Game Forty-Six: Rangers 13, Indians 9

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via www.fangraphs.com

Highest WPA Lowest WPA
Grady Sizemore .131 Fausto Carmona -.371
Ben Francisco .106 Jorge Julio -.245
Jamey Carroll .091 Kelly Shoppach -.054

This time, it wasn't the offense that was the culprit; it was everything else.

Fausto Carmona not only got ripped early, he left the game in the third with an injury. Carmona's bugaboo continued to be control; his two free passes in the first inning lead to a four-run Ranger outburst. He settled down in the second inning, but two batters into the third, he strained his hip after making a pitch to David Murphy. With Jake Westbrook not far from returning to the rotation, losing Carmona shouldn't be a huge deal if the injury's not serious, but in the long-term, the Indians are going to need Carmona pitching at the top of his game to make any run at the playoffs. And it isn't just a matter of him returning to the mound, but figuring out whatever mechanical problem is dogging him. That's going to take time, and now that Carmona is on the shelf, it's going to take a lot longer.

Jorge Julio game into the game inheriting two runners and poured gasoline onto the already blazing fire, walking the first two batters he faced, then served up a grand slam to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. By the time the inning was over, the Indians were down 11-3, and if you've been following this team, the Indians scoring 11 runs in a week would have been considered an offensive outburst, let alone one game.

But the Rangers' pitching wasn't a whole lot better, and the Cleveland offense took advantage of it. Kason Gabbard couldn't stay in the game long enough to qualify for the win thanks mostly to control. He walked six in 2.2 inning, and left after Grady Sizemore hit a three-run homer to cut the Rangers lead to 11-6. The game felt like a vintage 1999 game, when decent pitching was optional and scoring early and often was required. The two teams used eleven pitchers between them, and not until the late innings did anyone make an appearance without giving up at least a run.

The wackiness continued in the sixth, when Ben Francisco became the latest major-leaguer to have a home run taken away by an umpire. Francisco's ball obviously hit above the yellow line, but was called a double by third base umpire Damien Beal and later confirmed by the entire crew. Eric Wedge was understandably irate, and was tossed after arguing the call. The botched call cost the Indians two runs, and while those two runs weren't the difference in the game, who knows what would have happened with a three run deficit with three innings to play.

The Indians' seven-game losing streak is already three more than the longest streak last year. They certainly aren't out of things as far as the division is concerned, but things have to turn around now.

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