Second Thoughts: Game #69 - Indians 2, Astros 0
By Jim Berdysz
June 23, 2012
|W: U. Jimenez (7-5) L: L. Harrell (6-6) S: C. Perez (23)|
Player of the Game: Ubaldo Jimenez (6 2/3 innings 4 hits 0 ER 4 BB 8 SO)
It would take the Indians just four pitches to win the first game of the three game series against the Houston Astros on Friday night, as Cleveland shutout Houston 2-0. Astros starter Lucas Harrell struck out a career high nine Tribe hitters in a losing effort, as both offenses struggled to put runs on the board.
Ubaldo Jimenez continued his June success, as the Indians right hander struck out a season high eight batters cruising to his seventh victory the year. Jimenez is now 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his career against the Astros.
The Top 5
- Ubaldo Gem-enez. Could the Ubaldo of 2010 have finally made his way into an Indians uniform? You bet! In four starts in June, Jimenez is now 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA spanning over 26 innings, where the right hander has walked just seven and struck out 25. There are many Tribe fans that have been skeptical of Jimenez and reasonably so, but it’s time fans start backing the former All-Star and Cy Young candidate as he continues to regain his stellar form.
- Taking the early lead. After Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a leadoff triple down the left field line, Asdrubal Cabrera sent Choo home on a sac fly as the Tribe took the early 1-0 lead and never looked back. It does not matter how it’s done, it always is important to grab an early lead in a ballgame and play from in front.
- Bullpen mafia shutdown again. I was not in favor of Indians manager Manny Acta pulling Jimenez with two outs and two runners on in the seventh inning. I felt the Indians right hander should stay out there and finish his outstanding pitching performance even having thrown 109 pitches. Acta instead went to Joe Smith and he made light work of Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, as the submarine pitcher struck him out on just five pitches.
- Choo stays hot. He only went 1-for-4 in the ballgame, but Choo’s one hit essentially proved to be the game winning triple for the Indians in just the first inning. The Tribe right fielder is now hitting .306 with five home runs and 12 RBI hitting leadoff with a .371 on-base percentage. Not only that, but Choo made two great plays in right field in the eighth inning just about robbing Jordan Shafer of a game-tying home run off Vinnie Pestano.
- Perez 23 straight saves. Who would have thought after Chris Perez blew a three-run lead on Opening Day that he would convert 23 of his next 23 save opportunities? I sure didn’t. There’s no question in my mind the Major League leader in saves has pitched his way to the All-Star Game for the second consecutive year, as he struck out the side in the ninth inning to close out and seal the Tribe’s 2-0 victory.
The Bottom 3
- Offense still looks weak. Without Jimenez putting up zeros for more than six innings, things more than likely would have looked differently in the standings on Friday night. After scoring eight runs or more in two of their previous three games, the Indians were limited to just one run on three hits by Astros pitching over eight innings of play. He may have gone 0-for-4 against the Tribe, but Carlos Lee would look great in an Indians uniform.
- Getting thrown out at the plate. The Indians threatened to score in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and one out, only to have Casey Kotchman foul out into an inning ending double play with Carlos Santana being thrown out at the dish. It was a poor decision by Tribe third base coach Steve Smith, as Astros right fielder Brian Bogusevic threw out Santana in plenty of time to end the inning. Jason Kipnis also would be thrown out at the plate trying to score on Michael Brantley’s RBI single in the eighth inning as well. I do like the aggressiveness in a one-run game, but there comes a point of being over aggressive as well and both plays were examples of that.
- Cabrera with another error. The last two weeks just hasn’t been anywhere close to what both fans and Cabrera himself expect from the Indians shortstop defensively. With a throwing error in the fifth inning, Cabrera now has eight errors on the season where five of them have come over his last five games.
With the victory, the Indians (37-32) move up 1.5 games in front of the Chicago White Sox in the Central Division. The Tribe is now winners of four straight games, as they have won five out of their last seven games to move to 10-9 in the month of June.
Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will look for their fifth consecutive win on Saturday as it will be Jeanmar Gomez (4-6, 4.95 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (0-0, 1.80 ERA) at 4:05 pm. Keuchel a rookie left hander got a no decision in his Major League debut against the Texas Rangers this past Sunday, giving up just one run on four hits over five innings. The Tribe is just 5-13 against southpaws this season. Gomez is just 1-2 with a 6.91 ERA in three starts this June.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Jimenez has been encouraging, I'm just hoping and praying that he and Masterson will be able to maintain their success. They will be the difference for the Tribe.
I have been a critic of CP, who is one of my personal favorites but he has been largely effective and has become increasingly more valuable to this team.
I know the lineup needs help but at what cost. I don't think the Tribe has ammo to flip to add a few bats.
Maybe Fukudome gets some consideration if he becomes a FA after getting DFA by the. WSox.
Now they get two lefties, including one making his second big league start today. They have not hit well against guys like this so they need to turn it around. Even the weak hitting Astros should put some runs on the board against Gomez, who has been very hittable lately.