2013 Spring Training Game #18: Rangers 7, Indians 6
Myers pitches well early, but fatigues and struggles late
There's really no good segue into today's recap for the Tribe's lineup, so I'll just lead off with it:
Brantley - DH (McGuiness)
Stubbs - RF (Hermida)
Gomes - C (Jeroloman)
Phelps - 2B-3B (Antonelli - 3B)
Francisco - LF (Fedroff)
Raburn - 3B (Wolters - 2B)
Carrera - CF (Rodriguez - SS)
McDade - 1B (played whole game)
Hernandez - SS (Hunter - CF)
Myers - 3.2 IP
Nieve - 0.1 IP
Carrasco - 4 IP
Hill - 1 IP
He was the best of starting pitchers. He was the worst of starting pitchers.
Of course, I am talking about Brett Myers' performance on Sunday.
There was the Brett Myers of the first three innings who only allowed one runner per inning (all stranded), five strikeouts, two walks, and one hit. He was an unstoppable force of nature atop the Goodyear Ballpark mound.
Then there was the Brett Myers of the fourth inning. It was hard to believe this was the same man who had dominated the Texas Rangers lineup for the three innings prior. All looked well early as an Adrian Beltre leadoff single was quickly followed by two groundouts and it looked like just another inning like the first three. However, the wheels then came off, rolled out of the ballpark, and ended up somewhere in Tucson. Double. Double. Home run. 4-2 Rangers. When it looked like Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler would pop out to Catcher Yan Gomes in foul territory (more on his day later), Gomes dropped the ball, prolonging the plate appearance. Not surprisingly, given the way the inning was going, Kinsler took full advantage of the gift at-bat he was given and singled to left field. A wild pitch and subsequent Jurickson Profar RBI single to center field later, Myers was mercifully pulled from the game.
Following a brief Fernando Nieve interregnum atop the mound to salvage what was left of the 4th inning, the next contender for the title of "The Day's Most Wildly Inconsistent Performance By A Potential Major League Starting Pitcher" came to the mound in the form of righty Carlos Carrasco. While he, like his predecessor Myers, threw shutout innings and one fairly ugly one, there were two differences: First, his inning came in the middle of his outing (6th inning in an outing that spanned from the 5th to the 8th). Second, it was not nearly as bad (two runs on three hits compared to Myers' five runs on six hits and a wild pitch). Still, it raises some questions re: his reliability and consistency that can't be explained away as easily as they can in the case of Brett Myers (who is likely having a harder time than most ramping up to longer outings after having been a reliever last year).
The inconsistency was not limited to the mound as it could be found on the other end of the battery as well. Indians starting catcher Yan Gomes not only commited the aforementioned fielding error in the 4th, but also completed the same-inning error exacta with a throwing error on a pickoff attempt of Rangers SS phenom Jurickson Profar after Nieve had entered the game. While these were his (and the team's) only two errors of the game, his catching seemed shaky in general.
This stands in stark contrast to Gomes' hitting performace on the day (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) and his slash line for the spring (.400/.455/.750 through Sunday's game). While his bat and his extreme versatility make him a likely candidate for a spot on the roster at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario as a "super-utility" player, it seems that he would be more of a catcher of last resort (i.e. when both catchers are injured in the same game or one is injured and the other is DHing) than a real option to start occasional games behind the plate as a way to rest and/or DH both Santana and Marson.
A few performances of unqualified high caliber on the day were a pair of 2-of-3s from RF Drew Stubbs (who tripled) and SS Luis Hernandez (who doubled) as well as Rich Hill's perfect ninth inning to keep the team in the game going into the bottom of the ninth. But the story of the day was inconsistency and inconsistency usually results in losses, which is what happened.
Today is another game specifically a 4:05 Cleveland Time contest against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Reseda, North Hollywood, and assorted areas of Tijuana (just kidding, Tijuana is Padres territory, they even have a team shop there) at Goodyear Ballpark. No word on when SS Asdrubal Cabrera, whose Venezuelan side was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, will return to the Wahoos' starting lineup.
Also, as a note, set those DVRs as the Angels-Indians game on Monday will be broadcast by MLB Network on tape delay at 3am ET on Tuesday.