles followed with another single to set up Jason Kipnis for some heroics. Kipnis to this point in the evening had been pounded away by Royals pitching, and prior to his final at-bat he struck out looking twice on fastballs low and away. With LHP “Tiny” Tim Collins on the mound, Kipnis made a crucial adjustment and took a low and away pitch right down the left-field line, scoring Bourn and tying the game. The Indians would then take the lead on Michael Brantley’s sac fly. The Indians got a little bit lucky on the sacrifice fly, because Jeff Francoeur (who has a great arm) was not in RF, but instead it was David Lough, whose throw was nowhere near in time to get Aviles at the plate.

Which leads us to the top of the 9th inning. Vinnie Pestano, who hasn’t been right all year, came in to collect his second save of the year. He would go on to allow three hits in the inning, as well as a walk, but he somehow avoided giving up a run. Lough started the inning with a single, and tried to score on an Alcides Escobar single… sort of. I have no idea what Lough was doing, but he ran through a stop sign to stop halfway home, and then he was dead to rights. Pestano walked Alex Gordon (the old unintentional intentional walk) to get to Hosmer, who grounded out meekly to end the game.

Whew. That was an adventure.

In Other News:

-Baltimore beat Detroit (and Justin Verlander) 5-2. That’s good.

-I’m not quite sure why Yan Gomes isn’t playing more. This probably needs to be a post on its own, but his bat looks to be fairly sustainable, and his glove behind the dish is a vast, vast improvement over Santana. With the injuries to Swisher and Asdrubal, you would think the Indians would be doing everything they could to get Gomes out there more.

-Hey everyone! Lonnie Chisenhall is back! In his first start in the bigs since being sent down, Lonnie only struck out once, and didn’t look foolishly overmatched at the plate. We can only hope he’s not a AAAA All-Star.

-Chris Perez made a rehab appearance at AA Akron, and it didn’t go so well. He gave up 5 runs and 3 HR. To AA ballplayers. Oof.

-Tomorrow: Justin Masterson (8-5) goes against Luis Mendoza (2-3) at 7:05pm in the rubber game of this 3-game set.


  • Sean Porter says:

    Was I the only person who had a bad feeling that Pestano and Perez would struggle this year the second you heard that they were pitching in the World Baseball Classic this spring?

  • shaun says:

    i feel the same way about pestano closing as i do when hagagoingoinggone comes in relieve…extremely anxious…

  • Edward Ennett says:

    Wow… not too long ago, everyone was trading Chris ‘big mouth’ Perez, because Pestano was a better pitcher and could easily take over closing. Now I see people worried every time Pestano enters the game. no one is ever happy in Cleveland.

    • Sean Porter says:

      Most likely because THIS isn’t the Pestano Tribe fans were expecting to be filling Perez shoes… He’s struggled all season because of injuries and the resulting rust that develops from being shelved a few times. He’s struggling with throwing his slider for strikes, and with his command of his fastball.

      Are you happy with how Pestano has pitched this season? I bet Pestano himself is not.

    • shaun says:

      i’m no more comfortable with perez than pestano…i won’t be happy until we win it all…sorry but a true fan expects the best from their team but will always support unconditionally

  • The Doctor says:

    a truly perezian performance by pestano. glad to see you called out perez’s fantastic AA performance as well.

    yeah, there’s no good reason why gomes isn’t playing more, particularly since it appears santana is conspiring to play himself out ever catching again.

    lough tried to score on an “alex escobar” single? are you having flashbacks to failed tribe prospects of yore? j/k

  • The Doctor says:

    i must not understand what, from a scoring perspective, classifies as a wild pitch versus a passed ball. i didn’t think either one of those “wild pitches” were really the fault of ubaldo. sure, they were bad pitches, but it wasn’t like they were fastballs that bounced in the opposite batter’s box or something. seems like santana could have handled both of those.

    • Adam Hintz says:

      A “Passed Ball” is a ball that would normally be caught with normal effort within or around the strike zone. If it bounces off the catcher’s glove, it’s a passed ball.

      A “Wild Pitch” however is on a ball that is in the dirt or otherwise outside the reasonable catching zone. The two WPs last night were WPs because they bounced in the dirt… Santana could not have caught them, he could only have blocked them (with reasonable effort).

      Those shouldn’t have been anything, but because they hit the dirt (and because runners moved up on the pitch), they have to call it a wild pitch.

    • Cale says:

      I agree, I think Santana should have been able to handle them. The definition is pretty much the judgement of the official scorer on what is “ordinary effort” by the catcher (unless it hits the ground, then it’s always a wild pitch). Here’s the official wording from the MLB rulebook.

      (a) The official scorer shall charge a pitcher with a wild pitch when a legally delivered ball is so high, so wide or so low that the catcher does not stop and control the ball by ordinary effort, thereby permitting a runner or runners to advance. The official scorer shall charge a pitcher with a wild pitch when a legally delivered ball touches the ground or home plate before reaching the catcher and is not handled by the catcher, thereby permitting a runner or runners to advance. When the third strike is a wild pitch, permitting the batter to reach first base, the official scorer shall score a strikeout and a wild pitch.

      (b) The official scorer shall charge a catcher with a passed ball when the catcher fails to hold or to control a legally pitched ball that should have been held or controlled with ordinary effort, thereby permitting a runner or runners to advance. When the third strike is a passed ball, permitting the batter to reach first base, the official
      scorer shall score a strikeout and a passed ball.

  • shaun says:

    i’d like to see gomes too…more play time would lead to more consistency and his numbers would more accurately reflect of what he’s capable (for better or for worse…at least we’d know instead of guessing). i think we put him to catcher, push santana to 1st and move reynolds to DH ( he needs to get focused on hitting the ball)

    • Drew says:

      Which I think would be a lot better than having Giambi at DH and thus forcing Santana behind the plate, Reynolds at 1B, etc.