Team's lose games in baseball. It happens. Get over it. This team has been playing really good ball in addition to getting some good fortunate bounces going their way. Sometimes the bounces don't go your way. They didn't on Tuesday and even though the Indians fought to the very end, it just wasn't enough.
May 8th, 2012
Chicago White Sox - 5
Cleveland Indians - 3
W: Hector Santiago (1-2) L: Chris Perez (0-1) S: Nick Addison Reed (2)
Don't go blasting Chris Perez, or Manny Acta. Don't go off the freaking cliff. It's one game.
With that said, this team... How awesome is how this team's fight? Comeback rally in the eighth inning. John Danks had pretty much shut them down, pitching an excellent game. They get their bullpen in though and the Indians manage to push this one into extras.
Manny Acta knows Chris Perez isn't perfect, and Perez knows Perez isn't perfect.
"What, like I'm never going to give up a run again?" he said. "Come on. Two hits. We lost," Perez said. "It stinks, especially after we battled back."
I would have brought Chris Perez in when Acta did. With him no longer available for a save situation since the game went into extra innings, bringing him in at that time in for the 10th inning with the meat of the White Sox order up, perfectly planned. He just couldn't get it done and it happens. His pitch to Rios, was in his explanation, a bad pitch. If anything, I'd rather him give up a game that is tied than one that the Indians are already leading in, if that's some silver lining for you.
Of course the focus in that inning was the fact that it was Alex Rios who hit the big triple off Perez and because of what happened last week, everyone is calling it "revenge."
Hey, maybe it is, and if that's the case people want to use, great, he got his revenge. Can we move on from it? Both Rios and Perez didn't acknowledge it.
And as fans, maybe we should acknowledge the fact that the Indians were in this one despite a big performance from John Danks, who was throwing zeros until that eighth inning. His line doesn't look as good thanks to Chris Sale coming in and not being able to get him out of that jam. Sale's first save opportunity (in the eighth inning?!) since being moved from the starters role didn't pan out so well as the Indians pushed the three runs across in the eighth to tie it.
Other than the seventh inning, the Indians didn't have many big opportunities to get some runs in. In the third, Kotchman led off with a double and moved to third on Hannahan's groundout, but nothing amounted from that. Then of course in the seventh another leadoff double, this time by Santana and a wild pitch got him to third with no outs. Shelley Duncan walked though and after a shallow pop out to center by Choo, Brantley lined into a double play.
Two key opportunities distinguished by not having the right luck. It happens.
The Indians finally broke through in the eighth, showing that sometimes even the unfortunate luck can't hold back the fight. The Indians did have an opportunity with one out and Cabrera on second and Santana on first after his RBI single to do more damage, but a Duncan strikeout and another Choo fly out ended that and pretty much the Indians best chance to win the game. Some noise in he ninth, but after the White Sox took the lead, the Indians went quietly in the tenth.
The whole reason the Indians were in this game despite Danks performance? A shaky Justin Masterson battled not having his best stuff and some wildness to go six innings and give up just the two runs he gave up in the first inning. They were production runs too, having scored off groundouts and the White Sox just playing good ball and getting their runners in the right spots.
But Masterson from second inning on was better than Masterson in the first, that's for sure.
"When you know that stuff is kind of going here, there and everywhere," Masterson said, "you're close to the zone, but not close enough, you've got to be able to work through it and really keep it close. They [scored] two there in the first, so my goal the rest of the way was that I was going to be out there to just try to not give up any more."
I think Masterson is still working through some things. I'm not as worried about him as I was a few weeks ago when he was looking like a different pitcher. I guess the good thing is that he's not yet pitching like we know he can and that the best is just yet to come. But if he can give the Indians performances like these while he struggles through some things, six innings, two runs, I think you take it and wait patiently for the really good Masterson to arrive.
All the starting pitchers need to do is give this team a chance, because they've been in just about every single game this year. In fact, I can't really remember a lopsided score this year not in favor of the Tribe. Seriously, I think they've virtually been in every game in some fashion, whether it be how they played or just the score. Their biggest loss is a six-run loss to Kansas City, 8-2 on April 25th, but that was the one that the Royals scored some real late runs.
This is a team that fights. In light of Josh Hamilton's big night in Texas and the O's getting pounded, this team has not been pounded like that yet. It speaks to not just their talent that they are good enough to be in all these games, but it also speaks to their fight, their swagger, and their attitude.
So yes, this team is going to lose some games, but at least in their loss they make things interesting and to this date, have not really been in a position where the game has simply just been a wash.
We suffered through a nice little few innings from Dan Wheeler. What are you going to do? As I mentioned, this team has not really been blown out. That's really Dan Wheeler's role. He's a mop-up guy, coming in to get innings if the team needs it. Coming into tie games really late. The Indians haven't been in those situations. They've been in close games where they have a chance of winning or are winning. Wheeler hasn't pitched since May 3rd against the same White Sox and he didn't even pitch that much. He gave up that home run and got one out.
He has to pitch here and there to stay sharp. Don't worry, he'll be gone soon.
Mostly because when Rafael Perez comes back, it will likely be Wheeler that goes. Nick Hagadone isn't going anywhere, especially after he struck out the side in the ninth inning. More on that in a second.
Bottom of the lineup came through, with Hannahan notching two more hits and Kotchman having a nice night. The rest of the lineup though, other than Santana just couldn't come through with much. Jason Kipnis, although went 0-for-5 managed to knock a run in. Even on a bad night, still productive.
As mentioned yesterday, Grady Sizemore's rehab is starting to get a little more involved. He has been hitting off a tee and with him around doing some running drills, the topic was about how Sizemore has had as many surgeries as an old person would.
"I still feel like I'm pretty young," Sizemore said on Tuesday. "I love this game and I don't see myself calling it quits anytime soon."
Yeah but six different surgeries in a span of four years will do a lot to your body. Sizemore says that although he feels he has a long ways to go, he's at the tail end of the rehab... I'm not sure how that makes any sense. But, we'll just go ahead and continue to wait.
I was a little surprised that Travis Hafner played in both games of Monday's double header, but with the tougher lefty in John Danks on the mound Tuesday, it kind of has some logic as to him getting his break on Tuesday. Plus with that, he gets his whole day off, not just one game. He'd still have to play Monday. Acta said Tuesday was break time.
"He needs a day off," Acta said prior to Tuesday's game against Chicago. "He's a little sore from all the activity yesterday. Going through the 21 games in 20 days, we're going to have to rest guys here and there."
Hafner keeps ribbing about his speed and that triple he hit, the first one since 2007. If he keeps it up, he's going to be expected to swipe a bag.
You have to feel that Zach McAllister is a little more polished this time around. He's a little more experienced and was a little more ready for his spot start on Monday than he was last year when he pitched for the Indians. He's had a taste of the show and you can never under estimate the importance of that.
"There's more confidence in me," McAllister said on Monday. "I think last year was a big learning experience for me and it definitely helped me out for this start."
And the same with Nick Hagadone, who not only had that save on Monday, but came in a big spot on Tuesday, a tied contest, and did his job once again. He's just blowing hitters away right now and said that the experience helps. He only had a cup of coffee last year, but he was still able to come up and get a bit of experience, shake off the jitters and now fall into the normality of the routine.
You have to feel he's here to stay, whenever Rafael Perez comes back. He should have been here from the start, but we won't get into that now, will we Dan Wheeler? McAllister and Tomlin's quality starts only added to the running total of the Indians, who have the fourth most in the American League after Tuesday with 18 after Masterson went six and gave up just two. The White Sox are in second after John Danks recorded one of his own.Rafael Perez by the way has started his long-tossing .
Some minor league hardware being handed out and the first is to the first pick of the Indians draft in 2012, Francisco Lindor. He was named the Indians minor league player of the week for his performance with Lake County. In the seven game span he had a few homers, stole five bases and drove in four runs. To be doing so well at the Lake County level at such a young age (will be 18 all season!), it lines up real nicely for his timetable if he can just take one level year by year.
The other award of note is the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week and that went to Akron's Steven Wright.
Yes, that Wright. The 27-year-old reformed knucklerballer has seemingly found it. He's really set into a groove this year and it looks like he's really learned how to be a knuckler. His gem was on Sunday in which he threw a complete game shutout in which he struck out the side and five in total. He threw 15+ innings giving up just one run to earn the award and if you think that's impressive, he's surrendered just five earned over a team-leading 40 innings pitched.
Looks like the journey isn't over for Steven just yet. What a great story.
Justin Verlander threw over 100 pitches one again in the Tigers 6-4 win over the Mariners. It wasn't an easy win for them, but the Tigs got out to a quick lead, 5-0 after two. The Mariners battled back though and made it interesting late. Jose Valverde was able to dance his way to a save despite giving up three walks in the ninth inning and the Tigers are now two back of the Tribe.
Nino has a blog that he creates dumb nicknames, even for players not on the Indians. Give it a vist at The Tribe Daily.