Second Thoughts: Game #19 – Angels 2, Indians 1
By Jim Berdysz
April 29, 2012
|W: Haren (1-1) L: Gomez (0-1) S: Downs (1)
Player of the Game: Dan Haren (8 innings 1 ER 4 Hits 2 BB 7 SO)
Someone should have told the Indians that the 2 1/2 hour rain delay was over, as there was once again an offensive struggle from Tribe hitters Saturday, scoring just one run on four hits in the ballgame. No question Angels starter Dan Haren was dominant through his solid eight innings of work, throwing a season high 119 pitches and improving to 1-1 on the year. Haren is now 2-0 with a 1.41 ERA in his last five starts against the Tribe, allowing just 19 hits and striking out 41 over the past three seasons.
For the third time in the last four games, the Tribe collected less than seven hits in a game and couldn’t get the bats going at all on Saturday. The lone standout was tough luck loser Jeanmar Gomez, who went six innings giving up only two runs on five hits against L.A. He gave the Indians a chance to win and take the first two games of the series, but was simply outdueled by the veteran Haren.
The Top 10
- Jeanmar Gomez pitched great. Gomez sure didn’t look like the pitcher who was competing for the fifth spot in the rotation in spring training, as he set a career-high with seven strikeouts against the Angels. More importantly he stayed consistent and gave the Indians his second quality start of the year. Could he breakout like Josh Tomlin did last year? Definitely a possibility.
- Nick Hagadone back in the ‘pen. I thought even after Asdrubal Cabrera came off the bereavement list that Nick Hagadone should have stayed in the bullpen. He has all the essentials to become the next Vinnie Pestano from the left side. Hagadone shut down the Angels in his one inning of work on Saturday and now owns a 2.08 ERA on the year, striking out five in 4 1/3 innings.
- Kept Pujols guessing. Without ever facing Gomez in his career, Pujols was left guessing against Tribe pitching for the second straight game, going just 1-for-4 on the day and extending his homerless streak to 113 at-bats.
- Jack “The Man” Hannahan stays clutch. Hannahan continued his clutch hitting with runners in scoring position, driving in the Tribe’s only run of the game in the fourth inning. The Indians third baseman is now hitting .471 with RISP and .409 with two outs in an inning.
- Michael Brantley on a 4-game hitting streak. He may only be hitting .233 on the young season, but Brantley has quietly swung the bat better of late now owning a 4-game hitting streak. He also has a hit in eight of his last 10 games, something that the center fielder certainly needs to continue to do at the top of the lineup.
- The Indians got the game in. Say what you will about the rain delay and the Indians loss, but adding another doubleheader to the schedule wouldn’t have been great especially before the All-Star break.
- Jason Kipnis stays consistent. With another hit against the Angels, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis continues his hitting tear, now batting .333 with a team high three runs, seven hits and .462 OBP over the last seven games.
- Tribe won’t face Haren again for a while. With the success Haren has had against the Tribe in his career, the Indians will not face the three-time All-Star again potentially until July 2-4…I’ll take it.
- First one run loss. While the Indians suffered their first one run loss of the season Saturday, the team is 6-1 in one-run games. Still the best record in MLB.
- Still have a chance to win series. Even with a stagnant offense, the Indians can still win the three-game series today against the Angels. If the Tribe can consistently keep winning series, we’ll be playing in October.
The Bottom 10
- Offense continues to struggle and put up runs. Tribe hitters have managed to score just eight runs in their last four games and 13 runs in their past six. On top of that, they have averaged only 3.2 runs per game at Progressive Field compared to six runs per game on the road.
- Indians hitters not clutch with RISP. After going 5-for-10 against Jered Weaver and the Angels on Friday, the Tribe managed to go just 1-for-8 with RISP against Haren. It’s been a while since the Indians put some crooked numbers on the scoreboard with a big inning. Let’s hope that changes soon.
- Letting the Angels score first. With the offense struggling and Haren on the mound, letting the Angels get out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning deflates any kind of momentum coming into the game. The Indians have to start getting out to an early lead themselves like they did during their first road trip to have the momentum shift to their side.
- Santana & Hafner combined 0-for-8. It doesn’t take much for the Indians offense to get out of sync, but take away production from Santana and Hafner in the lineup and any Tribe fan will tell you it’s going to be a long game. The four and five hitters in the Cleveland lineup went hitless against Haren with four strikeouts, and surprisingly, no walks.
- Cunningham pop up in bottom of seventh. After Shelley Duncan singled and Hannahan walked on four pitches to put two men on with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Aaron Cunningham went after the first pitch and popped out to left field. Absolutely unacceptable when your team is down one run late in the game.
- No home runs yet again. While it isn’t always good to live and die by the long ball, the Tribe has now gone 10 straight games without hitting a home run. Over the 10 game drought the Indians have averaged just 2.5 runs per game.
- Can’t get hits with no outs and RISP. Twice the Tribe missed golden opportunities to add more runs in key situations with no outs and RISP. With Brantley on second after a leadoff double in the bottom of the first inning, the Indians couldn't get Brantley over and in to tie the game. Again in the bottom of the fourth inning after Kipnis singled and Cabrera walked, both Hafner and Santana went down before Hannahan would drive in Kipnis for the only run of the game.
- Not making Haren work. Unlike what they did against Weaver in the first game of the series, Indians hitters didn’t make Haren throw enough pitches throughout the game. The Tribe leads the majors in walks for a reason, but there weren’t many free passes going around on Saturday.
- Long Rain Delay. No delay is good for either team when it comes to baseball, especially not a 2 1/2 hour rain delay before the first pitch. With the Indians already struggling to score runs on offense, waiting to play certainly did not help.
- No walk-off momentum. Even after arguably the biggest win of the year on Friday night, there was no carry over or momentum left by Cabrera’s walk-off hit for the Indians to build on during the game.
With the loss, the Tribe (10-9) move back into a first place tie with the Detroit Tigers in the Central Division. The last time Cleveland started a season 10-9 was in 2006. Six of the Indians nine losses on the year have also come during day games.
Up next for the Indians: Sunday’s series finale against the Angels, as it will be Derek Lowe (3-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. Ervin Santana (0-4, 7.23 ERA) at 1:05 pm. The last time Santana faced the Tribe, he threw a no-hitter.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I honestly believe Damon could surprise some people, just as D Lowe has over this first month of the season. There's no experience quite like veteran experience! And Damon is still a good player, easily better than Cunningham. AC or maybe Jose Lopez could be dropped to make room.
With another hit Sunday, Brantley is really seeing the ball well now with a 5-game hitting streak. While he could do better with RISP (.222) I think he could only get better and maybe get his average to about .280 to hopefully even .300.
I originally heard Choo was coming back Tuesday too..could he and Damon join the team at the same time? I think they may push back Choo and activate him before the next homestand but we'll have to wait and see.
Brantley's only been getting hits over his past four games, but if you look at his outs in the week prior to that, they were hard outs. He's definitely on the upwards trajectory, and I'm nowhere close to as down on him as others.
You'll see that the way Kip is playing now is his true basement. He's a .280 sorta guy for 75% of games, then will go off on these streaks that just make you shake your head. He's not even scratched the surface yet.
Santana will have games like this, but he has such good numbers (under the numbers), that he'll have to go on a month-long slump for me to get down on him. He's truly one of the top four or five young guys playing today, and average gives no indication of how good he is. Yesterday, not so much though...agreed...
Very frustrated on the Duncan/Cunningham front. I'm a Duncan fan, but as more of a replacement guy, and just can't figure out why we even deal with players like David Delluci..er...Jason Michaels...er...Aaron Cunningham. He's essentially the same guy, if not worse. I know there are apologists for this organizations GMs (and I am, to an extent), but there's just no mincing words about how far they've dropped the ball with regards to the outfield. YOu would be hard-pressed to find an outfield as bad as ours from 1-6, and with no real help (other than potentially LaPorta) in the near future. And seriously, who do we trade to get an outfielder?
And Choo...starting to get concerned...can't lie...