In just one week everything the Indians did has gone down the drain. Even Chicago is six games back now.
June 6th 2011
Minnesota Twins - 6
Cleveland Indians - 4
W: Scott Baker (3-4) L: Josh Tomlin (7-3) S: Matt Capps (8)
I think you can take losing games to Texas. But Minnesota is in last place. This simply isn't going to fly. This is a team with a bottom three that rivals a Everret-Marson-Hannahan bottom three.
Yet, Luke Hughes, Matt Tolbert, and Drew Butera combined to go 5-for-11 with three RBI and three runs scored.
And the Indians middle of the order? Sizemore, Santana, and Choo, combined to go 2-for-11 with two strikeouts and a pair of double plays.
Without Michael Brantley or Asdrubal Cabrera lately, this team would have virtually no offense. And all that the offense seems to be doing is hitting a home run every once and awhile. In fact, they've hit seven in the past 11 games and three of those have come from Brantley and Cabrera. Credit Acta, he continues to preach the same song. He knows what this team needs right now.
"I can't have one every single day," Acta said. "You have to let some guys settle. ... We need a couple of guys to get going, and it's not a secret. We're not going to be throwing out a new lineup every time we lose a ballgame."
Brantley and Cabrera couldn't be retired early on, but a lot of good that does if they are up there knocking themselves in and no one else is getting the job done. Brantley was 3-4, a triple short of the cycle and Cabrera was 3-4, hitting the big two-run shot in the first that should have been a shot in the arm.
After the Cabrera homer in the first, the duo was at it again in the third. Brantley and Cabrera led off the inning with singles, another opportunity to get to Baker. And what does your middle of the order do? Fly out and strike out. Bogus.
Again int he eighth, Cabrera singles, Sizemore gets hit, another first and second with no one out. Santana hits into a double play. If not for a Cuddyer fielding error, they don't even score a run in that inning.
The situational hitting right now is pretty rotten to watch. And Manny Acta continues to tinker with his lineup. He put Grady up in the three hole, backing him up with Santana and then Choo. That's the problem. Santana and Choo are not getting the job done and they are hitting in the most important parts of the lineup. It just isn't working right now and it's frustrating because they're supposed to be your two best hitters.
As for the starter, Josh Tomlin, it just wasn't a good night from the second inning on. And Tomlin is going to have those games, but when you compound it by not making plays defensively, you've got even more of a problem.
Acta claimed that the bunt opened up the floodgates, but Tomlin said he just didn't have it last night.
"I didn't feel uncomfortable out there at any point in the game," Tomlin said. "In the second inning, I've got to do a better job of making that 0-2 pitch."
Here's the thing about Tomlin though. He may not have it, but at least he gives you an effort and at least he can get you through five or six innings without killing your bullpen or letting things get out of control. Did he give up six runs? Yeah, but he gave them all up off hits and he still went six deep and kept his team in the game.
Back to that bunt play.... Yikes. Asdrubal said the defense was looking for a double play, not thinking that a bunt was in play. Of course a bunt is in play, look who you are playing! I mean, come on. This is the team that is notorious for scrapping together runs in odd ways. This is a team that is 26th in runs scored in the entire game.
The bunt is always an option. Especially with those three awesome hitters at the bottom of the order.
Seriously, this can't continue in this series. Alexi Casilla is hitting .255 and hitting second. They didn't have a single hitter over .300 when the game was over. Their best guy is Denard Span right now and he's hardly a one-man wrecking crew.
Three more strikeouts for Matt LaPorta. The guy is just racking them up.
Two incredibly solid innings for Rafael Perez, not allowing a baserunner and striking out one. The bullpen seems to have morphed back into their right form.
Jack Hannahan was back in the lineup at third base. He said the hamstring is doing good. Vinnie Pestano was available last night but went unused. Acta was anticipating Pestano to pitch, but of course didn't have the situation to pitch him in.
There's some mystery in regards to a meeting that was held prior to the game yesterday. There are several different "reports" as to what the meeting actually was or if it was even an official meeting. Either way, it was players only, the coaches were not involved and there are some tight-lips in regards to it. That link has Acta saying it was advanced scouting, while Bastian has Acta saying there was no meeting.
Bastian also had note that it was a Kangaroo Court type of a deal. And if you are unsure as to what the hell Kangaroo court is. It's a way players fine and punish each other for on/off the field stuff. Mistakes on the field, or even something as not properly doing rookie initiation or something like that.
Either way, it doesn't matter. A meeting isn't going to get Choo thinking right. A meeting isn't going to magically cure whatever issues Carlos Santana is going through. A meeting isn't going to simply make everything better. This team needs to take it upon themselves to turn this around. If the meeting helps, great, but it isn't the cure-all.
Nick Johnson was in Cleveland yesterday so the Indians could get a first-hand look at him. After that, Johnson is on his way to Columbus.
[WELCOME FRANCISCO LINDOR]
You can't help but love to hear all the stuff coming out about the Indians first round pick, Francisco Lindor.
"He comes in," Layden said. "He barehands it, takes two steps, dives and in mid-air throws the guy out. He ended up sliding and doing a somersault four feet from the first-base foul line. It was the best play I've ever seen a shortstop make."
That was Tim Layden, Lindor's high school coach, talking about a play Lindor made.
This kid sounds like a promising prospect.. There's two sides to the coin here. But actually that coin is double-sided. Lindor is just 17, won't turn 18 until November. That is A) A great thing because he has so much more room to grow and his ceiling is likely one of the highest in the draft. But also B) Dicey because a lot can happen as he grows up.
Still, the positives outweigh the negatives and the reward outweighs the risk. And this is the Indians we are talking about. It's been 11 years since they've selected a high school prospect.
"It's not often," said Brad Grant, the Indians director of amateur scouting, "that we go and scout high school players that we have the ability to say, 'This guy can play shortstop at the Major League side of things.' Often times, we go with the phrase, 'We think he can stay at short.' In this case, it's, 'This guy can play shortstop.' It's the intangibles. The instincts and the way he plays the game are pretty special."
And it also just shows you the shift in philosophy that Brad Grant has taken. Aggressiveness. Even with the strategy the past few years, Grant has still deviated away from high school players in the first round. But them taking Lindor shows that they've got a lot of belief that he was just too good to pass up.
And usually, when you take a shortstop in the first round, you take a shortstop in the first round. A lot of players, especially in high school, you take them and they played shortstop. But they won't stay there. Heck, Lonnie Chisenhall was taken as a shortstop but look where he is now.
Lindor is special, he is staying at short.
Some interesting background on the young kid. He's originally from Puerto Rico and didn't know a lick of English when he came over to Florida at the age of 12, just five years ago. So now Lindor is bi-lingual. He won a home run derby last year at PETCO Park and his high school coach says if they hit him lower and asked him to hit home runs, he could have hit a lot.
Signability? Doesn't seem to be an issue for either side. The Indians will have to go over-slot, of course that is the way it's done with high schoolers under this dumb system, but Lindor's commitment to FSU isn't much of a threat.
The draft continues today at noon. Expect more of the same from the Indians in terms of their strategy. They'll follow the same blueprint they've been following the past few season. This team will spend money on the draft if it's worth it.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
Frank Herrmann has now completed the bullpen on Twitter once again. He claims that the rest of the bullpen made him an offer he couldn't refuse. We've really gone to extremes with this bullpen mafia thing. Anyway, he already has more tweets than Rafael Perez.
Days Without a Tweet: 20
You can follow Nino on Twitter @TheTribeDaily where he tweets about the Bullpen Mafia. You can also read more Morning Rundown and other features at his blog, The Tribe Daily.