Second Thoughts: Game #131 - A's 12, Indians 7
August 31, 2012
|W: J. Parker (9-7) L: J. Masterson (10-12)|
As is sometimes the case with day games, I was unable to actually watch this one. It wasn’t broadcast on STO and I am unable to listen to games while I’m at work, so I’m left to analyze highlight reels and box scores to get a feel for what happened in the game. To set things up though, the Indians entered the game at the end of a historically bad month, going 5-22 in August before Thursday’s game. The Tribe was also facing a possible four-game sweep from the surprisingly hot Athletics. On Thursday, the Tribe sent Justin Masterson to the mound in an effort to stop yet another losing streak, and the A’s countered with right-hander Jarrod Parker, the only righty the Indians would face in this four-game set.
I’m not going to go through the painful motions of how the Athletics beat Masterson and the bullpen up for 12 runs on 12 hits. The Indians, however, were facing a right-handed starter and shockingly (note sarcasm) broke out of their offensive slump, scoring seven runs on 10 hits. Jason Kipnis went 2-for-4 with two RBI, Shin-Soo Choo pitched in three RBI of his own, and Lou Marson and Jack Hannahan each drove in a run as well.
Justin Masterson: 4 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 3 HRA
- Once again, this is where the wheels came off for the Tribe. Obviously, Masterson only going four innings is disappointing; giving up 8 earned runs is also disappointing. Overall, another incredibly disappointing start for the ridiculously inconsistent Masterson (more on that later).
- Masterson threw 89 pitches through his four innings of work with 53 of those going for strikes. He only had two walks so finding the plate was not the problem, finding too much of the plate on the hand . . . well giving up three home runs shows his sinker was too flat and catching too much of the plate.
- 3 groundouts to 5 flyouts is a ratio that will just not work for Masterson.
- Interim pitching coach Ruben Niebla, who was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes, told reporters that Masterson understands where his mechanics are off and is working to try and gain some consistency in his delivery. No comment.
- Certainly the offense has been bad, and the three left-handed starters from Oakland only magnified the Tribe’s weaknesses, but this team will only be as successful as the starting pitching allows them to be.
- There was some patience in the Tribe offense yesterday, and it showed in the final score. Seven walks were issued to Indians’ batters. I’ve hammered this point all year, when this team is patient and taking their walks, they will score runs. When each guy is trying to win the game with one swing, they will struggle to do anything offensively.
- As I noted earlier, Kipnis had a nice day as he continues to regain his form offensively. Carlos Santana was 1-for-3 with two walks, and Zeke Carrera went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
- On the other hand, the Indians left 10 runners on base Thursday and went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position. This team has been downright awful all year with runners on base.
- Carrera stole another base, his fourth of the year. Asdrubal Cabrera stole a base as well, but that was all he contributed Thursday going 0-for-4 as he struggles to finish the year strong once again.
Chris Seddon: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Tony Sipp: 2/3 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 0 K
Joe Smith: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Chris Perez: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HRA
- To begin, seeing Chris Seddon work as much as he has lately is an inherently bad sign. He is a long reliever, there isn’t much to analyze, when he is called on, the Tribe is already in trouble.
- A horrible outing for Tony Sipp though. Four walks in 2/3 of an inning? Yikes.
- Smith and Perez (and Pestano) look like they are starting to wear down. Sure, they are still the best relief options on this team, but there was no way they could keep up the pace they were on for the whole year. They are still pitching effectively and frankly are still the Indians best weapon in their fight to not lose 100 games. Unfortunately they have to be given a lead from the starter before they can hold it.
In all honesty, there isn’t much to say about this team that hasn’t already been said on this site. They lack any kind of quality starting pitching and don’t possess an offense that can compensate for it. Frankly, the Indians have been off the last two Thursdays, and I’ve been pretty thankful for it because I am just at a loss over what to say about this team.
In the month of August they have now gone 5-23. They have lost 14 of their last 15 games. The Indians have not lost 24 games in August (which is still possible since there is one day left) since 1914. Masterson has given up eight runs in an outing five times this season; seven times this year he has given up seven runs. On the other side, Masterson has given up two runs or less in 14 starts this year.
There was a report published yesterday that quoted Asdrubal Cabrera as saying that he doesn’t believe Manny Acta is to blame for the Tribe’s problems. I’m not so sure Acta is to blame. How can you be expected to win with a starting rotation that is this bad? But Acta will be the easy out for the Indians front office, and I can’t see him in the Tribe dugout in 2013.
Jason can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org