Oh what's that? Just another day in the life of the Cleveland Indians. Lose 14-1, no biggie, not like we haven't seen anything like that before, right?
August 12th, 2012
Boston Red Sox - 14
Cleveland Indians - 1
W: Jon Lester (6-10) L: Corey Kluber (0-1)
Jason Donald is hitting first. Brent Lillibridge is hitting sixth. Heck, Lou Marson who we all love dearly is hitting right behind him because behind him? Jack Hannahan and Zeke Carrera.
Look no disrespect to those guys. Even Jason Donald I can deal with since Jason Kipnis is hurt.
But that bottom half of the lineup is looking real, weak.
You can absolutely field that lineup, go for it. I mean just a few days ago Brent Lillibridge and all of his 110 pounds beat the Red Sox all on his lonesome going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored.
You get the odd Brent Lillibridge game and pitching like you did from Zach McAllister, you win a game here and there, you split the four game set with the Red Sox, and everything is okay.
But don't expect to put that out every time and win like that every time when you don't have pitching.
And that is exactly why 14-1 can and did happen on Sunday afternoon. Corey Kluber went out and tried to end the streak the Indians were on last time around and he almost did until the bullpen gave it away. This time he made it look like he was getting the Indians started on another one and the bullpen would now decide to follow suit.
"Kluber just didn't have command of his fastball," Acta said. "It was up in the zone. Everything was up. He didn't establish it and he wasn't able to use that swing-and-miss slider that he has. It put us in a bind there."
Uh yeah it did. Kluber was not the same pitcher he was earlier in the week and hey, the Red Sox lineup isn't chopped liver. Despite their record and their issues, they got players and when someone like Adrian Gonzalez is on fire like he is right now, things may not end pretty.
But barely into the four inning with six runs is just not going to cut it. He didn't walk anyone because he was throwing bad strikes.
So whatever right? Your starter gives up a few runs and now you have to play catch up, but at least it isn't like, 10-1 or something...
The answer to Manny's question? Josh Tomlin. Throw out Josh Tomlin as the long reliever and hopefully he can give you some zeros for a few frames so you can at least put a run or few up in an attempt to make the lead not so daunting as the game progresses.
Oh but Josh, he uh... Kluber's line might as well be a quality start when you look at the pile of feces Josh Tomlin's line looks like.
After getting two outs in the fourth in relief of Kluber, Tomlin would retire just Kelly Shoppach and Danny Valencia in the fifth, with Valencia's out knocking in a run. He would give up three singles, two doubles and a pair of walks.
And a partridge in a pair tree?
Might as well. Tomlin's effort saw him surrender seven earned in just an inning plus and his ERA now sits at 6.36. Corey Kluber can have a 8.56 because he's pitched in a few games. Tomlin can't have his ERA pitching in as many innings as he has.
This all brings to question. Is Josh Tomlin really just fallen off the face of the earth or is something going on?
And so there it is, the obligatory injury question. But Tomlin is going to get his elbow looked at now and see what is exactly going on. He had his season end early last year due to the elbow but avoided any sort of surgery. But now we learn he's been dealing with the soreness all year.
Out of sight out of mind I say. That's why it's hard to count Carlos Carrasco into future plans. You really don't know how or when the guy will come back to form, so you just have to go along assuming you might have him, so you can't count on him.
That's kind of how you have to take Tomlin at this point. In my mind, Josh Tomlin is a good pitcher. He's a command guy and while he'll have his days, more times than not he can go out there and give you some good innings. He has not done that this year. Not in the least bit. And it really begs the question as to if he really is okay. And if he's not, how soon can we get him fixed and get him back?
A healthy Josh Tomlin is someone who can be used. If not in the rotation but in the bullpen. Unless of course this new Josh Tomlin we are seeing is not a product of elbow soreness and just a product of, well a bad pitcher. But you have to think if he's been bothered by this all year, there may be something to it.
The story with Tomlin is just unfolding, so we don't know much yet. But if things are broken with him and the issue is elbow related, it can't mean anything good. I mean just look at it as history repeating itself. Tomlin had the same issues last year, shut it down, avoided any medical correction, came back this year and has been absolutely horrible.
If he's broke, fix him the right way.
If he isn't broke, then you need to make a decision. You certainly cannot continue to run him out there in long relief, especially since the Indians need a lot of it right now. Heck with the way Chris Seddon has pitched, you might as well throw him out there when a certain someone makes his return this week.
But more on that later.
Tomlin was bad, Kluber was bad. Tomlin may need surgery, Kluber may need some warm milk and a blanket.
And Manny Acta may need to get get Hair Club for Men so he can pull his hair out. Look Carlos Santana playing left field is weird. It's silly and crazy and it makes you double take, no triple take, no no no, double take and then pause.
But can we make less of a deal about it?
Santana shifted from first base to left field in the sixth inning when Acta decided to pull Shin-Soo Choo from the madness, giving him an abbreviated day off. And because Brantley's day off was today, and the Indians are short on the bench because of their abysmal starting pitching needing an eighth reliever, there was little to do in terms of position.
So with both catchers in the game and only one bench player available, Acta did the only thing he could do, move Santana to left field.
But really, let's not get all up in arms about it and make it a lead discussion. I guess it's better than 14-1 and starting pitching because it's mundane and it doesn't hurt anyone and really, it's a juicy reason to get on Manny Acta's case.
But it was THREE INNINGS! And it isn't like Santana is some goof, he's a converted third baseman, he's an athlete. He can play out there for a few innings. So lay off and stop it.
If you want to cry about something, cry about losing 14-1.
Just a single run scored off a Santana sac-fly in the first pulled the Indians within two. The closest they were all game when batting because like Acta mentioned before, even before they could get a swing in they were down 3-0.
Frank Herrmann did what he could to stop the bleeding. It's really good he's here because you wouldn't think a team would need two long relievers, but this one really does. Herrmann got in against the Twins to record an out, but in his second outing for the club, he pitched a solid 2+.
Cody Allen now has 11 shutout innings of work to start his major league career.
I guess we should mention the fact that the Indians got the good Jon Lester
He's been having a rough year like his team, but he can still be good, hence the 12 strikeouts and three hits in six innings.
Think about that. 12 strikeouts, three hits, six innings. That's two strikeouts per inning compared to just one hit every two innings... That's just not right.
We've reached that point where a lot of the notes that I would normally put in here are really... Well quite frankly, they don't matter. So here I will do my best to sort through what really doesn't matter and what matters at least a little bit. I will also try and organize these in order of importance, starting with the most...
To me, the potential to get Lonnie Chisenhall back this season means a lot. I'm still skeptical as to that possibility, but if he can make it happen, it would be great to get him some big league at bats because next year I think come hell or high water, Chisenhall is the guy at third.
"Absolutely," Chisenhall said. "They said everything is looking good right now. If I can get two weeks of serious Major League Baseball in, for me, that'd be awesome. Obviously, the sooner the better, but we're playing it by how I feel each day."
Two weeks is two weeks. It won't be what he ultimately needs to kick it into gear, but it removes that weird feeling of doubt that he'll have next season starting out in spring and going forward.
"It depends on the at-bats that I get up here," Chisenhall said. "I've been approached about winter ball. I know it's a good thing to go do if I'm missing a lot of at-bats, but I'd like it to be competitive. I'd like it to be where my family could go over there also. It also depends on how I feel. But I wouldn't mind going over there and getting a few at-bats and stuff like that against some quality pitchers."
Roberto Hernandez is going to start Wednesday.
I'm really glad to see Fausto back. After seven innings on Friday for the Clippers in which he struck out five and walked one in giving up a run off four hits, the Indians have seen enough. They'r ready to reinsert Fausto into the rotation and it couldn't be soon enough for a starting pitching staff that, despite putting together some quality starts as of late, desperately needs some consistency.
Hey we've waited and with him now eligible to return, he's lined up with that Seddon rotation spot and it will likely be Seddon that goes to the bullpen to take Tomlin's spot. Because here's the thing. If Tomlin isn't hurt and has to go on the DL, he better be sent down. Not to improve, not to fix anything, but because he is a complete liability in that long relief role.
Jason Kipnis was shut down over the weekend because of some neck stiffness. Kipper was going to play on Saturday, but was ultimately held out and could return tonight for the late start against the Angels.
Acta said that he is making progress but on Saturday he was not good enough to be out on the diamond.
Look I woke up with a stiff neck on Friday. Anyone can do that. Of course mine must have not been that bad because I could have gone out there and played a game of baseball. Either Kipnis' is preventing him from doing something or it really really really hurts. Either way, there's no reason to rush.
On Saturday Rafael Perez made a relief appearance for the Columbus Clippers, pitching a shutout frame with a walk. It was the beginning of his second attempt at completing a rehab assignment.
If Rubin Niebla is going to hold onto the job of pitching coach long term, he's going to need to show some promise with the stuff he's been handed. Even then, the Indians may just opt to give him a shot because they are high on him.
"The biggest thing is that I build a relationship with all the pitchers," he said. "I think that's important and that's going to be the first thing on my agenda, is [to let] those guys know that I'm here to help them. I'm a resource to them. I'm not here to put the magic wand over anybody. I think that if collectively we're working and communicating, I think that hopefully we can get this staff headed in the right direction."
Niebla arrived to the game on Thursday midway through the contest and has hit the ground running with the staff. So far all three starters are ones he's already coached this season down at Columbus.
Vinnie Pestano has not extended his scoreless streak quite yet, but he did gain two more votes than anyone else in the Golden Fedora Voting to take home the coveted honor for July.
Brent Lillibridge is apparently in play as potential bench option next season. Well at least in his eyes, no one from the Indians said that...
"I feel like in a way I'm in a tryout," Lillibridge said. "I was with the White Sox for a long time -- they knew what I could do. Here, I'm just trying to prove and show that I can play this game and play at this level. I'm going to play hard and work really hard on trying to stay focused on whatever position I'm playing.''
Look I like a good utility player as much as the next guy, one who can just play solid defense at multiple positions. But I look at Brent Lillibridge and all I can think of is... Why?
Well let me surprise you here. Lillibridge might just be a good thing to consider depending on what the Indians do with Jason Donald. I love Donald and think he can be a part of this team if they were just consistent with him. I know, how can you do that with someone who has to be a utility player and be in a different spot in every day?
Not that consistent, but level consistent. Do they want him to learn at the big league level or in Triple-A? He's up, he's down, he's up, he's down.
I'd almost also like to consider him in left field. If you were to do that, then yeah you'd need a utility player and Lillibridge fits the bill if he hits higher than his weight. But that's a next year decision, so I shouldn't be digging too much into it with more than a month and a half left.
I mean, you also have Cord Phelps down in Columbus mind you. There are plenty of options to consider and plenty of players to make a decision on rather soon.
I told you I was going from most important to least important (I need to have some fun, right?) and leave out the unimportant. Well I thought about that, then decided it wouldn't let me mention a few things so I can be snarky.
The least important item? The Indians officially released Jose Lopez. It's DOPEY TIME!
Can someone make me a video of Jose Lopez dancing with a diaper? You know like Diaper Time?
The New York Yankees think there is something left in the Derek Lowe tank, so they signed him. That or they really don't have anyone to replace an injured CC Sabathia.
Okay, they really don't have anything to replace the injured CC Sabathia. It could be worse, you couldn't have anything to replace Josh Tomlin.
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.