You want to feel the good vibes of a big win, especially when you came back from what was looking like another offensive foiling. But there's something standing in your way. He has won 12 games this season and has an ERA under three. He's got some good stuff and has become one of the toughest starters in the American League. He's a former first overall pick and really, it is a given he is a heavy favorite.
July 19th, 2012
Cleveland Indians - 0
Tampa Bay Rays - 6
W: David Price (13-4) L: Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9)
Make that 13 wins.
Here's the thing. You rarely beat the aces when they are pitching well. You can win two games of a series against the Rays and you should probably be satisfied with that because when one guy starting a loss is David Price, you pretty much have to submit to how good he is.
Especially when he turns out to actually be good and not on a bad night. If he has a bad night, you can only hope to take advantage enough to win the game and consider yourself lucky. If he doesn't, you have to hope for an equally impressive start from your guy and hope you can get to a bullpen.
Of course the Rays bullpen is pretty good, so it's pretty much the same thing. And since the start of May, Price has gone at least seven innings in all but two starts and they were both back-to-back and only one he really got shelled on.
So needless to say not only is Price likely to be good, he's likely to go deep.
"That's why I felt that [Wednesday's] win was so important for us," Acta said. "You really don't want to come into the last game of the series trying to tie the series against David Price."
And did I mention that Price has not lost to the Indians, like, ever? And he's never allowed an earned run in Tampa against the Tribe?
No? Well, now I did.
Ubaldo Jimenez did his best. For awhile, all he had against him was a Luke Scott home run in the third inning. That was until he reached the sixth inning and the wheels not only fell off, but went rolling in completely opposite directions.
"I thought Ubaldo battled well for us," Acta said. "He gave us five innings for us to do something, to score runs, and we couldn't do it. And in that [sixth] inning, it's too bad, because he couldn't come out of there with a very good outing."
If you look at the breakdown of plays, he gave up a few singles, walked Keppinger to load the bases in the first. A comically routine start for Jimenez it seems like. But then came back and had a smooth second and what was looking like a smooth third before the homer and a triple that didn't end up hurting him. He had some walks overall, but they did not really come back to bite him as he was able to work around them, get a double play, or benefit from a little bit of Laser Lou arm.
I don't know whether to get angry at him for his performance, or just forget it because of how good Price was. It may have been different if he kept it at one run through seven, matching Price as much as he could in terms of zeros. Heck, he had the first two outs of the sixth and until he just slipped up and hit Desmond Jennings, was probably going to get out of that inning as routinely as possible.
Then things spiraled out of control in that aspect.
But when a guy like Price is as dominant as he was, giving up just two hits, I think the writing is kind of on the wall. You are not winning this game. Which is a shame considering the momentum the offense seemed to have gained after Wednesday night's game.
Santana's momentum is certainly rolling as he accounted for two of the three walks Price gave up. The one opportunity the team had was in the fifth when it was still a 1-0 game when Santana walked to lead off the inning. What hurt was that following a single by Lopez and a strikeout by Duncan, was when Santana was caught at third trying to steal.
It advanced Lopez to second, who would actually make it to third on a wild pitch, but even if Santana had stayed put and was not thrown out, he would have only advanced one place and gone nowhere on Marson's walk. If he had managed to steal third, he'd likely scored on the wild pitch, of course making it a one run game, but you can't play that game, especially when that was your one and best opportunity to score any sort of run.
All other inklings of something happening were erased, from Asdrubal Cabrera getting picked off to Shelley Duncan being erased on a Lou Marson double play. That is what you just call, the way the game goes.
You probably don't beat Price even if you play flawlessly without some of the things that went wrong, you certainly don't when you get caught stealing, hit into double plays, and get picked off. Enough said.
I really would question the double steal using Carlos Santana and Jose Lopez. That is not the ideal situation to try and execute that play, but you can't necessarily pick and choose against a guy like Price. You'd rather have a faster runner at second because it is a shorter throw from home to third than to second, but again against Price, what can you do?
I'm sure Acta's thinking was that with so many few opportunities they had against Price and how this may be their best shot, he needed to do what he could to try and manufacture a run to even things out. You could question it, but you could also understand it when you look at the situation and everything that goes into it.
I'm really sick of Luke Scott. Maybe it's the chops, maybe it's the fact that he was in the midst of a horrific slump when he finally broke out of it against the Tribe and has followed that up by just raking against the Indians.
Michael Brantley was in at designated hitter, giving Aaron Cunningham a rare start and one in center. That definitely played into the run of games on turf and I'm sure Acta is glad to be done with that.
For those of you following at home, Jack Hannahan replaced Asdrubal Cabrera at short. I still can't see him starting a game there though.
Shin-Soo Choo struck out twice and went 0-for-4, and it was the first time he was without a hit or failed to reach base in the same game that he struck out multiple times since June 24th.
If you would have told me that the Indians would score just 25 runs and give up 32 earned runs in seven road games against the AL East (regardless of the teams) and win three games, I would have called you crazy. When you look at it that way, the fact that they won three games is pretty good, ain't it?
If you've read this space within the past, oh, two years or so, you know I enjoy a good reference from a television program. You also I enjoy a good Frisky Dingo reference. You may not know however what the hell that even is. Hopefully at my urging you have at least made an attempt to find out.
If you are familiar with True Romance, I suppose you would get that reference as well. If you've seen both, you get a double bonus.If you have, all I'm going to say is. I'll call you a hearse...This is for Cody...
So with that in mind, this is for Cody. The Indians made a move following the game against the Rays last night, announcing that Cody Allen is headed to the big leagues from Triple-A Columbus. The move will be made official today and the Indians will likely send down another reliever, namely Scott Barnes, especially after he couldn't stop the bleeding on Thursday.
I don't blame a lot of you if you are saying, wait, what, who? right now because when this season started not just three months ago, Allen was in High-A Carolina. You heard me, he moved through three levels in just a few months.
He did spend most of his season in Mahoning Valley last year after being drafted in the 23rd round of the draft. But he saw time in Lake County and a few innings in Kinston. This season he made quick work of his time in Carolina, pitching in four innings and striking out eight. He's struck out a total of 53 hitters in 43 innings while walking just nine. He didn't walk a hitter in Akron after he breezed through that level in just five games.
Clearly this is not a case in which the Indians felt he needed any time at all at these levels. They must have saw something in what he was throwing that made them think his stuff was simply just way too good to bother with High-A or Double-A because he didn't have even close to the amount of innings you would need to determine that he didn't need to be in that level.
But he did with Columbus, where he carried a 2.27 ERA through 24 games, 31-plus innings. It is a Jensen Lewis-like rise through the system and it remains to be seen if he has a Jensen Lewis 2007-like impact on the bullpen, but I'm sure the Indians are hoping he does.
If you remember Lewis had spent 2006 in Kinston and Akron, but in 2007 he spent most of his year in Akron before moving to Columbus and then rather quickly to Cleveland based off some realistic need. He was 23 that season, the same age Allen is right now.
So there's some similarities there and as much as we can like Hagadone and Barnes for their stuff, and even Allen for his stuff, can you really deny the hot hand? The guy is pitching well this season regardless of level, so why can't it translate to the big leagues? I like the idea of riding the hot hand, ready or not, here he comes.
And all for nicknaming Cody Allen as "The Loose Cannon", say I.
I. And I is all that matters. It is done.
On a side note, that video is perhaps one of the greatest minutes of television ever.
Allen doesn't have to come in and be a big part of the pen. In fact he is kind of coming in like Jensen Lewis. If he can work his way into a vital role, all the better. Esmil Rogers is definitely making it easier to pick and choose who comes in where and who can you go to in those situation were your not exactly ahead, but you aren't exactly out of it either. That was not any more apparent than on Wednesday of course.
"Now he's stepping into higher leverage situations," Indans manager Manny Acta said on Thursday morning. "Yesterday, that was huge, not only for him, but for us. We trusted him to come into a bases-loaded, one-out type of deal. For him to get us out there had to be a big boost for him."
Those types of guys are crucial. So if someone like Allen can come in and he and Rogers can be those guys who you trust to keep the game close, so you don't have to worry about getting in that situation where you have to go to your guys who you go to when you are ahead, when you are actually behind, that would be huge. Not just for guys like Pestano, Perez, and Smith in terms of how often you have to use them, but for the team as a whole.
Carlos Santana said that the hits on Wednesday were good for his confidence but that this season has been hard for him. Part of it is understandable with the concussion issues, but after awhile you have to wonder how much of it can be blamed on the concussion.
"I worry too much. I'm thinking too much," said Santana, who has tried to eliminate some excess body movement in his swing this season. "But this is something that happens in the game, for me, and for everybody. I feel strong and I feel stronger game by game."
Acta was quick to note that one game is not going to change the game for him right now and that it is very much a process. Of course the walks were great to see on Thursday even though he did not have a hit (not many people got a hit anyway). A 0-for-4 could have just as easily erased anything the big day he had on Wednesday did for him, so getting a few walks was really huge for him moving forward.
Your daily deadline-rumor mill update has an interesting aspect to it. It has become news that there are "sources" indicating Roberto Hernandez will get his new visa soon. Taking these 'reports' with a grain of salt. It would trump any need for the Indians to go out and get a starting pitcher because they would theoretically be adding one in Hernandez and they wouldn't be giving up anything to do so.
When Hernandez would be ready of course is a question that is absolutely, 100 percent impossible to answer though because you do not know when or once again, IF he will get that new visa this year.
So do the Indians operate under the assumption that they will not get him back and go get someone and just bite the bullet of having added someone if Hernandez does come back? Or are they getting good enough Intel that they can assure themselves he will be able to pitch for them this season?
I really do not know but I certainly am not one to say. Who is to know if the Indians are getting any good information on the matter and if they know something we don't. I tend not to believe something when all there is to attribute to it is "According to multiple sources" But that is just me.
This all aside, as I read through the names that keep getting thrown around on the rumor mill I'm starting to get a good idea of what types of players the Indians would likely be after if they were to make a move. We can bring up names like Dempster, Quentin, Soriano, and Garza, etc. But realistically the Indians are not getting those guys unless the deal makes too much sense to not make sense for the other team, which will not happen.
So instead of hoping for a Garza or a Dempster, perhaps you should look at another guy on that Cubs team, Paul Maholm, who's quietly having a decent year. Not the greatest of names, but he falls in that category of a Jason Vargas in that he could be serviceable to a team like the Indians down the stretch. He had some rocky times towards the end of his stint in Pittsburgh, but the way he's pitching this year would at least be enough consistency for the Indians back end of their rotation.
On the offensive side, let me plant an idea for you.
Because I've been a staunch believer that this team is not adding a left fielder and will test the Grady Sizemore experiment just one more time when he is ready, I think the thing to do in that instance would to prepare a backup plan to Sizemore. Well you can't really do that unless you make a waiver addition or get creative.
So why not get creative? Rick Ankiel was just designated for assignment by the Nationals. It is likely that Ankiel gets claimed and goes to a team that could use him on the major league roster. Right now, Ankiel could slide into a similar role he was serving with the Nationals, perhaps with even more playing time though with no one really set in left.
And when or if Sizemore comes, Ankiel can remain in that part time/reserve role, waiting around just in case it goes south.
What does it cost you? Aaron Cunningham would lose both his roster spots, but you can live with that because Ankiel does what he can. He can play all the outfield spots. It makes sense to me, so why not?
This has very much become a Tiger and Sox watch considering I continue to update you on what the White Sox do. I can't help but get excited with each loss, because it either moves the Indians up or keeps them on pace. On this previous night, it kept them on pace, while losing traction on second place though because of a Tigers victory.
The White Sox were so close to getting out of it though. They got eight scoreless from Jose Quintana, only to see it ruined by Cody Ross and his three-run homer to end it in walk-off fashion. It must be that kind of day, because this one is also for Cody.
The Tigs meanwhile put up three runs in the second and that was really all they needed with the good Max Scherzer on the mound. A big four game series win for the Tigers over the Angels, that is for sure. 13-0 drubbings aside.
Nino has a blog! Give it a vist at The Tribe Daily, or else Will Smith will drop down and erase your alien face memory.