Remember how the Indians had a really lousy August last season? I mean really, really lousy? As in winning five games and losing 24?
Well, this August isn’t looking a whole lot better. It started out good, with the Tribe winning three of the first four games this month. But since then, things have turned sour, like a carton of milk left on the kitchen counter all day. Today the Indians lost their second straight game to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga, this time by a score of 7-2. The Indians are now free-fallin’ in a way that Tom Petty himself would envy.
Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez was saddled with the loss, although he didn’t really pitch all that poorly. He went 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs, one of which was unearned. That run was still Jimenez’ fault, though, as it came when, with one on in the fifth, Jimenez threw wildly to first on a ball which had bunted to the third-base side of the mound, allowing the baserunner to reach third and the batter to take second. Each of these baserunners went on to score on sacrifice flies.
Compared to what was to come later, though, that inning looked like a thing of beauty. Bryan Shaw came out to pitch in the eighth inning, and that’s when things really got sketchy for the Indians. After a leadoff single, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera bobbled what should have been a 6-4-3 double play grounder, and everybody was safe. A wild pitch by Shaw advanced both runners, and then a throwing error on a ball hit to Jason Kipnis allowed both runners to score. Cody Allen then came out to put a bow on things for the Angels, giving up a single, a walk, another single, and a sacrifice fly to give the Angels a 7-2 lead.
Of course, the way the Indians have been hitting lately, or rather failing to hit lately, that might as well have been a 72-2 lead. Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen struck out the side in the eighth, and it took Ernesto Frieri all of nine pitches to retire the Tribe in order in the ninth inning. The offense has been pathetic lately. They have gone 70 straight innings without scoring more than one run in any inning. I don’t care if your starting rotation consists of Sandy Koufax, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, and Justin Verlander in their primes: you aren’t going to win a lot of ballgames with an offense like that.
Before the game even ended, some wag on Twitter said “I’m calling a fans only meeting after the game tonight.” And why not? The seven-game homestand ends tomorrow with a 1:05 PM game against the Angels.
About the title of this post: last year I noted that the Indians late-season swoon coincided with the return of the AMC television series Breaking Bad. I opined, tongue firmly in cheek, that the Indians players were too preoccupied with the series to focus on baseball. Well, as fans of the program are well aware, the final eight episodes of the series are about to be broadcast. The first of these episodes runs tomorrow night. If my theory from last year holds true again in 2013, expect the Indians to finish at about 75-87. Sadly, Breaking Bad ends on the last day of the regular baseball season. And unless they turn things around in a big way, and in a hurry, the playoff hopes of the Indians are going to be as dead as I expect Walter White to be when the final credits roll on that eighth episode.
Oh, by the way, happy birthday, Rocky. Too bad you couldn’t have gotten to see a better game.