At this point we should just be looking to run the clock out of August. It seems silly to think that a new month will produce any other results, but with just five wins this month, maybe moving the calendar over will bring some sort of different feel.
August 28th, 2012
Oakland Athletics - 7
Cleveland Indians - 0
W: Tommy Milone (11-9) W: Zach McAllister (5-5)
Yeah the Indians on the verge of getting swept yet again and even worse, they've yet to score a run in this series. They've now been shut-out for 22 straight innings, a season-high for them. Even when they lost 11-straight they managed to at least score some runs.
And now you have to start wondering, what is this team doing? How can a team that at least has some sort of talent on it go out and be this embarrassing? Jason Kipnis said exactly that, they're playing embarrassing baseball in all aspects.
And they did exactly that against Oakland. Everyone actually had a hit except for Brantley and Donald, but following up eight hits, the Indians went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, a common theme for them during this incredible span of losing.
Zach McAllister wasn't real sharp, lending to a bad start by putting the team down four runs after three innings. A few errors were made, one late in the ninth by Shin-Soo Choo that allowed the A's to put up a few more runs.
So yeah, in all aspects of the game, that was quite embarrassing.
"We've just got to play with a little bit more urgency than we are," Kipnis said. "We should be able to play spoiler right now and have some fun and be a little bit more relaxed. I don't know what's holding the guys back. We should be playing with a little bit more pep in our step, because we've got nothing to lose right now. We might as well go out there and have fun. If we're already going to lose every game, we might as well have a good attitude."
So here's my question... I know this team doesn't enjoy losing. No team is going to go out there and lose and be okay with it.
But where is that urgency? Why does this team go out there and end with these results? Are they really satisfied with all of this right now? I know they don't like it, no one likes it. It's a damn shame... But is this team that devoid of any sort of talent that they can't come up with a clutch hit at ANY point in the game.
I mean that's probably the most embarrassing part of them all. We know they can hit, I mean eight hits is a good amount. But how do you not cash in? How do you not get any of those hits when people are in a position to score?
"Offensively, we just couldn't do much," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We couldn't execute at all. It started from the first inning. And then when we had second and third with no outs, we struck out back-to-back and couldn't put the ball in play. That really hurt us there.We need to score some runs now that we're pitching better. We have scored six runs [through five games] on the whole homestand. That's not going to get it done."
I mean yeah, I'll give pitching their due, they have been better. Still not great, but you don't even give yourself a chance when you score as many runs as the Indians have on this homestand, which still hasn't change from when I brought it up on Monday due to the two shutouts: 4.
Think about that for a second. Four runs in six games. Just think about that for a second. Now your not even averaging a run per game. Now you're just looking pathetic.
I guess if the team is trying, but they're not getting results, but there is no real sense of urgency, it builds up into a "okay when is this going to be over" type of a mentality. Not that they're not going out and not giving effort, but they're going out and almost expecting things to just magically turn around.
"It's hard," Kipnis said. "Guys are putting a lot of pressure on themselves to be the ones who snap the team out of the funk. It's go to be a team effort. Guys are just looking to -- I don't know -- they're looking to get back into it and get back into the flow of things. We're kind of waiting for things to happen. I don't think that's the way to go about it. We can't sit back and wait for a win to happen."
Yeah that's exactly what it is, which is crazy because that's the mentality that WE'RE supposed to take. That's the fan outlook. That's what I've been saying for the past few weeks. Okay, when is this going to be over? When is the wound going to close up enough to stop the bleeding?
No player should be thinking that. The players should be out there thinking that they need to stop the bleeding themselves, not wondering when it will stop. Save the wondering to the fans.
And again, that is not to say the Indians are going out there and not giving any effort. That is not the case. This team is not dogging it. They haven't packed it in or given up. But they are just floundering around out there waiting to be saved. They're a fish out of water, almost without control, just hoping for some body of water to flop into to end the slow and steady feeling of not being able to breathe.
That's all it is. It isn't Zach McAllister going less-than five or the 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. It isn't the errors by Lillibridge and Choo, or the multiple chances earlier in the game to score runs to perhaps make it a close game.
It isn't any of that. It's just a fish out of water looking for something, anything, anyone to get them back where they belong. But right now, no one is doing them any favors. They have to find their own way back to the wetlands. No one is just going to pick them up and throw them in.
Just for the sake of brutality. The Indians had two on and less than two outs in the first and fourth and they had two on in the third. They also had a guy on second in four innings and got a runner to third just once, but it was with nobody out. That is probably the most key situation that the Indians fumbled last night. Exactly what Manny Acta was talking about with Lillibridge doubling with no outs to put Duncan on third. Then back-to-back strikeouts by Casey Kotchman and Jason Donald and a groundout by Jason Kipnis.
Yet just an inning earlier, Choo and Santana singled back-to-back times. It's like they are an inning behind. In fact between the third and the fourth starting with the two hits by Choo and Santana, in five straight at-bats, the Indians had four hits. It's just that they sandwiched the third out of the third inning and then followed it up with strikeouts. What other team can get four hits in five at-bats and not score a run?
Like I mentioned all but two people had hits, Donald and Brantley, and Santana had a pair of them. Choo was on twice with an additional walk, but that was the only one of the game. That's another thing that I brought up awhile ago too. Where is the walking? Where is the patient hitting the team was doing earlier when they led the way in walks? Why are they only getting one a game? That is really concerning. It probably plays into the fact that they're pressing for hits at the right time and just coming up dry.
If not for the error Joe Smith probably doesn't give up two runs (both were unearned), probably just one, so tip your hat to the bullpen for sticking things where they were for the time they were in. Tony Sipp and Esmil Rogers didn't allow a baserunner and combined for six strikeouts in almost four innings. Add on McAllister's eight in just under five and the Indians sure managed to get the strikeout pitch to work as Joe Smith had two for a grand total of 16.
So of the 27 outs the Indians did record, most came via the strikeout.
After exiting Monday's game with a right ankle injury, Roberto Hernandez will test things out today to see if he has to miss a start or not.
"The test is going to be tomorrow," Indians manager Manny Acta said prior to Tuesday's game against the A's. "That's his side day, his bullpen. [Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff] is very optimistic that it's nothing serious and that he's going to be OK."
According to Lonnie Soloff he has a little inflammation, but I think it is safe to assume that it is nothing serious. Whether or not whatever is wrong prevents him from making his next start though is the question. If it doesn't feel completely right he's not going to want to go out there and throw 100 pitches and land on it 100 times.
The Indians want to know what they're getting from him though, they have a rather reasonable option that they could exercise for another year of Fausto and if he's worth it, they'll want to do it. So they need to see him as many times as possible out on that mound to properly determine if he can get the job done. So far, so good I'd say. He's at least going out there and being some sort of a consistent starter. It's certainly better than what they were getting and it's still only a few starts. I'm sure if anything he's still trying to get up to speed and proper conditioning for major league games.
This ankle thing certainly won't help matters, but if it doesn't even hold him out of a game, then that is a great thing.
On the other hand we have Asdrubal Cabrera playing through the pain and uncomfort. He started Cabrera at DH last night, opting to give his legs a rest in the field, something Cabrera has been battling now as the season moves on. He had an off day on Monday so today will be the first time he's played shortstop in a few days.
Some, including myself, may wonder why Cabrera isn't properly conditioned as he's now worn down two years in a row now.
"It's something that he has to look into," Acta said, "and see what's going to work for him, whether it's resting more in the first half, which is something that at times you just can't afford to do. you're playing. We're here to win. Or, the preparation. Whatever it is, I'm not going to go and say that is a trend."
Right because two is a confidence and three is a trend, right? Of course I'm joking, but you have to wonder if it is perhaps more rest in the first half. Acta would play Cabrera's legs off, and now he literally has played them off as the guy is sore and fatigued already, it's not even September yet.
Of course I see a little bit of what Acta is saying numbers wise. He put up an excellent first half in 2011 and expecting him to repeat that in the second half, or even in 2012 is unlikely. And his drop off from the first half of this year to the second half has not been that drastic.
But this isn't so much a numbers issue now than it is an actual health issue as the guy has been giving two straight days off from playing his regular position. He's battling some soreness. Maybe he just got sore and it happened and that's that. I don't know. Or maybe Acta has played his legs off, either one is certainly possible.
For a guy like Chris Seddon, he isn't really going to show the Indians anything that will make them bring him back next year, unless it is another minor league deal. Let's be honest, he's a depth guy and even if is pitching decent right now, this is about getting younger arms some action at some point. Next year will be about moving forward. Seddon isn't moving forward.
"I've just got to get guys out and try to put up the best numbers that I can," Seddon said. "If things work out and next year I'm here, I would love that. I like the guys here. I like Cleveland.
"But if things happen and I go somewhere else, then hopefully I've put up the right numbers and somebody else will give me a shot. I'd love to be here, though."
Good guy, putting up decent numbers right now for a team that has been abandoned by every option they've turned to. But not a guy you sign next year for the major leagues. What Seddon is doing right now is for himself. He needs to go out there and put up numbers or put up a performance that impresses other teams. He's a depth guy and he needs to show other teams he can provide them some depth or some sort of option.
I hope he does it, it would be good for him. But I doubt he does anything that makes Cleveland keep him around, unless it is in the same role as last year.
The Indians are hopeful that after he has now progressed to infield and outside batting practice, Lonnie Chisenhall can begin a Double-A rehab assignment with the Akron Aeros. With the playoffs approaching, we may be in for an extra treat in Akron with Chisenhall being around.
With six games left and a 4.5 lead in the division, they can all but wrap up the Western Division of the Eastern League tonight with a win and a Bowie loss. With the magic number at three, it's all but done.
Nino has a blog! Give it a visit at The Tribe Daily, because his caught stealing percentage is higher than 12 percent. He also didn't notice that the word visit was typo-ed for quite some time.