I’m Disgusted

August 6, 2011

I saw this one coming a mile away.  To be fair, I didn’t see it coming *quite* like this – as soon as Elvis Andrus got on base in the 11th, I called an Andrus steal and a Josh Hamilton single to win it.  Instead, it was a wild pitch with an infield single and some lackadaisical defense by Matt LaPorta.  When you put 7 runs on the board in the first 3 innings and fail to add to your lead after that point, (yet again) stranding runners left and right, you get what you deserve.  The Indians learned the hard way in Boston that you can’t take a tie game into the bottom of the 9th (or 11th as the case may be) and expect to win as a visitor against a powerful offense in a hitter’s park.  The Indians had leads of 6-1, and 7-3 at times in this game and just couldn’t hold on. 

I want to blame rust for Chris Perez’s blown save in the 9th, but I think that’s sort of a cop out.  With two outs and the bases empty, he let Josh Hamilton on with a single, and pitched a meatball to Michael Young.  Seriously – why exert the energy throwing that pitch?  In the future just call time, ask someone to bring a batting tee out from the dugout, and let Young hit from that instead.  Perhaps I’m just too mad to let anyone off the hook for this one, because there was plenty of blame to go around.

The one person that remains exempt from my wrath is Carlos Santana.  While he could’ve done more to block that low pitch by Rafael Perez in the 11th (the one that allowed Andrus to get to second), the Indians never would’ve been in that position if it wasn’t for his 5 RBI.  The last two nights he’s been on fire, and I hope he can keep it going for the rest of the series (heck, the rest of the season!)  The entire starting lineup had at least one hit tonight except for Ezequiel Carrera and Austin Kearns.  With 11 hits overall, the Tribe certainly did not have a problem getting people on base.  It became a matter of failing to string hits together, or getting someone to execute with runners in scoring position. 

Ubaldo Jimenez’s start seemed like it happened days ago; I almost forgot that he started this one tonight.  He struggled at times, but still managed to work his way out of trouble on several occasions.  He gave up 5 earned runs and 7 hits, striking out 7 and walking 3.  Taking into account that his last start was last Saturday, and even that was the bizarre one inning affair after he’d already been traded, this wasn’t terrible.  He kept a tough lineup at bay and gave the team a chance to win; unfortunately it wasn’t enough.

So even though the 11th inning wasn’t quite as bad as these defensive miscues by the Oakland Athletics against the Seattle Mariners last Tuesday, it was bad enough.  Matt LaPorta should’ve been watching the runner, and not staring at the umpire.  What’s the worst that could’ve happened?  You make a wasted throw home because it turns out Hamilton was out anyway?  Instead, you get caught flat footed as the Rangers win it in a walk-off.


  • SeattleStu says:

    uggh stephanie, i had a feeling just like you….never felt like we put this one away…if u can believe it i had my DTV recording run out on me in bottom of 8th with score 7-5….i was cringing pulling up your site, and the headline said it all….you may have forgotten a forgettable outing from Jimenez, but we cant forget what we gave up for him….he’s clearly talented, but his location was awful and outside of his breaking ball he throws a very flat pitch….it could have been a lot worse – he got teed off on a number of times but lucked out with warning track grabs and fantastic plays by the infield….this guy is not our savior….agree w/ you santana is looking good with the stick, but he needs to pick it up on defense and on the base paths (he was standing on 2nd for a good 30 seconds as the gers hit the cutoff and he watched throw get away from the catcher…should have been on 3rd….guess he thought so too because he then inexplicably tried to steal 3rd)….and dont get me started on the ill conceived hit and run w/ kearns at bat, 1 out and 2 on….why the heck would you call that there manny?….and then chris perez, who i’ve consistently thought is way overrated chokes again….struggles w/ location per usual but still manages 2 outs before letting hamilton on after 3 k’s on the night….then a dinger…CP that’s what you get paid for…we needed that game….4 back…uggh-ly.

  • Jay says:

    i can’t believe the indians didn’t pick up a bat at the deadline…

  • Jay says:

    it amazes me…at how we find ways to lose games. in part i blame the dolans…i know everyone wants to do that but hear me out…the dolans have yet to lead the market…when you open a business, you INVEST. you have a big sale to bring people in…you don’t just open the store and hope people show up. Then, when they do show up, you don’t tell them you have nothing to sell and to come back next week…the indians are that same way…why would we show up to watch a team lose 90 games a year? why would I waste $50 to go see that? why would I, the consumer, pay to watch this team fumble away games like they did tonight when clearly ownership is in it for the money?

  • Bob Liptak says:

    A few things I took in last night:
    1. Ubaldo was a little shaky, but I can understand that. He was making his first start for his new team, so undoubtedly the nerves had to be a little higher than normal. He wanted to show that he is the same guy from 2010. He eventually settled down and pitched fairly well. He was in-line for the win until Chris Perez poured gas on the fire.
    2. The Rangers offense is unstoppable. They have it all: Speed, Power, Consistency. Unless Ubaldo came out in “perfect game form”, there was no way the Rangers were not going to put runs on the board, it is what they do. The Indians can not match the Rangers, or any other contender’s lineup player for player. I would not be surprised if the Rangers sweep the Tribe right out of the race this weekend.
    3. Jay, I completely agree with you. I have been saying this for years, in order to make money, you have to spend money. The Dolans are the wrong family to own this franchise. Sure, we are a mid-market team, but the fans in this town hold our teams in such a high regard, that we put them above the New York’s, LA’s, Chicago’s and Boston’s of the world, in all three major sports. Cleveland fans feel that ownership in this town OWES them to field Championship caliber rosters each and every season. And why not? Cleveland fans are, in my opinion, the best in sports. We have not won a Major Championship since ’64, but support and follow our teams until the grave. Sure, JACOBS FIELD may not be selling out every night anymore, but that is a by product of bad ownership. Fans will show up when ownership shows them that they are serious about winning, and start spending the money to do so. The Indians front office always uses the excuse that, because we are a mid-market team, we therefore can not spend the way the aforementioned cities clubs spend. Why not? Sure, you may take some losses early on, but, if you put together a roster of players that can win on any given night, including the Playoffs, the fans will put that money back in your pocket. The Dolans need to realize the unique position they find themselves in: If you show Cleveland fans that you are serious about contending for a World Series Title, they will show undying support, pack you stadium, and fill your pockets. But you can not expect fans to show up when you field a team of who’s every night, saying you are rebuilding all the time. The Indians appear to be in it to win now. Regardless if they make the Playoffs or not, the only way the fans will return in droves, is if they make some splashes in Free Agency. Shelley Duncan and Austin Kearns just do not cut it anymore.

  • Jerry says:

    Its dificult for a 40 year tribe fan to watch a team that is sinking into abiss. I predict a 3rd place finish …perhaps 10 games back. We a joke of a hitting team and we find ways to lose……bad relief pitching……inept fielding…..passed balls……yes im jaded……but realistic

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    SeattleStu – That is my primary complaint about Santana – he just gets caught looking flat-footed and lazy a lot of times. Not getting his body in front of crummy pitches, that technically could be blocked (or would at least be blocked by Marson probably), and just spacing out on the basepaths. Perez’s disasterous 9th was reminiscent of something you’d see from Joe Borowski or Bob Wickman…makes you think they’re going to get out of it, before it all goes to pieces.

    Jay – I think they deserve some blame, but I also think that there are others in the organization that deserve blame (that I don’t want to take the heat off of). For example, I’ve been thinking about doing a post about this – look at the Indians 1st round draft picks over the past 20 years or so – http://espn.go.com/mlb/draft/history/_/team/cle Between CC Sabathia and the more recent ones, there’s not a lot to show for in there. Now perhaps they drafted crappy players so they could pay smaller signing bonuses, which would go back to financial/ownership issues. But no wonder you had to trade away veterans to replenish your minor league system – you certainly weren’t drafting quality players. I think these bad drafts forced their hands almost as much as the salary did; you had to find a way to get talent at lower levels.

    I also think the whole situation just further proves the genius of Dick Jacobs. He sold that franchise at exactly the right time – it was stripped of talent in the lower levels and he knew he’d get a really inflated price for it. Because the Dolans severely overpaid, you have less money to put into a team on the decline. Even if you go out and spend money on high-priced free agents, you still need to be able to supplement with talent from your own system (even New York and Boston have people like Robinson Cano, Justin Pedroia, etc.) I don’t see enough people hold the Tribe’s feet to the fire for their crappy drafts over the years.

    Bob – I agree, that Jimenez had a respectable start and that Texas’s offense is pretty frightening (in a park where the ball already flies out with ease). One thing I’ve also appreciated about Cleveland fans is that they’re smart, and they are fully aware of what’s taking place (on and off the field). I talk to casual fans, who still know about 10 times more than a “hard core” fan in another city. Cleveland fans are also able to see the writing on the wall and admit that their teams have issues (when they have issues). For example, Pirates fans at the moment. I admit, I like the Pirates…but they’re not getting past both Milwaukee and St. Louis this year. I know so many fans who think it’s no big deal they’ve lost (what is it now, 8, 9 in a row?) and aren’t even at .500 anymore. They’re still convinced they’re going to win the division. At least Indians fans are aware and accept the fact that this team has some major problems.

    Jerry – It has been sad watching them take this tumble, especially after the start they had this year. Despite games like last night (which make me almost pull my hair out) I’ve still had fun watching this season. They gave me more than I expected (I picked them for dead last in the preseason) so I’m thankful for that! I still think they’ll finish in second, just because Chicago and Minnesota look pretty bad as well.

  • Emily G says:

    why didn’t they ph hafner for shelly Duncan with the game on the line? I get frustrated when they don’t use hafner in situations like that.

  • Bob Liptak says:

    Jerry – You said that we are finding ways to lose games now, which is true with a team who’s average age is 27, second youngest in baseball, to I believe the Pirates. Look, it is no big secret as to what we need to get over the top. Hitting. Hitting. Hitting. Hitting. I love Kipnis’ bat, solid line drive hitter, and from what I see, he can put the ball wherever he wants. He has homered 4 times over the last week. Asdrubal keeps crushing the ball even though his average dipped below .300. Santana had a great series in Beantown. We are young. We need to grow as a team, and even though I fully believe we will end up out of the playoffs this year, I think we are on the verge of returning to the top of the AL Central. Our starting rotation is young, and scary. Masterson has not been given nearly enough run support as his record and ERA indicates. I mean, this guy has an ERA under 3.00 and has not won 10 games yet. He loses games 2-1, 3-2, 1-0, etc. He could easily be 14-4 or better. I’ve noticed that our lineup sort of takes a “flier” when he pitches, because they know he will do his job, but not at the expense of them not doing their job. It is clear that we need hitting, that has to be our top priority at seasons end. Here are a few position players the Tribe needs to chase down during the offseason:
    #1 – Nick Swisher. The Yankees hold a 2012 club option on him, and it will be hard to pry him away from New York, but if they decline, the Indians need to make a run for him. He is a corner outfielder with power, sure, he is not a right handed hitter, but he brings great enthusiasm to the game, and plays hard everyday. Bottom line: if the New York lets him walk, the Indians MUST make an offer.
    #2 – Lance Berkman/Jim Thome – Two older players, but both still have enough left in the tank to rent for a year. Thome would be a great fit(even though we have Hafner), because he is less injury prone and still has a lot of power left in his bat. Not to mention the nostalgic reasons. Berkman on the other hand, hits from both sides of the plate, and he still has tremedous power.
    #3 – Aramis Ramirez – No way can the Cubs keep this guy. He is obviously getting older, but he still has hit 20 homers this season. I know the Tribe has Lonnie Chisenhall as “their guy” at 3B, but Ramirez is good for 25-30 HRs and 90 – 100 RBI.

    Fact is: we need run producers. And those four guys can drive runner in. Our rotation is strong and young, and even though our bullpen has had a rough patch lately, our pen is 4th best in the AL, and 12th overall in terms of ERA. Chris Perez did not have a save opportunity since July 19 until last night. He was a little rusty. Our problems are clear cut, and easy fixes, if the Dolans, Shapiro and Antonetti are willing to dip into their piggy banks for a change.

  • John Z says:

    @Bob — no way will they go after Swisher — he’s not the right fit chemistry-wise. His free-spiritedness can get annoying (and worse) in a clubhouse.

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