I have to give the Indians credit on one thing – they like to find new and creative ways to lose to the Detroit Tigers.  They’ve been blown out, they’ve lost it in the bottom of the ninth and in extra innings…it must get tough to find ways to keep it fresh.  Tonight, they went with a script that included an anemic offense and one terrible, awful, no-good inning by Justin Masterson.  On the infuriating scale, I have to say it’s not as bad as watching your closer completely unraveling while up 2-0, but it wasn’t enough of a blow out that you completely gave up hope.  I’ve been to a handful of Indians-Tigers games at Progressive Field this season (including tonight) and the Indians haven’t won any of them.  I still rank the worst one as July 8 – even though I managed to get the Omar Vizquel bobblehead, I watched the Indians fall apart and lose in extra innings while getting soaked in the rain.  (Seriously, my clothes weren’t even dry the next morning).  So since I’m dry and warm enough tonight, at least this game did not earn the dubious distinction of being the worst game I’ve attended this year.

Before I get to Masterson’s bad inning, let’s talk about the offense (or lack thereof).  Sure, Masterson could have come out and given another one of his dynamic shutout performances, but how many times can we ask him to do this?  You’re not going to beat many teams (especially one with a potent offense like Detroit) when you score one run on four hits.  Last night?  Two runs on five hits (one more hit and one more run!)  Even though they were better in the hit department on Sunday, they still only managed to score two runs against Miami.  Let’s face it, this team doesn’t have a true cleanup hitter, especially when Mark Reynolds has apparently forgotten how to hit.  I still just am not much of a fan of the recent lineup configuration.  I know that he had one of the four measly hits tonight, but Asdrubal Cabrera just isn’t a cleanup hitter as far as I’m concerned.  I know that Justin Verlander is Justin Verlander, and he seemed much more like his old self tonight, but the Indians have hit him well this year (and throughout his career).  I’d hope that they’d be able to scratch together a few more than just four hits against him.

As for Masterson, you remove that fifth inning from this game and the Indians win 1-0.  Unfortunately, Major League Baseball insists that you count the runs that are scored in all of the innings, not just eight of the nine innings.  (It’s not like a class, where you can choose to throw out your lowest test score).  Masterson had some command issues, and managed to dance his way out of trouble in the second inning when the Tigers had the bases loaded with nobody out.  You can’t expect to continue to dodge bullets like that all night.  You can expect the Tigers offense to continue to miss prime opportunities (even though it was Don Kelly that burned them, and not one of the superstars like Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder).  Matt Albers and Mark Rzepczynski (sighhhhh, spelling lookup #2) each pitched perfect innings after Masterson.  Mr. Scrabble hasn’t allowed a run to score since he was traded to the Indians, so perhaps their one meager deal at the deadline could end up being a decent one.  (Or at least not completely disastrous).

Let’s face it – the Indians have trouble beating Detroit, and they may even be inside their heads at this point.  The good news is that they’re almost done with them for the year.  After tonight, the Indians have 49 games left this season and just five of them are against the Tigers.  I still maintain that with the 2013 Indians, you just never know – it’s one of the reasons I’ve maintained a rare amount of optimism this season.  It’s a streaky team, that always seems to bounce back and surprise you just when you’ve given up on them.  Unfortunately, it works the opposite way as well – just when you have a bit of faith in them, they make you regret ever believing in them in the first place.  One of the reasons that I love baseball, and that I watch it, is because it gives me a chance to escape my “real-world” life.  If things are stressing me out, or things are going bad at the time, you can watch baseball and let it take your cares away.  When the baseball is actually causing you more stress than the life things you’re trying to escape, it’s never a good situation.  I think it’s why I’ve decided to have such a zen approach to the Indians this year.  Maintain a bit of optimism, shake off the bad losses, and look forward to tomorrow instead.  With the 2012 Indians, when things started to slide out of control, it very quickly became an avalanche.  However, I’ve watched this 2013 team play like a Double-A team, and the next night come out and give the performance of their lives.  So I’m going to continue to maintain optimism and I’m not going to let this bring me down.

I will end with a bit of a palate cleanser – a picture of my dog, sitting beside her toy mountain, in her tiny Indians jersey.  I managed to get this picture before she ran into hiding under the couch, still wearing the jersey.  I can only guess that she’s embarrassed to be seen in it right now.  I’m going to go coax her out with treats, and try to give her a pep talk.  They may look absolutely dreadful against Detroit, but there are still 49 games left.  They could continue to free fall and end up behind Kansas City, or they could bounce back after this and still contend.  Since I have no actual control over what happens, I can only cheer for them and hope for the best at this point.  And be thankful that the Tigers are just about in the rear view window.

 

She's smiling, because I haven't yet told her about tonight's game. And I just fed her a treat.

She’s smiling, because I haven’t yet told her about tonight’s game. And I just fed her a treat.

14 Comments

  • nikki says:

    Why aren’t we bunting on Miguel Cabrera? Why aren’t we bunting on Miguel Cabrera? Why aren’t we bunting on Miguel Cabrera? It is some kind of gentleman’s agreement that we’re going to hit hard ground balls right at him, knowing he’s playing hurt and can’t run or move?

  • The Doctor says:

    they have, HAVE to win both of these next 2, which will be next to impossible with the way they’ve played the tigers all year and scherzer on the mound.

    the CP meltdown on monday will be retrospectively viewed as the beginning of the end of the season. doesn’t matter if we get to beat up on bums for the rest of the year – the tigers have a schedule of similar ease and we couldn’t gain anything on them despite our recent hot streak.

    getting beaten by alex avila and don kelly types (and let’s not forget andy dirks – he has yet to rip us up this series – maybe tonight?) is just digusting to watch. at least football season is almost here – and thank god i’m not a browns fan!

    • Cale says:

      Division might be out of reach, but if we can beat up on the bums, the wild card is still in play. Anything can happen once they make the playoffs.

    • Kevin Price says:

      Hey, I’m not a Browns fan either!

  • Gvl Steve says:

    When Team Streak is on a roll, they look like world beaters. When they slump or play Detroit, they look like last year’s team. Reality is somewhere in between. But one can only “panic about the Indians’ season” if one first put unrealistic expectations on them in the first place. Remember where we started from? 93 losses. To go from that to 10 games over .500 in one year is a big accomplishment. We need to be happy with that and stop expecting them to beat the best team in the league for the division title. Detroit has 2 of the top 10 hitters in baseball and 2 of the top 10 pitchers, along with a strong supporting cast. We have no one who can match up with those guys right now. We’re relying on middle infielders and catchers to drive in all the runs because there is no one else who can do it on our team. They are doing their best, but expecting them to win 95 games and beat top competition is madness.

    • The Doctor says:

      great point. this was a team whose entire rotation outside of masteron was a big ? at the start of the season, and who most national outlets were predicting for a 4th place finish in the division. no way on earth did i think we’d still be playing meaningful baseball now – but it’s still disappointing to get thumped on so heartily by the division leader.

    • Jeremy says:

      A exceptionally rational argument. All the more exceptional for appearing on one of these message board thingys. Also, Nikki, I agree about bunting to Cabrera. As a Tigers fan I’m living in dread the Indians will bunt on him. Not because it will work (which it will), but because it will aggravate the injury and he will be lost for a long time.

    • Jeremy says:

      A exceptionally rational argument. All the more exceptional for appearing on one of these message board thingys. Also, Nikki, I agree about bunting to Cabrera. As a Tigers fan I’m living in dread the Indians will bunt on him. Not because it will work (which it will), but because it will aggravate the injury and he will be lost for a long time.

    • Cale says:

      Agree, great point. I got 50/1 odds on them over the winter in Vegas which goes to show what anyone outside of a fan thought of the team.

  • Cale says:

    Wasn’t sure where to post this…so this will have to do.

    Indians signed INF/OF Ryan Raburn to a two-year extension with a club option for 2016. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the deal is worth $4.85 million guaranteed.

    I imagine he’ll be the every day right fielder next year, unless they decide to offer arbitration to Stubbs.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    My goal coming into this season was .500. I still think that is within the realm of possibility. I keep talking in more positive terms, just because I don’t want to give up yet on a team that is so bipolar. I would still be happy with 81-81…that’s still a 13 game improvement over last year, which is still pretty good.

    • Drew says:

      Which would be a dreadful 19-29 to finish the season. Why can’t they go 29-19? They do have a pretty easy schedule…

  • Scott in TX says:

    Look. Let’s face it. The Tigers are BETTER than us. That doesn’t mean we can’t beat them from time to time but in a “just” world…they will beat us.

    However, once the playoffs start, it’s a whole new ball game. How many times did the 90′s era Indians run into “hot” pitchers/teams? If the Tribe managed to take out someone on the way to the Tigers…I like our chances.

    The next week will tell us a lot about our squad. Will they be grateful that they are playing someone not named Detroit and tee off? Or will the fact that we just got bitch slapped by our (in theory) biggest rival four straight have lasting repercussions?

    I am leaning towards the former.

    Our September schedule could not be any easier if Francona was putting it together. We just need to hang on for the next three weeks and let all of our out of the money September opponents prepare for next year by getting torched by a Tribe squad hell bent on making the playoffs.