Merry June! The Indians started the month off on a great foot, blasting the Jays. Although it ended up being a four run game, the offense did their job early and pretty much made it a no-doubter.
June 1st, 2011
Cleveland Indians - 13
Toronto Blue Jays - 9
W: Josh Tomlin (7-2) L: Kyle Drabek (3-4)
I could have done without the four-run game in the end, but you take what you get. The story was hardly about Josh Tomlin, who gave up six runs, but still went six innings yet again.
Tomlin was pitching a shutout up until the fifth inning. It was in the fifth and sixth when he gave up three runs in each, citing a loss of command. Was he finally being done in by the long periods of inactivity due to the offense? Perhaps.
"I was just missing over the middle of the plate too much," Tomlin said. "I don't know if I was trying to do too much or not, but the ball was just leaking in to righties and I couldn't get my cutter down and away. It was tough for me to find the outer part of the plate."
The good news is he had a 12 run lead, so even though he gave up six runs, it wasn't that big of a deal. He walked just one and struck out a career high seven. I'd rather him strike out two hitters and give up three runs though.
The runs in the fifth came as a part of that odd three-straight triples cycle Rajai Davis, Eric Thames, and Jayson Nix went through. That's the first time since 1981 that has ever happened.
Tomlin was not at his best, but the offense was and their extended period of time out on the diamond may have caused Tomlin to lose some sharpness, so, I wouldn't be worrying about the six spot in the final two innings.
Acta mentions that the road trip ended on a .500 note, which you wouldn't believe if you looked at the doom and gloom that was going on just a few days ago. But after a nice pitching performance from Talbot, and a offensive explosion here last night, things seem all better in Tribe land. Not only that, the club is heading home, the place where opponents come in for their ultimate doom.
"I'm pretty happy with the way the guys bounced back," Acta said. "Losing the first one as ugly as we did, coming back from a shutout in Tampa, and then bouncing back [Tuesday] and today, and swinging the bat that well, it's good to see."
It was good to see. It was good to get the reassurance that the offense is still there more than anything. And boy is the offense still there. Asdrbual had himself another game, collecting four more hits, three of them doubles. That effort now puts him ahead of Grady Sizemore by one, who also doubled.
Sizemore's double set the tone in the first. With the bases loaded, Sizemore gapped one to clear the bases. It pretty much set the tone for Toronto's night. Kyle Drabek couldn't even get through the entire order once. He walked three, gave up three hits, and recorded two outs. The final straw was a walk to Jack Hannahan and he was yanked. John Farrell said it was just time to make the move. If his bullpen would have put up some zeros, that move would have been very calculated and might have worked in terms of saving the game.
But they did not, most notably, Shawn Camp.
Sizemore was one of three Indians to collect 3 RBI. Cabrera was another and Matt LaPorta hit a three-run bomb. Those are the types of hits you want to see from LaPorta. He's hitting lower in the lineup, so he'll likely get those pitches to hit with multiple guys on base. You want to see him collecting the big bombs with guys on base. That was refreshing to see. His home run was kind of the hit that put it out of doubt, even though they went on to score multiple runs in that third inning.
The third inning was hard to watch. Even as a fan of the team that was taking advantage of it. It was hard to watch pitiful defense like that. It was brought up to me on Twitter that the inning was reminiscent of that inning against Kansas City back in 2005 when they gave up 11 runs in the ninth, mainly due to dropped pop-ups and fly balls.
They started the inning off with two doubles off Mike MacDougal, then a single to make it 3-7. At that point there was a strikeout and a double, then a single and a fielder's choice created the second out, and made it 7-5. Just an ordinary, can't close it out type of a deal. Then Jeff Liefer (whatever happened to that guy? stance was like Johnny Damon's.) hit a ball to left field that Emil Brown inexplicably dropped. It was only one error, but it was incredible because it let up one more run to score and then a hit later the game was tied.
Then Jimmy Gobble came in, like he did for Kansas City a lot back in those days. And got pounced on.
That game was more of a comparison to what happened last night in the third (a bad misplay by Rajai Davis and a dropped pop-up by Yunel Escobar though is far worse) than what I was reminded with. It was also against the Royals and it was an 11 run first inning, which may have happened to Drabek if he wasn't yanked. It happened a year after that previously mentioned game.
Luke Hudson was pitching (pitching in quotation marks) and he ended up giving up 10 earned runs. There was a error made in that first inning, but it was on a ground ball.
Either way, that was an incredible inning. It made you bury your face into your hands, even if you were an Indians fan. That's just bad baseball. It was probably due to the fact that the pitching in front of them was putting the defense to sleep, but those were just inexcusable errors.
A quiet three-hit night for Travis Buck. He didn't knock in any runs, but scored a few times.
Almost everyone had a hit, including Adam Everett who knocked in his first run of the season. It only took till June, but if he couldn't get one in this game, he never would have. To be fair, Everett isn't swinging a stick that seems like it weighs 100 pounds this year.
The one guy who didn't have a hit had a five-game hit streak going. Carlos Santana did not get a hit, but he walked three times on the evening and scored twice. The guy is just a walk-machine.
If you were wondering what I was and if this was Frank Herrmann's first appearance of an inning or more not giving up a run, it is not. He did go three scoreless the other day in Tampa. I know that was so forgettable. He's given up a run in every other appearance this season, other than a game in which he recorded one out against the Angels.
Alright let's just find a way to do it.
Come hell or high water, we need to get Asdrubal Cabrera into the All-Star game as the STARTER. None of this business making it as a reserve. Let's make sure the universe doesn't suck and put someone like Derek Jeter, who is hitting .264 on the season, only Cliff Pennington and Alcides Escobar rank lower among AL qualified shortstops.
Cabrera is close. He's second. Which is higher than I thought he would be. Our Write in Hannahan campaign lost a lot of steam and it was mainly due to Hannahan not hitting, duh. But this is for real now. We can topple Jeter. I know there is a fan base out there that can get to work. Right now, Jeter is nearing 1M votes. Cabrera has a 672K. Yes, that is a lot, but this is the city that got Peyton Hillis on the cover of Madden. If they are truly passionate about something, it will happen.
So implore you to reach for that passion and right a serious wrong that is on the ballot right now. Get Cabrera into the game, spread the word, vote every day. Make up fake e-mails. Do stuff! It has to be done.
This isn't just on the fans to vote though. The organization has to promote him. I thought it was cool they had little "Vote Choo" and "Vote Asdrubal" graphics during the games on STO, but that isn't enough. They've got to launch a complete campaign on this. Cabrera can never win without a mass outpouring of support and publicity from the team. If they tell the greater public, the casual fans who would vote, they reaching a whole audience that the diehards cannot reach.
In other voting news...
Carlos Santana is fourth among catchers, nearing the 400K mark. Russell Martin leads with 840K. Orlando Cabrera is also fourth among second basemen, as is Travis Hafner int he DH department. If Pronk didn't get hurt, he'd have a legit chance as it is wide open. He already has 400K, but the leader is Michael Young with just near 650K.
Grady Sizemore has more votes than any other Indian other than Asdrubal. He's got 450K, but is eighth among outfielders. Choo has 366K.
Man, Hannahan not even listed. Come on, let's see how many votes we got him!
If you are like me, you noticed a slight change to Carlos Santana's stance. He doesn't look like full-on Victor Martinez anymore. One thing he did Tuesday night was eliminate the toe tap which was something Acta and hitting coach Jon Nunnally have been working on eliminating with Santana for some time now.
"He made that switch [Tuesday]. The other days, he was still doing the toe tap, but we were still trying to get him on time. He was still a little bit late, but once we got him on time, doing only the leg kick put him right where he needed to be."
I think the toe tap has made him look slightly different up at the plate. His bat is a little closer to his shoulder if you ask me.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
I was going to make yesterday the last day, but I had a compelling case made on Facebook about it being bad luck. I've had the Peralta shirt hanging on my window for the entire year and refuse to move it. So.. Yeah I'll go ahead and concur with that idea. So the Perez Tweet Watch stays. Perez did give up a pair last night(although another unearned run).
Days Without a Tweet: 15
You can follow Nino on Twitter @TheTribeDaily where he tweets about old games against Kansas City. You can also read more Morning Rundown and other features at his blog, The Tribe Daily.