If Miguel Cabrera didn't play for the Tigers, the Indians might have an even better record against the Tigers than they already do. Not that he's overly killed them compared to anyone else. I mean the rest of baseball would feel better about themselves if Cabrera wasn't terrorizing pitching rotations and bullpens.
September 5th, 2012
Cleveland Indians - 1
Detroit Tigers - 7
W: Doug Fister (8-8) L: Ubaldo Jimenez (9-15)
The overriding problem with last night was not so much Miguel Cabrera's dominance as a hitter but Doug Fister's effectiveness. We saw this last year from Fister after the Tigers acquired him from Seattle. He came in, settled right into that role they need him to fill and then some.
It's happened in a very similar fashion this year, only Fister is coming off some time spent on the disabled list and not another team. He's very much filled right into what the Tigers need him to be and you saw that last night.
The Indians hit as well as I felt last night. Which was absolutely miserable. Like seriously, my allergies are ripping me to shreds right now. So much so I wonder how this rundown was even possible. The way I see it.
Miguel Cabrera + Allergies = Nino in Bed.
However someone must have thrown an unknown variable into the mix because here it is, the Rundown in it's full glory trying to battle through yet another Ubaldo Jimenez start. It could have been the first NFL game that was keeping my attention, or perhaps the eye-drops that suddenly relieved my misery. But either way, that Jimenez guy, he was on the mound.
"That's the way this season has gone for me," said Jimenez. "When I pitch bad, I lose. When I pitch good, I still lose."
... I'm not even sure what to say about that... So I'm just going to move on.
Here we've got a guy going into the seventh inning with just two runs given up, both off that Miguel Cabrera two-run shot. He'd get an out, then walk and surrender a triple. End of the rope was clearly reached, time to move on.
From there, Cody Allen didn't really get out of the inning quickly as you would have liked, he got hit around a bit, but that isn't what we're focused on.
You have to applaud the effort Mr. Jimenez threw out there last night. I know things got rough towards the end, but it wasn't till towards the end that he surrendered his only walk of the game. It wasn't till towards the end when he gave up the third and fourth runs (one of which he didn't actually give up).
And the way I see it, he exited with 96 pitches. That's significantly less than how many you'd expect Jimenez to have thrown into the eighth inning. The Indians have been getting excellent pitching lately, not even just good solid pitching but some great depth from their starters. The games with Kluber and Masterson doing a lot with so few pitches and now Ubaldo last night putting in seven innings without even reaching his usual limit.
Sure, the Indians didn't win this game, but I don't think Doug Fister was going to allow them to do that. He just pitched well, the Indians didn't have any chances, he pretty much limited them to the point where they could have just settled with another Miguel Cabrera home run and not have had to worry about playing for anymore runs.
"This was a good series for us and I'm not saying that because we won the series," said Acta. "It was a good series because we pitched well. We only had one bad inning the whole series."
But that's a loss, considering you just won the first two games of the series, that you'll gladly accept. You did nothing wrong, you didn't play too bad, you got a well-pitched game, you just simply got out-pitched by the opposition.
The one run the Indians did score was thanks to a Michael Brantley RBI-hit in the fourth inning to score Jason Kipnis. The RBI marked Brant's 57th on the season, which is one more than his father, Mickey, knocked in during one season of play. So Michael has knocked in more runs in a single season than his father.
Cody 'The Loose Cannon' struggled for perhaps the first time, not just with Cleveland, but all season. Yeah Allen has given up runs since his arrival to the Tribe but that was not pretty. Allen's shown an ability to get out of the jams he's been in up to this point, but he just couldn't battle out of that one last night. You'll have those days, especially if you were pitching in High-A ball when the season started.
So few things to mention outside of Jimenez, Allen, and Brantley, that this will be short. But seriously, you can't really blame many people when the other pitcher tosses a good game. Fister really has been good outside of one hiccup of a start on August 19th against the Orioles.
What we do need to mention is Jason Donald diving into the stands and landing on a girl and she was in a back brace. So there's that... Yeah that's a note, that's relevant. It's September, what do you want?
Chris Perez remembers how the Indians lost their ninth straight game during that awful slide in August, the first one at least. And he had that in mind when he notched save number 34 on Tuesday.
"I'll never forget that," said Perez, still able to recount the moment like it was yesterday. "Two outs, nobody on, No. 8 hitter up, up by three and you lose. That's terrible. That's unacceptable, especially the way we were going too. That was our ninth straight loss. I'll always have that in the back of my mind."
Manny Acta says that Perez was not thinking about it, but Perez said it was at least in his mind. He has moved on from the game, but has not forgot about it and uses it as a motivation to do well. It certainly showed the way he pitched in that save on Tuesday. He didn't fool around, he went after those guys and made quick work of it.
I really called out Carlos Santana earlier in August. He we really largely responsible for a lot of the offensive woes, considering this is the guy the Indians have needed to count on to get the job done in run scoring situations. Yet time and time again this season he has failed to hold up his end how you would expect.
I guess it's a good thing he's coming around, but it makes you wonder, what exactly has been the issue?
"Obviously not having [Travis] Hafner here, it puts a little bit more pressure on him because we need him producing," Acta said. "One guy makes a big difference in a lineup ."
Alright I buy that to a certain extent. I mean it makes perfect sense, except for the fact that lately, Travis Hafner has been nowhere near this lineup, so how do you explain the way he's been swinging the bat of late? It's not all Hafner not being there, it can't be. It may have a slight impact, but it isn't something you can say and tack on the word "obviously" and be so matter of fact about it.
Whether it's mental in regards to Santana, or mechanical, or physical, there is something. Something is going on there, was going on there. We know what this kid is capable of. We've seen it, we know it's there. It's not something that comes and goes, it's not something he's lost. He's simply "not good" or anything like that. He's Carlos Santana, a legit All-Star caliber hitting catcher.
This team needs Carlos Santana and they need him to do well. If he's a guy who can't handle that pressure, it's rather unfortunate. If that's the case, they need someone who can so they can move Santana down and not expect as much.
If it isn't, he needs to get his, you know what, together and start acting like a cleanup hitter all year, not just in September when it isn't really mattering all that much.
Speaking of "handling it" there was a question floated to Acta in yesterday's presser that asked him to evaluate how his team "handled" the August slide.
"I think as a team they handled it OK," Acta said. "A few guys, individually, it was very rough on them and obviously it took a toll on them mentally. But hey, that's part of developing character. We talked to them about it, and hopefully it helps them down the road. They've gone through it already. And hopefully the next time it happens they're able to draw from those experiences."
In other words, some of them handled it like absolute crap. And you know why I know this? Because they played like absolute crap at times. They played how they were handled it, which was not well. It isn't to say they didn't give effort or they didn't try, they just let the bad rut get to them and effect how they played in the field. They let the thing fester (remember that?) and it eventually got to them to the point where it manifested into a full-blown disaster of a month.
Manny isn't going to come out and say all that though, he can't. How bad do you think the team will take that if he comes out and says "Yeah, they didn't handle it very well." They're not going to handle anything well, they'll just lose all faith in humanity.
So how did they handle it? They handled it like crap and it was evident in their play. That's all there is to say about that.
Playoff Update for Minor League teams... Akron lost a tough one 2-4 against Bowie, getting just two solo shots for offense. They'll be in Bowie again before returning to Akron on Friday for the third game of the series, regardless of outcome tonight.
Carlos Carrasco did start this one and toss one shutout inning. He didn't give up a hit or a walk and struck out one hitter.
On the other side though, the Lake County Captains won their first game over Bowling Green. Francisco Lindor knocked in a pair of runs and Cody Anderson tossed three solid innings of ball in the start. Another game in Lake County tonight.
Nino has a blog! Give it a visit at The Tribe Daily, because his fridge is covered in plenty of quotes about the Cleveland Indians.