5-1, 5-1

April 22, 2012

The Indians and the A’s played two games with 5-1 scores over the past two days.

On Saturday, the Tribe came out on top, thanks to the hitting of second baseman Jason Kipnis (4 for 5 including a triple, 3 RBI), a decent performance by starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez (one run, earned, over 5⅓ innings, giving up four hits and one walk), and 3⅔ innings of scoreless relief from the Bullpen Mafia, including a three-pitch, one-out save from Chris Perez. Shortstop Jason Donald also had a big game, going 2 for 4 and scoring two runs, including one in the sixth inning thanks to two pieces of heads-up baserunning, first by stealing second on a play which should have seen him being picked off first base, and then, after Kipnis’ single, by slapping his hand on home plate to avoid a tag attempt by A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki. All in all, a very satisfying game.

Today, though, it was the A’s who prevailed, beating an Indians team which seemed tired and listless almost from the start. The game began well, with the Tribe taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, thanks to back-to-back doubles from right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and DH Travis Hafner. That was about it for the Tribe offense on the day, though; they got only two more hits, and no more runs, over the next eight innings. Justin Masterson didn’t pitch well at all, giving up four runs, all earned, over five innings, allowing six hits and a cringe-inducing six walks. He was removed after five innings, having thrown 111 pitches. All in all, a very disappointing game.

I know it’s still early in the season, but I’m a little concerned about Masterson. After his brilliant Opening Day performance, in which he allowed only one run, two hits, and one walk over eight innings (only to get a no-decision after Chris Perez imploded in the ninth), Masterson has had three straight ineffective starts, allowing 15 runs, all of them earned, over 13⅔ innings. He hasn’t pitched into the sixth inning since Opening Day. I’m not an expert on such things, but he doesn’t seem to be hurt. Let’s hope he can turn things around, and soon.

Despite today’s loss, though, Tribe fans can’t help but be more than happy with the way the nine-game road trip turned out. After a three-game sweep in Kansas City, the Indians won two of three in Seattle and in Oakland. Before the road trip, I’m sure that Manny Acta would have been happy to see the Indians win five of the nine games. Anyone who would have put down an Andrew Jackson on the chance that they’d win seven of nine would have been given some decent odds against that, and would therefore be treating themselves to a fine steak dinner this evening.

After a day off tomorrow, the Indians begin a six-game home stand on Tuesday, with three-game series against the Royals and the Angels. Susan and Stephanie will be there on Tuesday night, and it’s rumored that they intend to live-blog the game. You won’t want to miss that!

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  • Jeremy says:

    You know, I have the same feelings with Masterson. I didn’t realize though that the past 3 outings were so poor. Thx for putting up the stats.

    While it is early in the season, no, I don’t think your concerns are exaggerated. Masterson’s supposed to be our Ace. We need him to get back on his horse if we are going to give the Tigers (and I guess the Pale Hoes) any competition.

    Go TRIBE!

  • Graham says:

    First time post, but long time reader. I have one comment to make. I, for the life of me, do not understand how or why we would sit Santana, Duncan, and Kotchman. First off, I understand that today is an off day and two days off is a lot better than 1. But seriously?!?!? We havent even finished our first road trip of the year and We’re already giving people days off?!?!? this is the “easiest” scheduled month of the year and we’re sitting people. We have a May coming up that’s a LOT harder than this past April. If we think about sitting anyone during those games I might as well turn off the TV since we would have ZERO chance of winning.
    These guys are making multi-million dollars, yet they need an off day after 10 games?!?!? Not to mention we already lost Asdrubal for the road trip, you’d think manny would use all his resources to do AS BEST as we could on that road trip, not have a great first 8 games then give them the 9th day off. You play to win, especially against OAKLAND. Cmon. I thought we wanted to win the divion, not make sure everyone can still play in 5 years…ROLL TRIBE

  • Vern Morrison says:

    Graham, thanks for reading IPL, and for your comment. I had thought about mentioning the sitting of Santana, Duncan, and Kotchman, but I forgot to do so.

    Kotchman’s gotten one hit in his last 19 at-bats, so sitting him down made some sense. You or I couldn’t have done much worse at the plate than that! Duncan’s only been 2 for 14 over his last four games, so maybe sitting him down was a good idea too. I’m not ready to get on Acta’s case over giving these guys an extra day of rest. The reserve players need some playing time once in a while, too.

  • Graham says:

    Thanks for commenting back so quickly! I agree with the Duncan part, and somewhat of the Kotchman part, but I also did forget to mention one thing. something that changed the game dramatically.. After Jose Lopez got up in…I think the 7TH inning, and of course did nothing once again with Haf on base, why didnt he pull Lopez and bring in Kotchman defensively? Because if you recall, that half inning after our “scare” or one runner on in the 7th/8th, Jose dropped that scoop from Hanny or Donald, then botched the throw to the plate to get Soggard or whatever his name was….we’ll just call him “reading glasses” lol. Since Lopez/Kotchman wouldnt bat again in a “9 inning” game, why not bring in Kotchman to defend in that inning? probably wouldve scooped the throw for the third oput and not even have to attept going home.

  • medfest says:

    Anytime a pitcher doesn’t pitch well in three consecutive starts I’m concerned.In Masterson’s case,it looks to me like he’s losing his release point and then pressing to find it and only making it worse.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I was just saying that I was a big supporter of Jose Lopez during spring training and was really glad he made the team. At this point, I’m really losing patience in him. He looks blah at the plate, blah in the field, and I’m already tired of seeing him in the lineup.

    My friend came up with a great new Kotchman nickname – “Botchman.” Not really appropriate in the defensive sense, but I plan to use it every time I watch him ground weakly to second!

    • Kelly Shedlock says:

      Jose Lopez is really a terrible fielder. Everytime I see him in the starting lineup – I just see outs turning into singles and double down the 1B line. His hitting or lack of it makes me cringe as well. I think he needs to go to Columbus!

  • Graham says:

    donald, cunningham, marson in the bottom 3 of the lineup = might as well not even step in the box…3 automatic outs pretty much