June 4, 2013
Let me preface this recap with this: I'm not that surprised that the Indians have gone into a tailspin of late because they're playing good teams. This team was not as good as they were for most of May, and they aren't as bad as they've looked over the past two weeks.
Tonight the Indians found a rather boring way to lose: both teams scored their runs in one at-bat, and for the rest of the night nothing happened. Until Mike Aviles singled in the seventh inning, the only hit of the game was a Drew Stubbs infield hit. The Indians did walk six times, but it's really hard to score without hitting them where they ain't. Fortunately, the one extra-base hit of the game came at the right time (two outs in the seventh inning), for when Drew Stubbs hit one out over the short porch in right, the Indians had two on. Suddenly a 4-0 game became a 4-3 game.
The Indians had the similar situation in the eighth. Actually, it was a better situation than the inning before, for there were two runners on with nobody out. And this would probably be the opportunity to tie or take the lead, as the Indians hadn't gotten to Mariano Rivera in over a decade. Nick Swisher, who, like most of his teammates, had been struggling at the plate lately, hit a line drive, but it was hit right at the second baseman. No big deal, right? Well, it became a big deal when Jason Kipnis broke the wrong way off second and was easily doubled up. That short-circuited the inning, and the Indians predictably went 1-2-3 against Rivera.
I sense a lot of frustration with Scott Kazmir from the folks here, but I'm not sure where it's coming from. Tonight he went six innings and gave up four runs, which isn't a great outing by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't horrible. He hung a changeup to Mark Teixeira in the third inning, and the Yankee first baseman hammered it out of the park. After that, he got through two more innings without much further drama. His breaking pitches were very effective, perhaps as effective as they've been all season, but he either couldn't spot his fastball on the corners or he was and just didn't get them called strikes.
Had the Indians scored in the eighth inning, the bottom of the seventh would have been a seismic turning point. With the bases loaded and one out in the inning, Terry Francona called on Nick Hagadone to pitch to Robinson Cano. Nick Hagadone? Really? The guy already nicknamed Two True Outcomes facing New York's biggest power threat with the bases loaded? But give Terry Francona credit for believing in Hagadone, and Hagadone credit for rewarding his manager's faith in him. Instead of a walk, or even worse, a home run, Hagadone induced an inning-ending double play. Nick Hagadone's stuff is good enough to be effective, and that's partly why Francona has stuck with him as long as he has. Of course, Rich Hill's struggles is also why Hagadone is still getting these opportunities.
In the ninth inning, Mike Aviles fouled a pitch off at the plate, but he didn't think he did. He and home plate umpire Tony Randazzo got into it, and after Aviles flew out to end the game, they got into some more. Had the game gone longer, I'm pretty sure Aviles would have gotten tossed, and the Indians coaching staff had to separate the two. Yeah, Aviles was frustrated, and flew off the handle a bit, but the umpire (in this case Randazzo) just needs to shut up and walk away. In a lot of recent incidents, an umpire has turned what was just an argument into something more serious by being confrontational. Yeah, the blown calls have been getting the headlines, but I think the confrontational attitude shown by a lot of umpires is just as bad.
Roll Call (31 Commenters)
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