Second Thoughts Game #122: Indians 2, Athletics 3
Tribe leaves a village on the bases in frustrating loss
By Jake Dungan
August 17, 2013
The unlucky 13
When your team gets eight hits and draws nine walks in a game, you expect them to score more than two runs. Such was not the case on Friday night as the Indians dropped the series opener in Oakland 3-2 to the A’s. In fact, the Indians only got one RBI hit on the night as the first run scored on a throwing error. When a pitching-sound team like Oakland gives you not one but numerous opportunities to not only score, but take complete command of a game, you must take advantage. Unfortunately, the Indians failed to do so.
Getting on base has never been a problem for the Indians. In fact coming into tonight’s game, they were sitting fifth in the league in on-base percentage at .324 and walks with 403. The way this lineup is currently constructed, speed and OBP are the strengths, but unless Nick Swisher, Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera suddenly begin hitting well again, there’s no one guy in the lineup to rely on to drive in runs and come up with big clutch hits on a consistent basis other than Michael Brantley, who as good as he is, doesn’t strike fear into opposing teams’ hearts.
The number 20 had both good and bad implications for me personally on Friday. On the good side, I celebrated my 20th birthday and hoped to celebrate with an Indians win. That wish did not come true, obviously, due in part to the bad 20, as in the 20-at-bat slump that former All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is currently mired in.
While the final at-bat of the game ended up being Cabrera hitting a hard liner to third, which wasn’t necessarily his fault. However, a slump knows no difference between a bad-luck lineout and a weak fly-out to left field with the bases loaded. With each poorly executed at-bat, it seems to grow more and more evident that Cabrera’s time with the Indians could come to an end as soon as this offseason regardless of whether or not potential successor Francisco Lindor is ready for a big league promotion.
With Mike Aviles currently in the fold and perfectly capable of starting everyday as well as the rich supply of middle infield prospects outside of Lindor in the minors, the Indians could, in theory at least, get by without Cabrera’s services. His offensive potential would probably be tough to give up, but considering where he is now, how much would we actually lose?
Facts and Notes:
- The 13 men left on base against the A’s matches a season high for the Indians dating back to May 11th against Detroit.
- Justin Masterson pitched at least seven innings while giving up three or less earned runs, yet still took the loss for the first time since June 9th, 2012 against St. Louis.
- RHP Josh Tomlin made another rehab appearance for AA Akron on Friday night pitching four innings while allowing only a run on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts. He threw 49 pitches (34 strikes).
- The Indians collected at least 8 hits and 9 walks in a game while scoring only two runs for the first time since 1969.
Up Next: Indians vs. A’s @ Oakland Coliseum. First pitch at 9:05pm ET.
Losing the series opener of a three-game set always ramps up the pressure for a team, especially when they’re in the middle of a playoff chase and trying to keep pace with the other teams in contention, but the Indians will try to dust themselves off and even up the series. Two enigmatic right-handers in Ubaldo Jimenez and Dan Straily will face off in game two of this series.
Jimenez is coming off a tough-luck start against the Angels where he pitched six innings while allowing only three runs (two earned), yet took the loss. Straily also dealt with some frustration in his last start, but walked away with a no-decision in an A’s comeback win.
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The Indians had an opportunity to move up on Detroit last night, they didn't seize it.