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Oakland slams Cleveland 13-3, sweep three-game series

Masterson and offense struggles continue, team drops to a four-game losing streak

Oakland slams Cleveland 13-3, sweep three-game series
Justin Masterson lasted just 4 1/3 innings Sunday, allowing seven earned runs.
May 18, 2014
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CLEVELAND—All winter, the Indians pushed the slogan “Unfinished business,” claiming to have more work to do after sneaking into the postseason last year.

Yet on the brink of summer, the Tribe sits in the unfinished basement of the A.L. Central where the workload continues to mount quickly.

Sunday afternoon proved no different, as Oakland slammed Cleveland 13-3 to sweep the three-game weekend series. Outscored 30-5 against the Athletics, Indians hitters went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position sending them on a four-game losing streak.

“It’s very frustrating,” center fielder Michael Bourn said. “We got beat in every facet of the game—pitching, defense, and timely hitting. We got embarrassed on our home field and it doesn’t get any easier. We have to find a way to fix it and fix it fast.”

It was Bourn that got the Tribe offense on the board in the first inning, belting his first homer of the season off A’s starter Jesse Chavez (4-1, 2.54 ERA). Jumping out to the early lead for the third straight game wouldn’t matter, as things went south in a heartbeat.

Oakland’s Brandon Moss led off the top of the second with a triple off right-hander Justin Masterson (2-3, 5.06 ERA) and came around to score on a throwing error by Lonnie Chisenhall one batter later. Finishing the game with two more errors, Cleveland has now committed 45 errors through 44 games this season.

Masterson proved inconsistent the rest of the contest, going just 4 1/3 innings and yielding seven earned runs on seven hits, walking five A’s hitters.

“It’s pretty much what you saw, don’t really have any words,” the Tribe ace said. “I’m just frustrated. The next one will be good, don’t worry.”

Masterson falls to 0-2 with an 11.17 ERA over his last two outings, allowing five runs or more in five of his 10 starts this year.

“I would say command was probably the biggest issue,” manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think it will be a trend, we believe in Masty a lot.”

Two leadoff walks came back to bite the Indians starter in the fourth inning and Oakland took full advantage of it. Catcher John Jaso gave his ballclub the lead on an RBI double before Josh Reddick put the A’s up two on an RBI single.

In the fifth, the route was on. Scoring four in the inning, back-to-back doubles by Moss and Yoenis Cespedes ended Masterson’s day after Tribe killer Josh Donaldson chimed in with an RBI base knock.

Donaldson continued to be a thorn in the side for Cleveland all weekend, finishing the series 5-for-10 with a triple, home run and seven RBI.

“I tip my hat to that team,” Bourn said. “They came out ready to play. They took advantage of pitches and beat us hands down, simple as that.”

Offensively, the Indians wouldn’t come close to mounting a comeback. Michael Brantley highlighted another dismal afternoon for Tribe hitters, going 2-for-3 and launching his team-leading eighth homer in the fifth inning.

Scoring three runs on six hits, they fall to 4-20 when scoring three runs or fewer, doing so in 24 of their 44 games this season.

Chavez gave Oakland five strong innings, surrendering two runs on six hits for his fourth win.

“We have a good team, but you have to play together,” Bourn said. “Some days we pitch good, some days we hit good, some days we play defense good. But it can’t be just some days, it needs to be consistent. Of course you’re going to make errors and have days where the game is off, but we’re doing it too much.”

With the loss, Cleveland (19-25) falls to 10 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the division race.

“What we’re doing right now is not good enough, we have to play better,” Francona said. “That’s on me to have better answers and have our guys more prepared, and we will.”

It’s the furthest the Tribe skipper has been out of first place through 44 games since he managed the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2000.

His players though were quick to have his back and take the responsibility for their lack of success.

“It’s not on the coaching staff,” Bourn said. “It has nothing to do with them. That’s on the 25 dudes in this locker room.”

Spanning eight games earlier this month from May 2-May 9, Cleveland starters went an unbeaten 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA. The rotation has since struggled, posting a 2-6 record with a 7.98 ERA over their last eight games.

“I’m a big believer in pitching and defense,” Bourn said. “I know you have to hit, but look back at any sport, any team that’s good that’s what they do. When you talk about being a good team, pitching and defense always wins games. I don’t care how you look at it or draw it up, that’s the way to win.”

Up next for the Indians: The Wahoo’s open up a three-game series with division rival Detroit, hoping to gain ground on the first place Tigers in the A.L. Central. Right-hander Corey Kluber (4-3, 3.38 ERA) gets the start in the series opener Monday against southpaw Drew Smyly (2-2, 2.70 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Andrew
May 19, 2014 - 10:06 PM EDT
People died in the 9/11 attacks, regardless of your opinion of why or how... and comparing that to something baseball related is just sad, IMO. It's not a personal knock on you, but I just think it's disrespectful to the people who died and their families.
ClevelandinCali
May 19, 2014 - 3:19 PM EDT
First, Andrew: Mr. Underwood is free to compare the Cleveland Indians team to any apt, dysfunctional, misbegotten mess of lies and deceit that he chooses: as long as he's accurate in his assessment.

Second: though I agree with James, I also agree with Underwood, and have zero confidence that the Tribe front offices, as currently constructed, can reap the benefits of any of the silver linings losing and selling house may bring
matt underwood
May 19, 2014 - 1:02 PM EDT
too soon?
Hermie13
May 19, 2014 - 12:55 PM EDT
Well one positive from today was the game by Bourn. Raised his season OBP from .276 to .291. Still ridiculously terrible for a leadoff guy though but still. Maybe Swisher and Santana getting bumped down woke him up...

That said, his OBP for the month of May is still just .280. Hard to get much offense going when your leadoff guy is one of the worst in baseball at getting on base.
Andrew
May 19, 2014 - 10:41 AM EDT
Matt, now you're comparing 9/11 to the Indians? Are you kidding me? That's about as low and insensitive as you can get.
matt underwood
May 19, 2014 - 9:51 AM EDT
no kidding the NFL Draft is a different animal, but considering how horrible the browns have been at drafting, the Tribe has been even worse. factor in development of said draft picks, it looks even worse if that is possible,

no one was fired for the failures of 9/11, no one went to jail for the melt down of wall street, and no one has ever been fired or held accountable for the Tribe's awful drafts over the past 20 years
Tony
May 19, 2014 - 9:09 AM EDT
No sugar coating needed....this team is a huge disappointment right now. Just completely failing from a defensive and offensive standpoint. And now that the starting pitching is struggling everything is falling apart. Can't rely on the starting pitching to carry you night after night.
Andrew
May 19, 2014 - 1:08 AM EDT
Matt -- the NFL Draft is A LOT more of a sure thing than the MLB Draft... By FAR. If you don't understand that, there's no hope for you.
Walter
May 19, 2014 - 12:33 AM EDT
Many of last year playoff teams are struggling in 2014.

Indians 19-25 last place
Rays 19-26 last place
Red Sox WS champs 20-23 4th place
Pirates 18-25 4th place
Reds 19-23 3rd place only because the pirates and cubs are in that division.

Matt if your such hot shot in talent evaluation. Why don't you apply to see if the Indians hire you part of scouting team.
matt underwood
May 18, 2014 - 11:11 PM EDT
"If we are bad this year we can restock the system through a draft with 5 top 100 picks, mid-season trades (Masterson, Cabrera, Murphy, Shaw), and a top 10 draft pick next year."

while true, i have less than zero confidence in the organizations ability to target, draft and develop talent. the browns have drafted better in the past 15 years and that aint saying much.
Brandon Andrews
May 18, 2014 - 10:13 PM EDT
Shameful shameful shameful
Brandon Andrews
May 18, 2014 - 10:11 PM EDT
This team is embarrsing to watch shameful we should be better than this
James
May 18, 2014 - 9:54 PM EDT
This is a good thing. If we are bad this year we can restock the system through a draft with 5 top 100 picks, mid-season trades (Masterson, Cabrera, Murphy, Shaw), and a top 10 draft pick next year. Plus we can kick the tires on Aguilar and Ramirez and maybe give Lindor some time in September. Better than hanging out a little above .500 and going nowhere. Maybe we could even unload Bourn or Swisher, but I doubt it.

That being said, if another pitcher stops performing or gets hurt, it is going to get ugly quick. Who's next, House? Rough.

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