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Second Thoughts Game #3: Blue Jays 10, Indians 8

Brett Myers' struggles doom Cleveland in back-and-forth game

Second Thoughts Game #3: Blue Jays 10, Indians 8
Carlos Santana & Mark Reynolds (Photo: Yahoo!)
April 5, 2013
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Considering it’s been almost 50 years now since the invention of Astroturf, is it asking too much to expect the fake grass on a Major League baseball field to look better than the frayed, rumpled greens of an abandoned, rain-soaked putt-putt course? Apparently it is. So long, Skydome. See you next year, I guess.

As for the game itself, the Indians did indeed fall short of the sweep and their first 3-0 start since 1998, as the repeated comeback attempts of a relentless Cleveland line-up proved no match for the season debuts of Brett Myers and Cody Allen. Hard to say any questions were pointedly answered at this stage, but unlike the deceivingly stress-free victories that preceded it, Game #3 may have helped establish the bi-polar dynamic that could easily define this Tribe season in the long run.

! vs ?

Basically--with all due respect to the Blue Jays and their own supposedly relevant aspirations--this was a ballgame written, directed, and produced specifically with the conflicted 2013 Cleveland Indians fan in mind. In the span of three hours, we finally had the opportunity to see a 1-on-1 showdown between the two primary schools of thought surrounding this team since they first reported to Goodyear.

In the blue corner: Our boundless optimism for the new, balanced offense—highlighted in this game by a combined six hits from the free agent crop of Michael Bourn (2-4), Nick Swisher (2-3, RBI), and Mark Reynolds (2-5, HR, 2 RBI), plus three more from the suddenly free-wheelin’ Carlos Santana (3-5, HR, 2 RBI).

In the red corner: Our paralyzing fear over a Frankenstein’s Monster sort of pitching staff constructed almost entirely from old scrap, head cases, and whatever Scott Kazmir qualifies as.

These manic alternations of hope and doubt really kicked into gear between the fourth and sixth innings of Game #3, as the Indians rallied to tie the game at 3-3… only for Brett Myers to surrender a 3-run bomb to Edwin Encarnacion… only for the Indians to battle right back and tie the game AGAIN…  only for Myers to immediately serve up a second gopher ball to J.P. Arencibia and make his exit for the evening—5 IP, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 HR, ZERO STRIKEOUTS.

Question Mark of the Day: Brett Myers

Proving that Spring Training statistics really can indicate something on occasion, 32-year-old Brett Myers was the poster boy for Team Question Mark in this game, as he has been for the past couple weeks heading into the season. If the guy didn’t pull a neck muscle watching line drives whistle around the dome all night, he likely did so from repeatedly shaking his head in frustration-- as he could be seen doing for a disturbing portion of the evening.

In fact, that was the image that disturbed me more than any of the four homers Myers coughed up (the most he’s allowed in a game since June of 2011). A veteran, successful Major League pitcher should not be displaying the same facial expression as a confused elderly man trying to locate his car in a Giant Eagle parking lot.

Will Myers be this year’s Derek Lowe, as many are already surmising? Trevor Bauer probably wouldn’t mind that. But in the meantime, we’re going to keep things at a yellow alert and save the red for May or June. After all, the ever reliable Mark Buehrle was basically every bit as bad as Myers in this game.

Exclamation Point of the Day: Carlos Santana

In the same way it’s a tad premature to hang Brett Myers from the proverbial waiver wire, it’s probably also a little early to say that Carlos Santana will blossom in a line-up that allows him to be a complementary component, rather than a centerpiece. So far, so good, though. While we were all distracted with the shiny new toys that Grandpa Dolan bought us over the winter, perhaps our old friend the Axeman—a few days shy of turning 27—was quietly preparing himself for that long awaited “next step.” No longer hitting clean-up or bouncing back and forth between first base and catcher, a wiser, more relaxed Santana could wind up proving a bigger upgrade than the various free agents batting around him. 

Anyway, a nice series win to start the season. Now it’s off to Tampa for our final three artificial turf games of the entire season. Nice to have that out of the way, although nothing says “baseball” like drab carpeting and 4,000 snoring Floridians. 

User Comments

Tony
April 6, 2013 - 10:26 AM EDT
Very nice debut piece (or comeback piece) by AC here. Looking forward to more. I agree that it is early to be worried about Myers, but there is nothing wrong with flashing the caution sign and raising the alert level. The Indians really can't do anything with until mid-May, so no matter how good or bad he is until then, there needs to be a much larger sample size before jumping to a quick conclusion just 2-3 starts into the season.
SgtCarter
April 5, 2013 - 5:15 PM EDT
Golden opportumity to deal Myers back to Houston for Alex White!
Carl
April 5, 2013 - 1:15 PM EDT
Only three games into the season. I am not worried about B Myers yet. Lots of positives out of this first series. I am excited to see how Trevor Bauer pitches and if Masterson and Jimenz pitch well two times in a row. Nice article.
John
April 5, 2013 - 12:21 PM EDT
Despite the batting practice pitches that Myers was tossing we were one great defensive play by Bonifacio away from having the lead going to the bottom of the 8th. We'll see how long Myers lasts in the rotation though.
Andrew C
April 5, 2013 - 10:48 AM EDT
Quite right about Lowe being excellent in April and May. Should also be noted, though, that Lowe was 38 and coming off a terrible season. Myers is only 32 and coming off a decent year-- albeit out of the bullpen. I can't imagine them having anything but a long leash for the guy. And if he doesn't improve, better odds they invent an imaginary injury for him than waive him or move him to the pen.
Seth
April 5, 2013 - 10:28 AM EDT
Cody Allen did not look like he belonged on this team. His location was terrible, and it looked like he got completely rattled after the home run, with his screw-up covering 1b costing a run. As bad as the pitching was, if it weren't for the bad defense, and a bad call by an umpire, the Indians would've been up by 1 instead of down by 2. I think they should a.) call up Bauer and send Allen down and then b.) place Kazmir on the DL can call Hagadone back up. Can they do that?

I was thinking the same thing about Myers not having much worse results than Buehrle, so you can't read too much into it, but I didn't expect much from Myers, and to see him pitch even worse than my slight expectations does not make me feel any happier about the Brett Myers acquisition. The fact that he managed a FIP even higher than the 12.60 ERA is impressive.
Nick
April 5, 2013 - 10:14 AM EDT
If Myers continues to flounder (as he did in spring training), would we put him on waivers or first attempt a move to the bullpen?
Daingean
April 5, 2013 - 9:59 AM EDT
Is Myers this year's Derek Lowe? Well if we get 2 good months from Myers, I'd take that. In reality, Lowe carried the starting staff in April and May then just lost it. I'm concerned wrt Myers but it's only one start. Still I wonder why he was sent out in the 6th?
Matthew
April 5, 2013 - 9:19 AM EDT
Excellent piece. Humorous and well written.

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