MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 9: Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on September 9, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Marilyn Indahl/Getty Images)
It's a good thing the rosters have expanded, or else the bullpen would be in really bad shape.
At this point in the season the only thing the Indians are playing for is pride, and perhaps to see if any of the minor-league callups can be bench players on next year's team. I kid (a little bit), but there really isn't any future starters among the position players the Indians have brought up, and the September pitchers have even less upside (with the possible exception of Scott Barnes).
In truth, there's three players that didn't start the season in Cleveland that have good chances to be everyday players, or in the rotation: Lonnie Chisenhall (who is working his back from injury), Zach McAllister, and Corey Kluber. There's also Carlos Carrasco, who is beginning to pitch again, but he's not likely to return to the active roster before the end of the season. That highlights the extreme talent deficits at several positions, since a team as bad as the Indians needs to have at least a potential replacement in the high minors.
With that being said. the last two games haven't been pleasant to watch with 2013 in mind, for both McAllister and Kluber had to be taken out they even got to the fifth inning. McAllister's nemesis last night was a neverending third inning, in which he threw over 50 pitches.
For Kluber, his Waterloo was the fourth, and he didn't survive it. The Indians had just scored a fourth run in the top of the inning, taking the lead 4-3, and they had already chased Minnesota starter Esmerling Vasquez. But Kluber couldn't handle both offensive success and a defensive miscue. Jason Kipnis bobbled a grounder off the bat of Darin Mastroianni, and couldn't recover in time to throw out the speedy left fielder. Then Mastroianni stole second and went to third when Kluber's pitch went to the backstop. Then Pedro Florimon singled him home (a bloop over the drawn-in infield), and the process started all over again; Florimon stole second, and scored on a Ben Revere single. Then Revere stole second, and after finally getting the second out of the inning, that was it for Kluber.
Kluber finished his day having thrown 83 pitches, 57 of them for strikes; that's a decent ratio, but he allowed eight hits, and some of them were actually of the legitimate variety. Minnesota scored three runs off him in the third on three straight hits; a LGFT Jamey Carroll single, a Joe Mauer triple, and a Justin Morneau home run, the first of two on the day (more on that later). So the dinks and dunks wasn't the real cause of his early exit, but more of finishing touch.
The Indians would score seven runs on the day, and would score in four of their nine at-bats. Carlos Santana hit his 15th home run, tying him for the team lead (!), which is good for Santana and bad for the Indians, who at this point won't have a single hitter top the 20 home run mark. Santana would have three hits on the day, and also would drive home another run on a 5th-inning double.
But the Twins would dog the Indians all day, and take back the lead three times: in the fourth (5-4), seventh (7-6) and finally in the ninth (8-7 on Justin Morneau's walk-off home run). Vinnie Pestano - who is the closer-in-waiting - gave up the home run with two outs in the inning.