July 21, 2012

The good news about tonight’s Indians game against the Baltimore Orioles: Shin-Soo Choo led off the home half of the first inning with a home run, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, that was all the scoring the Indians were able to do, and a good pitching performance by Zach McAllister was wasted, as the Orioles won, 3-1.

McAllister gave up three earned runs over 7⅔ innings. He struck out six batters, walked no one, and allowed only five hits. The problem was that two of those hits were home runs, and they accounted for all three Orioles runs. Up 1-0, McAllister started the sixth inning by giving up a single to J. J. Hardy. The next batter, former Indians slugger Jim Thome, homered over the right-field fence to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. In the seventh inning, McAllister gave up a home run to Ryan Flaherty.

The Indians continue to struggle at the plate. Tonight they were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. Carlos Santana had a leadoff double in the second inning, and Casey Kotchman and Jack Hannahan put together back-to-back singles with one out in the seventh, but once again the Indians failed to get the extra hits needed to drive those baserunners in. The Tribe has scored just three runs in their last 27 innings, and have scored three runs or less in six of their last seven games.

The Indians have now lost seven of their last ten games, and have fallen to the .500 mark for the first time since June 29. They’re a .500 ballclub, but lately they’ve been playing even worse than that. The surging Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox today, thereby taking first place in the AL Central. The Indians trail the Tigers by 3.5 games.

The Tigers are on pace to finish the season with 87 wins. To match that record, the Indians would need to win 40 out of their remaining 68 games, which would mean playing .588 ball. Unless a bunch of players start putting up substantially better numbers from here on in, and soon, I don’t see that happening.

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