June 5, 2013
This is getting repetitive. An Indians starter gives up home runs early, and the Indians can only manage to claw within a run or two. That script was used again today, for Corey Kluber gave up a two-run homer in the first inning to former Tribe player Travis Hafner (after Michael Bourn's error earlier in the inning got Hafner to the plate). Then in the second inning he imploded, giving up four runs, including a three-run homer by Brett Gardner. But Kluber did stay in the game, and got the Indians through the sixth. That didn't really help the Indians today, as the deficit was too much for them to overcome, but it might help later in the road trip, as Terry Francona didn't have to use the entire bullpen.
Meanwhile CC Sabathia, the last former Cy Young winner in the AL that the Indians had yet to face, was dominating the Tribe offense. After their hot May, the Indians as a team have gone into a slump. And Sabathia took advantage of that, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning, and going the distance to wrap up the New York victory.
The question isn't what's wrong with this club, but what's right. The answer: not much. The rotation has not been August 2012-bad, but it's given up big innings early in games, and because the offense is running on just a cylinder or two, those big early deficit have consigned the Indians to the defeat column early. And the bullpen, which for the first six weeks of the season had been a strength, has really fallen on hard times, as Chris Perez is on the DL (not to mention today's troubles), Vinnie Pestano is not 100% yet, and the middle relief has been for the most part awful. To wit: in the seventh inning, Francona tried to get through things with Matt Langwell and Rich Hill. Langwell walked ninth-place hitter Chris Stewart on four pitches, and then Rich Hill had to be extricated after loading the bases with two outs. Joe Smith had to be called on to get the Indians out of that inning, and while that might work in the short-term, you can't do that over the course of the season. Langwell probably isn't long for the roster, but then again, neither is Rich Hill the way he's pitching.
The Indians did manage to make a game of it with two runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh, but that early 6-0 hole was too much to dig out of. The Indians have now lost four in a row, and eight in a row on the road with a series in Detroit and a series in Texas next up.
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