Game 123: Tigers 5, Indians 2


The Indians lost again today and, frankly, you can probably imagine how it went. Max Scherzer was able to dominate with only a few hitches in his giddyup-he's a pitcher with plus stuff who struggles when you're patient and can tee off on mistakes. The Indians aren't particularly good at anything as an offensive club, let alone patient or mistake-punishing, so their performance was correspondingly uninspiring.

Tribe starter Josh Tomlin finally got the trouble he'd been flirting with in the majors, getting bounced after 7 hits, 5 runs, 2 BB's and 6 innings. I'm open to someone with scouting knowledge convincing me that Tomlin's a player to watch but his major league numbers are classic Fangraphs-Branded Fool's Gold. You don't succeed if you don't miss bats or get groundballs. Tomlin seems like a nice guy and it's awesome he got to play in the majors for a bit-I don't begrudge the guy his brief time in the sun. However, it's going to end sooner, not later. Notably, whoever's playing Indians' beat guy today (Alex DiFilippo, no disrespect intended) said of Tomlin:

Tomlin gave up two runs in the first inning, a single run in the fourth and two more in the fifth. He looked off his game, as his velocity and command appeared to be out of sync. 

I guess the MLB At Bat numbers play this out a bit, as he worked from 83-89 with his cutter, sinker and four-seamer but, honestly, I'm not sure we should expect Josh Tomlin to remain in any kind of sync. There are very few interesting things happening with the Tribe right now, especially with the resurgent Michael Brantley back on the shelf and the formerly resurgent Matt LaPorta now just insurgent, acting in opposition of his own modest success. I'll try to highlight a couple of items of wonder, though:

  • Travis Hafner, for all the crap he still takes in Tweetletown, is, actually, fine when he plays. Hafner's OPS readings by month (starting with Mar/Apr) are 664, 909, 761, 839, 984. Overall OPS is 809. DH ain't what it used to be (or maybe it never was what I thought it was) and, while Hafner's contract and health status make him something southwest and opposite of the word "valuable", his production is not in and of itself infuriating. Your 2010 Indians: not inherently infuriating-only infuriating in context!
  • Giovanni (vany?) Soto went again tonight for Lake County and he was not special; however, he's struck out 27 in 27 IP for the LC Captains and, while he's got a bad homerun problem right now, appears to be more than fair value for Jhonny Peralta and his sub 700 OPS. Peralta, for his part, isn't carrying any grudges and has done nothing to hurt the Indians in this series. Anybody else think Peralta might be an NRI somewhere next year? 
  • We might as well start arguing about what's in Chun-Hsiu Chen's craw in his ID photo (early reports indicate "Ryan GoleskI's career") because he's officially nearing the center of the radar screen. He had another big night tonight, with a walk and a double, he's improved his plate discipline in the transition from A to A+ and he's going to finish the year having smoked two levels from a key defensive position (though who knows if his career at catcher will last). 
  • If you haven't heard, Jason Knapp made his full-season debut for the Indians yesterday. He was everything advertised, fanning 7 in just 4 IP while not surrendering a hit. Knapp, still just 19, has the potential to change the Indians minor league landscape substantially with a healthy 2011. The Indians have long lacked in impact arms among their pitching prospects, instead stockpiling pitchers who rely on precision and guile until they reach the major leagues, at which point they fail miserably while relying on precision and guile. I wrote just a few days that Carrasco has an impact arm and he, along with Knapp and Justin Masterson, were seemingly acquired in direct response to the Indians lack of "nasty." Knapp is the crown jewel of this whole endeavor, at least from what we've heard. If you want to get yourself excited in anticipation of having you dreams crushed, here's your pre-injury quote:

Kevin Goldstein: I'm glad people are enjoying the daily prospect bit, I'm certainly enjoying getting it out there and it just gets us talking about more prospect. Knapp's upside is TREMENDOUS. Plus-plus velocity, big power frame, just needs innings and honing of all the stuff around the big heater.

Finally, let me just ask the Indians personally, if y'all are going to be this bad can you at least be spectacular in some way? Donald, can you yell at Tomlin in the dugout? Valbuena, are you willing to leak a report about Andy Marte mocking Acta's hats? Hafner, can you explain, in detail, what you do with all your money and why you deserve it? 

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