As if we needed one, today's performance provided another reason why nobody should be betting on the Tribe in 2010. Starter Aaron Laffey, one of our best hopes in the rotation for next season, put up another highly suspect performance. Laffey bobbled the ball at first base in the third inning, leading to the Twins' first run, unearned, but an unfocused defensive performance also abetted the three earned runs Laffey allowed in the fourth. It could have been bad luck, but four Twins runners advanced into scoring position on throws from the outfield in that inning, while none were thrown out on the bases.
Laffey pitched a perfect sixth inning, which arguably earned him a shot in the seventh. Viewed another way, Laffey allowed hard-hit balls to all fields in the sixth — flyouts to left, center and right — so it should be no surprise that four pitches into the seventh, Laffey had allowed the Twins' fifth run, with a sixth run primed to score from third with no outs. Jess Todd allowed one run in one inning, keeping his ERA over 11.00. Rafael Perez happily induced groundouts from all three batters he faced, driving his ERA all the way down to 7.50.
Laffey has allowed 21 earned runs over his last six starts, for an ERA of 5.61. Tellingly, he's allowed an additional six unearned runs, for an RA of 6.95. The worst news, however, is that after getting zero out of 32 batters to strike out today, Laffey now has only 11 strikeouts against 17 walks over those six starts, a span of 33.2 IP. There is one piece of good news, however, in that neither Laffey nor any other Indians pitcher will ever have to pitch in the Metrodome again.
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The Indians lineup teamed up for a vintage Casey Blake performance early in the game, seeing all kinds of pitches without having much to show for it. Jhonny Peralta in particular saw 33 pitches but somehow ended up 0-for-5. Don't be surprised if he gets some hits the rest of the week.
Matt LaPorta led a solid attack later in the game, following a deep Hafner double with a long home run to straight-away center in the 7th, then driving in two more in the 8th. It was LaPorta's second home run in about 17 hours and a nice glimpse into what should be a very productive offense next year. LaPorta's home run last night was the only run Joe Nathan allowed the Indians this season over seven innings, which included 11 strikeouts.
Kelly Shoppach, who had two singles earlier in the game, came up with the bases loaded with two outs in the 8th, representing the tying run. He flied out to right to end the threat, but he did make it through five PA without striking out even once. It's unclear whether this was because Wedge was yelling at him earlier in the game or in spite of it. Unlike past losing seasons, Wedge may have finally lost his clubhouse.
Up Next: The Indians travel to Oakland, for some of those 10 p.m. games we all love.