Plenty of hype surrounded the return of Fausto Carmona as Roberto Hernandez Heredia. Maybe hype is a strong word. Plenty of intrigue surrounded the...was anybody actually intrigued? The guy we used to know as Fausto is now Roberto and made his season debut against the Angels on Wednesday night. To say Hernandez pitched good would be a lie. To say Hernandez pitched bad would imply that the 8-1 drubbing the Indians received was all thanks to his performance. It was a combination of awful defense, mediocre pitching, and the Indians standard "too little, too late" offense.. It was not one the team's best efforts of the season and certainly not a game that Roberto Hernandez will look back at with a smile and say "That was the first game I pitched as me".
The Indians night started with some promise as Jason Kipnis singled to begin the ballgame. That promise evaporated when he was thrown out trying to steal second. That promise came back when Hernandez recorded three routine groundouts in the first, looking like the Fausto we so fondly remember from 2007. In the second, against Ervin Santana, who had only beaten the Indians once in his career before Wednesday night, and that one win was a no hitter, the Indians went in a hurry. In the bottom of the second, Brent Lillibridge was wishing he could have disappeared in a hurry.
Even though the defense didn't help, Hernandez looked like the pitcher we've all come to expect. Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo singled to set up the inning and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Alberto Callaspo drove in Morales with the third straight single in the innig. A Vernon Wells routine ground ball to shortstop turned into a blooper for This Week in Baseball as Lillibridge misplayed it into his first error of the inning. Trumbo scored and the inning continued with no outs. Maicer Izturis reached on a bunt single to load the bases. After a Chris Iannetta sac fly drove in a run, Hernandez got Mike Trout to bounce into a fielder's choice. With two outs, Trout took off for second and Carlos Santana's throw wasn't even in the zip code of second base. Lillibridge knocked it down with a dive, but turned a bad play into a terrible play by attempting to get Wells at home. The throw missed badly and Trout went to third. Hernandez gave up a RBI triple to Erick Aybar to cap off the five-run inning.
For good measure, Hernandez gave up single runs in the third and fourth. Wells picked up a RBI on a fielder's choice in the third and Trout took Hernandez deep in the fourth. With the Tribe down by a touchdown plus the PAT, they scratched out their first run of the game in the sixth. Ezequiel Carrera led off the inning with a single and came around to score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI double. The Angels got that run right back when Iannetta went yard with two outs in the sixth off Hernandez. Hernandez's final line read six innings, 10 hits, eight runs (five earned), no walks, and no strikeouts.
Shin-Soo Choo put some cosmetic touches on the scoreboard in the eighth. After Ervin Santana left the game, Jason Isringhausen's horrors against the Indians continued when he allowed a two-out, three-run homer to Choo. Jack Hannahan had singled and Kipnis had walked to get on base. Beyond that, that was it for the Tribe's offense as they continued to give relief work to guys like Esmil Rogers and Cody Allen. Allen had an interesting outing, giving up a single and two walks to load the bases before inducing a pop up and a double play ball to keep the score at 8-4.
Kevin Jepsen was nice enough to work a quick ninth inning so Tribe fans could go to bed.
With the loss, the Indians fell to 54-64, 10 games under .500 for the second time this season. Roberto Hernandez picked up his first loss under his real name. Ervin Santana beat the Tribe for just the second time in his career.
Stat of the Night: The Indians trail only the Tigers and their epically-terrible defense in unearned runs allowed. With three more tonight, the Indians have allowed 55 unearned runs. The Tigers have given up 58.
Player of the Game: Shin-Soo Choo. He hit the three-run homer that made the final score look better.
Tomorrow's Game: The Indians are idle tomorrow. They open a three-game series on Friday night in Oakland. Zach McAllister takes on Tommy Milone at 10:07 p.m.