Save your post mortem, I don't do that kind of stuff. Sure, things aren't looking great, but I kind of take the same approach as Manny Acta, it isn't over until it is actually over. Even though, it may be kind of over.
August 24th, 2011
Seattle Mariners - 9
Cleveland Indians - 2
W: Felix Hernandez (12-11) L: Josh Tomlin (12-7)
So here it is... The moment in time when things really do seem to be slipping away. These stretches, the Indians have been through these stretches. But Detroit never took advantage. They kept the Indians in it.
Well, something had to give. Lucky for the Tribe, the Tigers lost last night, and while they are not threatening to run away and hide right this minute, they could be in position to do so if the Indians don't do something this weekend. Still, there is a month left, and a lot can happen. However if Detroit gets too far out, how much time left wouldn't even matter.
Before we even start thinking ahead though, we need to look at what just happened... What just happened is quite frankly unacceptable and I would not stand for it if I was Manny Acta.
Seattle is dead last in the American League in runs scored. They were dead last in the entire majors until this series outburst, only eight runs ahead of the Giants. We all know the National League is the lesser superior league in terms of offense, so it says a lot when you are sandwiched in between seven of the NL squads with only teams like Minnesota and Oakland around you.
So the point of that... You absolutely 100% cannot be giving up 29 runs in four games to THAT team. They have a rookie second baseman hitting in their three hole and a rookie first baseman hitting cleanup! Miguel Olivo is hitting sixth.
Wily Mo Pena is their DH!
That just is not a lineup that should be putting up nine runs. Neither is a lineup that has two rookies hitting first and second, Shelley Duncan hitting clean-up, and Jack Hannahan and Jason Donald at the way bottom.
But that is besides the point. It wasn't so much that the Indians lost three out of four to Seattle, but it's how they lost three out of four. And if not for Choo, it would have been a sweep and oh what a disaster that would have been, wouldn't it?
The bigger story in this game specifically was the almighty streak of Josh Tomlin coming to an end. For the first time in his career he failed to complete five innings in one start. He and John Farrell are now the only pitchers since 1919 to go that long, but Tomlin will edge Farrell by one, giving him the Major League record.
"I didn't even think about it until after it happened," Acta said. "It was pretty remarkable, the fact that you could go all the way back to whenever and see that only him and John Farrell were able to do that. It's a credit to him."
He's been the one constant and now that constant wasn't there. In fact, one of the things that has put the Indians in this position of contending for the AL Central crown this year was the starting pitching as a whole and this past week, it has been the exact reason it has fallen so far behind. From Ubaldo to Huff, to Tomlin, only Masterson got the job done over the past few games.
"I don't think I've seen that the whole year," Acta said. "I don't think I've seen four out of the five guys not have a quality start. I don't think we had four non-quality starts in a week. I don't think we even did it last year when the guys weren't as good."
I guess this Mariner squad is hungry and they got a lot of young guys up there now that are looking to make an impact. That's fantastic for them. But not acceptable for this pitching staff. They are better, they have to be better.
We know what the Royals are capable of, they have an offense that can do some damage and if the Indians pitch like that again, then the Royals may just come in and sweep things based off offensive potential.
Speaking of offenses... With all the injuries, there is really nothing you can say. You just have to hope for a great pitching performance and scrapping two runs across from a guy like King Felix. They did that, got Felix to throw a lot of pitches (the 10 strikeouts might have had something to do with it) but of course, the pitching made it all a moot point.
That isn't stopping Manny Acta from calling the strikeouts unacceptable, especially from a lineup without many sluggers. I can see his point. I wouldn't get on them so much about the 10 strikeouts from Felix. That guy is going to do that and if it means getting him out after six, cool.
I'd be more concerned about Jamey Wright, despite giving up three hits, record five of his six outs via the strikeout. That to me would make me angry and wonder what the heck was going on. It's Jamey Wright!
Carrera, three, Santana two, Chisenhall two, Hannahan three, Donald two, everyone else but Cord Phelps, one. Again, Felix is going to carve people up, but don't let Jamey Wright do that. And you can't make excuses for injuries either. It is an excuse for lack of production, but not an excuse for putting up bad at-bats.
Lou Marson replaced Carlos Santana, making that lineup even more stellar than it already was. Santana was taken out just as a precaution in a game that was way out of hand after he was hit in the face mask twice with foul balls.
The note from Bastian: Five of the nine hitters in yesterday's lineup were in AAA at one point and only two of the nine (LaPorta and Hannahan) were in the opening day lineup. Asdrubal Cabrera better not get another day off, ever.
Who in the blue hell is Kyle Seager? Well, he went to UNC, is only 23-years-old, and he went 10 for 13 with FOUR doubles and a home run in three games against the Indians. Now you know, tell your friends.
To be fair, Shelley Duncan was 3-for-5 with one of the runs knocked in.
To also be fair, the Indians were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
ESPN gives out "game scores" for pitchers. Basically rating this particular performance as a stand alone accomplishment. Tomlin's score from yesterday's game was a 23. That is only his second lowest of his career. The other one came against the Yankees when he gave up six runs in five innings.
I don't really know what left trunk soreness is. But then again, how else would you describe a situation in which swinging the bat doesn't hurt, but not swinging does? Weird... Right?
"Swinging is no problem, but taking pitches hurts," Choo said. "That's a weird thing, but I talked to [head athletic trainer] Lonnie [Soloff], and he said trying to hit a 94-95 mph fastball during the game could make it worse."
Shin-Soo Choo just adds to the long list of injuries. Hopefully this one isn't a long-term one, but it certainly doesn't feel too good having all this crap pop up.
"Right before the game, we didn't think it was worth it to take a chance," Tribe skipper Manny Acta said. "He's day to day. He's going to come in and get some treatment [on Thursday], and then we'll see if he can play Friday."
Yeah, let's hope he can play Friday. Let's hope anyone can play Friday, or else it will be all over this weekend.
With Hafner out, there is a DH spot open. If it's going to continue to be filled by Shelley Duncan, then we know what is going to happen. We already saw the Indians try and rotate the DH spot earlier this year when Hafner was out. Say what you want about Pronk, but it's certainly nice not having to worry about that spot.
With big Jimmy on waivers, the Indians put a claim in on Jim Thome. However Chicago did as well and they a half a game worse than the Indians, so they have priority. It's unfortunate, especially considering the White Sox don't seem to be that set on playing this stretch out since they too placed some big players on waivers.
Paul Hoynes also thinks the Indians claimed another Twins DH, Jason Kubel. I would welcome either at this point. However claiming someone and actually ending up with them on your roster is a whole different story. The Twins put them on waivers, but it doesn't mean they are just looking to get rid of them.
If the Indians can't fill that DH role with someone from the outside, they'll probably continue to look internally. Two candidates are Cord Phelps and Lonnie Chisenhall. With Hafner out and Jack Hannahan hitting a little better, it makes perfect sense to continue playing Jack at third and give Chisenhall time in at DH.
"[Hannahan] had some really good at-bats," Acta said. "He was using the whole field against lefties and righties. It's good to see him good. He's going to get more playing time going forward, especially now that we don't have Hafner here. We should be able to distribute some of those at-bats."
Hannahan also revealed that he was playing through a hamstring issue for the past two months. Probably that time as a backup gave him a chance to heal up. Jack says he feels healthy now. Remember he hit well during the beginning portion of the season. So even though that he was playing above his head, he still has the capabilities of hitting.
Mentioned Cord Phelps, who is now back with the team and expected to stick with the club the rest of the year. With rosters expanding in a week, he should be here for the rest of August and throughout September. It sucks for Columbus to lose yet another key piece before their playoff run, but the parent club needs him more.
Phelps believes he learned a lot from his last stint.
"It's probably just staying in my comfort zone a little more," Phelps said. "Trying to relax and kind of enjoy the game. I think if you're able to do that, any player that's able to play loose is going to play better.
"And hopefully, I learn from things that went well and things that went badly last time. Hopefully, I'll be better for it."
I will have the boards updated soon. If you don't stay on top of it (and I can't this week), it gets a little tough to sort out. It will all work out in the end.
Finally, today is an off day, which is great. Even though the Indians play so many games in a month and a half, an off day can do wonders. Especially since yesterday was a early start. They get a nice long break to rest and re-focus for this final stretch run. Hopefully it's just what the doctor ordered.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
Very much praise to Bryce Stowell for pointing out that Eric Berger probably belongs in the LMFAO Party Rock Anthem video. Via Austin Adams...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ6zr6kCPj8&feature=share via @youtube Berg, Stowelly said he saw you in this video! @EBerger18
Days Without a Tweet: 93
You can read more Morning Rundown and other features on Nino's blog, The Tribe Daily.