Consistently inconsistent. That pretty much sums up the 2012 Indians pitching staff.

From June 16 through June 18 the Tribe gave up 27 runs in a three game span to the Pirates and Reds. They followed that up with a three game stretch during which they allowed just three runs to the Reds and Astros. And over their last two games, they’ve given up 15 runs to the Astros.

The issue on Sunday was the bullpen, as Nick Hagadone and Esmil Rogers allowed a combined four runs in just one inning of work. These late-inning meltdowns are becoming a disturbing trend, especially when you focus on their work in the 6th and 7th innings. If you throw out Pestano and Perez, the Indians relievers have a 5.47 ERA this season.

A few other thoughts and notes…

  • Prior to these past two games, The Astros hadn’t scored 7 runs in consecutive games all season.
  • The Indians have now lost 9 of their last 10 games against left-handed starting pitchers. They’re 5-15 against left-handed starters overall. To make matters worse, these aren’t exactly All-Stars they’re losing too. Here are the lefties to beat the Tribe during this 10-game stretch: J.A. Happ, Dallas Keuchel, Casey Crosby, Scott Diamond, Bruce Chen, Will Smith, Jose Quintana, Felix Doubront and John Danks.
  • Remember when Derek Lowe looked like a potential All Star? Well, over his six starts he’s posted an 8.24 ERA. During that span, opponents are batting .358 with a .909 OPS against him. Additionally, opponents have a .246 well-hit average against Lowe during than span, which is a Pitch f/x statistic used to track how often a pitcher gives up a hard-hit ball. Prior to this six-game skid, Lowe was only allowing a .167 well-hit average, indicating that his struggles are due to more than just bad luck.
  • While much of the trade-deadline focus will be on the Indians desire to acquire a right-handed bat, I wouldn’t be shocked if they tried to add another arm to the pen. If they can add a consistent 7th-inning man, I’d feel a lot better about the Bullpen Mafia’s ability to hold up down the stretch run.
  • The Indians have a tough stretch ahead, traveling to New York and then Baltimore. And the Tigers, who lost two of three to the Pirates over the weekend, have six straight on the road at Texas and Tampa Bay. This could give the White Sox an opportunity to pull ahead as they visit the Twins for three games before traveling to New York to take on the Yankees.

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