They're not... look, they're not playing bad baseball by any means. This is a team right now that's catching some bad breaks, having a few costly lapses, be it defensively, offensively, whatever, and running into good performances.
If it's not one of those things, it's another one of them. A combined effort by all. Not bad baseball being played. Not excellent of course, because if that was the case, they'd be winning games. They're not winning very many games. But they're not horrific, so, silver lining...yeah.
INDIANS - 3 | YANKEES - 4
W: David Phelps (4-3)
L: Scott Kazmir (3-3)
S: Mariano Rivera (21)
I mean, David Phelps, who? The guy that went toe-to-toe with Justin Masterson last month, comes out and does it again. He one-hits the Indians through six innings. Sure he walked four, but spread them out and when you limit to one hit, you are allowed those passes. Because walks don't hurt when the other team is getting hits.
And that one hit? Shoot, debatable of if it was even a real hit. Certainly not a well-hit ball by Stubbs in the third.
So that's what happens. You got that good performance. Francona said that it wasn't often you could make a pitcher work that much into his pitch count and not come away with more than one hit, and praised Phelps for his effort.
Thankfully, the walks did allow the Indians to run his pitch count up and the inning after he exited, managed to find themselves a way into getting some runs. It was not for a lack of opportunities that the Indians didn't win this game. Because while it was limited to one big time run scoring opportunity in the eighth (more on that later), it was a golden opportunity. The other instance came in the seventh with, guess what? Two outs! And it came off that goof Joba Chamberlain. Must have had a midge up his nose.
And it was again, Drew Stubbs. The three run shot was huge, it brought the guys within one and sort of validated the start Scott Kazmir put in. He wasn't amazing, but thanks to the Stubbs homer, you an say he definitely kept his team within striking distance, especially with the way the other guy was pitching.
You can't really argue with Kazmir's outing. Only walked a few in addition to the hits, so he minimized damage, got some big strikeouts at points, and while he did give up the home run, it was one bad inning and the rest was pretty golden. Kazmir may argue with it though, saying that his few mistakes were the difference
"There are a couple of pitches that I wish I had back, that's for sure," Kazmir said. "That's all the difference in the game."
The problem was the way the offense couldn't come through. Not early, not late. I'm going to get to the eighth in the random notes, but you won't win many games when you really only have one opportunity like they did in the eighth inning. Yeah hey scored in the seventh, but guess what. It came with two outs as usual and it was just one opportunity out of none that existed for them.
"We haven't been playing our best baseball," Swisher said. "We haven't been playing up to our potential. We need to take a good look in the mirror and really turn things around, because we don't want to fall into ways of the past. This is a new year, and we need to understand that."
It's people like that right there (Swisher), that makes you believe that things will be different than last year. This isn't the demise of our Tribe. It's just a rough spot. It has to be, especially with the pitching they're getting. The offense will turn it up sooner or later here.
I forgot to mention how boneheaded of a play Justin Masterson made on Monday when he cut off a throw to the plate that would have surely cut the runner down and saved a run. I remembered that I forgot because I was reminded how boneheaded it was after Mark Reynolds made the second boneheaded play in as many nights when he he took a few good seconds to stare at a second base on a Ichiro bunt with no outs and a runner on.
Yet, situation was saved when Nick Hagadone.... YES I just said Nick Hagadone and saved in the same sentences, unfortunately, I got so excited and flaberghasted at the same time that I couldn't even finish the situation. So does it really count? Yes it does! Nick Hagadone came with bases juiced against the Yankees best hitter, and one out and did the impossible. Got a ground ball double play to end the inning. Betcha didn't see that one coming. I didn't. Seriously, who did? You did? Go play the lottery, because the odds are in your favor.
"That was a big part of the game," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "[Hagadone] rose to the occasion."
Getting doubled off on second in the eighth is usually boneheaded, but really, was nothing anyone could do. Swisher hit it right on the nose and Kipnis was dead in the water regardless. He's too far out, he did what he was supposed to do and stopped. No fault of him or anyone else. Just a rough break the way it was hit right to second very sharply. It ended the Indians best chance to rally late after the big double play Hagadone got a half-inning before.
"Swish leaned all over that ball," Francona said. "That's as good a swing as you're going to see. He just hit it right at somebody. But I'll take that swing every day."
Santana had two walks and scored a run, but if not for Drew Stubbs, no offense as we went over. Stubbs had half the hits and the reason all the runs were knocked in.
And when you look at it, Mark Teixeira has been the lone-equalizer for the Yankees in these two games, a pair of big homers that accounts for all 7 of his RBI this season.
Reid Brignac, Chris Stewart, David Phelps, Boone Logan, insert 3-4 aging vets... Robinson Cano, CC, and a returning Mark Teixeira. These are the New York Yankees. I'm just a little amazed, that is all.
The umpiring sucks, yada yada, blah blah, you know the drill by now. Mike Avile got run after the phantom strike call way above his head. Of course the umpire thought the ball went off Aviles' bat, but it didn't. It was a mistake, but not one you should be making. Aviles didn't like it. He said something, and was tossed. But it was at the tail end of the game. It stemmed from something earlier in the game. Point being, the umpire sucks. And this is nothing we didn't know before hand.
Doesn't seem real necessary to get really in-depth with this, considering we spent some time on it yesterday, but of course, the Indians made things official with Asdrubal Cabrera. There is really no timetable, only that we know the strained quadriceps injury should hold him out at least a month when all is said and done.
So the Indians will have to go at it without Cabrera for all that time. They'll survive, as they did with Michael Bourn for a few weeks. Either way, the Indians are not going to put a definitive time table on things because it all depends on the healing process, which is unknown.
"It's just going to be on how quickly he heals," Francona said. "Nobody knows that, so that's just kind of where it is. ... It could be three to four weeks, but again, that's a guess on their part, and in all fairness to Cabby, it heals when it heals. We'll hope for the best."
Francona has been nothing but positive about Aviles taking over and as we saw on Tuesday, Michael Brantley slid right into that the three spot in the lineup, so in that aspect, they should also be good. To replace Cabrera on the roster and give the Indians another option to play short, they've called up Juan Diaz. Who's not been hitting the ball very well in Columbus.
"He wasn't swinging it terribly well in Triple-A; that happens," Francona said. "Mike Aviles is going to get the majority of the playing time, but that depends on things happening, too. The nice thing is that this is where the versatility of our club should help us a lot."
So why not say Cord Phelps? I think probably because Phelps isn't as regular of a shortstop as Diaz, and when Aviles does not play, they'll need that bench player to play there. They really have no backup now with their backup now in the lineup regularly. You may also have those games were Aviles plays at second, leaving that gap open. Or you could see them using Ryan Raburn at second two in those situations. You just have to cover your bases.
Either way, with Cabrera, the Indians shortstop situation looks really good because your best bench player (who could start for most teams) is the backup there. When that situation now becomes your best bench player being put into the starting lineup, and his backup is Juan Diaz, that situation is a little more dire.
So hopefully Aviles stays healthy, as does everyone else in that infield situation.
J.C. Romero will be in Columbus on Thursday to take a physical. If he passes, he'll sign this contract with the Indians. With Columbus, but not really playing is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who threw a bullpen session yesterday. He doesn't look to be in a line for a start anytime soon, nor a realistic option the way everyone else is pitching an staying healthy.
You won't see them call Romero up any time soon, and you may not see them give up Rich Hill anytime soon either. Hill has already been marked as someone to help shoulder the recent load. Right now, things are just not going well for the left-handed reliever. So not well, that Terry Francona went to Hags in that bases loaded, one out situation in the seventh.
"He looked like he was starting to get frustrated," Francona said of Hill on Tuesday. "You could tell by his body language on the mound and on the field. We want to help him be consistent in his release point, which I think will help."
"He'll get just as hot as he got cold," Francona said. "Rather than run away from him, we want to help him, because he will help us. His arm is good. He's healthy and the ball is live and he's got action. We've just got to get him back into a consistent release point and get him feeling confident."
With Barnes gone this is very much the Rich Hill lefty-matchup show if he can get it going. So he's even more counted on now at this juncture where the pen isn't doing so hot and the one guy that Tito can trust as a left-handed guy is pitching very atrociously. You almost feel as if he can't trust Hagadone, yet he has to use him, because....Well, who else does he have?
Zach McAllister is dealing with a little soreness in a finger on his pitching finger. Expect his next start to be pushed back, something possible with the off day on Thursday. The Indians are being very careful to reiterate that this isn't serious, given the history they've had with this type of stuff, I can understand why.
"It was difficult," said McAllister, who is 4-5 with a 3.43 ERA this season. "I had times where it felt really good, but there were other times where I might've let it get in my head a little bit, and I was babying pitches instead of letting it go. It definitely made it more difficult than I would've liked. I just don't want it to get any worse than it was, so we're taking advantage of the off-day and trying to get it better."
That means the rotation turns right back around after the Ubaldo/Verlander III matchup. Masterson goes Saturday and Scott Kazmir will go again on Sunday. Corey Kluber will lead off the Texas series and that is when McAllister will re-join the fray.
McAllister and Vinnie Pestano took a visit to the Fan Cave. They talked about their draft experiences...yawwnnnn...I mean no, that is, cool. Dude.
Of course, this has nothing on the last time Vinnie Pestano visited the Fan Cave as "The Rookie" in one of the greatest videos ever filmed.
Frank approves... Sadly, I couldn't find the thumbs-up .gif file of Frank Herrmann that I made years ago. If someone has it, you should probably send that to me, for posterity.
To return to seriousness, both actually share some cool stories, from McAllister's relatively early draft experience, to Vinnie's uncertainty thanks to blowing out his elbow. The camera work is also shoddy. Wait, what? No...
Nino is in full baseball mode here and on The Tribe Daily, his own Indians blog. Don't miss all the fun, photoshopped Indians players, and LOLTribe ridiciulousness.