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Second Thoughts: Game #84-Indians 7, Rays 3

Second Thoughts: Game #84-Indians 7, Rays 3
July 8, 2012
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  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
TB 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 6 1
CLE 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 2 X 7 8 0
W: U. Jimenez L: M. Moore

Player of the Game: Ubaldo Jimenez (6 innings 5 hits 2 ER 1 BB 8 SO)

The Leadoff

Behind yet another solid performance by Tribe starter Ubaldo Jimenez, the Indians scored early and often on Saturday night, defeating Tampa Bay and starter Matt Moore 7-3. Cleveland has now won four of their last five games against a Rays team that continues to scuffle offensively.

Jimenez now has gone at least six innings in six of his last seven starts and continues his dominance pitching in front of Indians fans at Progressive Field. The right hander is now 4-3 with a 3.66 ERA in eight home starts this season.

The Top 9

  • Another gem for Jimenez. Picking up the victory on Saturday, Jimenez has now gone 3-3 with a 2.93 ERA over his last seven starts. His command has also been great of late as he has walked just one batter and struck out eight in last night’s start. Over his last 46 innings, Jimenez has walked just 16 while striking out 44. The Indians right-hander is now tied with Derek Lowe for the team lead in wins with eight.
  • Victory against another lefty. Who knew the Tribe had it in them? With the victory, Cleveland is now a remarkable 4-0 against left-handed starters over their last four games. Could it be a sign of good things to come? We’ll have to wait and see, but beating a tough lefty in Moore is definitely something to build on in the second half.
  • The Dunc-Tank returns. Starting in his first game since being placed on paternity leave, Shelley Duncan crushed his eighth home run of the season to add to the Indians lead late in the eighth inning. The two-run homer can only be described as a two run gift for his two new twin boys. Congrats to new daddy Duncan!
  • Sweet Lou. No player has been hotter at the plate over the last month than Tribe catcher Lou Marson. The Indians backup catcher has hit .400 over his last 12 games (16-for-40) with three doubles, a triple and four RBI. With an RBI double in Saturday’s game, Marson is now hitting .297 on the season in 91 at-bats.
  • Lots of extra-base hits. Six of the Indians eight hits on the night went for extra-base hits which included five doubles and a homer. The five doubles came in just two consecutive frames, the Cleveland second and third innings.
  • Taking the early lead. Unlike Friday night, the Wahoo’s jumped out to an early 3-0 lead by the end of the top of the second inning and a 5-0 lead after the third inning. It doesn’t matter how good of a team you may be, playing from in front with a lead always has its advantages.
  • Walking. Something Cleveland has shied away from over the last few weeks, the Tribe walked six times during the game as the rookie southpaw Moore struggled to find his command early on in the ballgame. The Indians still lead all of Major League Baseball in walks with 307. The second place team on that list? The Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Santana breaking out of slump. With an RBI double on Saturday, Carlos Santana has quietly found himself on a three-game hitting streak where he’s hit .300 and two of his three hits are doubles with an RBI as well. I have a feeling Santana will be breaking out of his slump and powerless streak fairly soon.
  • Sit down! Jimenez and the rest of the Tribe pitching staff mowed down a total of 12 batters versus Tampa Bay on Saturday. The Indians starter recorded eight of the 12 as he has now struck out six or more batters in a game in five of his last six games.

The Bottom 3

  • Not Kipnisses tonight. Tribe second baseman was given the night off on Saturday after playing in 82 of 83 previous games this season. Sure a day off is good for the Indians best all-around hitter, but with a three consecutive days off coming up for All-Star break beginning Monday, did he really need to sit out? With Cleveland still trying to catch the White Sox in the standings I think the best lineup needs to be out there each night, which would most certainly include Kipnis.
  • Luke Scott…again? After setting a Tampa Bay franchise record going 0-for-41 at the plate, Rays DH Luke Scott struck again belting a two-run home run off Jimenez in the fourth inning. Scott is now hitting .300 (2-for-6) since ending his hitting streak with two homers and four RBI.
  • Hagadone sent to Triple-A. Let me be the first to tell fans that it was a bad move to send Nick Hagadone back to the minors. Yes, he was just 1-0 with a 16.43 ERA over his last 10 games, but every reliever has their fair share of ups and downs. Look at another lefty in the Tribe bullpen in Tony Sipp, who has been anything but a disappointment this season. Here are Sipp’s ERAs over the last three months (7.71 in April, 5.40 in May, and 6.75 in June). Hagadone has a bad month of June (14.73 ERA) but posts ERAs of 2.08 in April and 2.25 in May and gets the boot. I just don’t get it. Let me leave you with this question: Who would you rather have come into the game with the game on the line in the sixth or seventh inning, Sipp or Hagadone?

Closing Time

With the win against the Rays and a White Sox win, the Indians (44-40) remain just three games in back of Chicago in the Central Division. The Tribe was 47-42 at the All-Star break last season and only a half game behind the Detroit Tigers in the division. The Indians are now 9-16 against left-handed starters.

Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and take the four-game series on Sunday, as it will be Zach McAllister (3-1, 3.93 ERA) vs. James Shields (8-5, 4.11 ERA) at 1:05 pm. The Tribe will also look to end the first half on a high note, as it will be the final game before the All-Star break as well. Asdrubal Cabrera is 4-for-9 (.444) in his career against Shields, with a homer and two RBI.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Jim
July 8, 2012 - 1:55 PM EDT
hmmm...minor league disqualified list...which means he doesn't get paid...boy...what's the story behind the story...
Seth
July 8, 2012 - 1:36 PM EDT
Just saw that Hagadone actually busted his hand after his last appearance. Out for the year. Nice.
Seth
July 8, 2012 - 1:30 PM EDT
It's not just Pluto who noticed that. It's been the case since his outing against Pittsburgh. Check his pitch fx for his May and early June outings and he was usually averaging around 92.8 with his fastball and topping out around 94. It gradually crept up in some of the early June starts, but then suddenly against the Pirates on 6/16 he averaged 96.07 and topped out at 99--he was throwing a good 3mph faster than before. Next outing averaged 96.4 and topped at 98.8, etc, his last outing was his lowest velocity since, but still averaged 94.41 and topped out at 96.1. It seemed he had a few bad outings in early June, and then just started throwing everything as hard as he could, and couldn't command any of his pitches and started to get hit really hard.

Hopefully Barnes will step up. Other than the one REALLY bad outing, he looked pretty good.
Tony
July 8, 2012 - 12:20 PM EDT
Hagadone made huge strides last year with his command and also earlier this year before a callup because he took some off his fastball so he could be more around the zone. Check out my past interviews with Ruben Niebla this year and last. It was the key to his success, but for some reason he has gotten away from it. His fastball still has good life at 92-94 MPH that he needs to get back to throwing there, and then from time to time reach back for a little extra. The Indians absolutely need him to iron things out as he is a key piece to the bullpen now and in the future. The lack of a reliable left-handed pen arm is a big problem right now for the Indians.
Jim
July 8, 2012 - 11:28 AM EDT
That's nothing new with Hagadone...with regards to his velocity. When he overthrows, he can't control his pitches. If what Pluto says is true, about the velocity, then it's clear that Hagadone is overthrowing, as he's done throughout his career. If that's the case, it's on Hagadone AND Radinsky, but my guess is there's more to it. Hagadone is a stud, has stud stuff, but has always had control issues, which is what curbed him into a reliever

As to who would I take with the game on the line in the sixth or seventh?...c'mon...it depends on WHEN you're talking. Right now, clearly Sipp. Earlier in the season...clearly Hagadone. It's not about extremes here folks. Santana is slumping...that's no reason to trade him, as has been suggested.

Now Sipp is just getting right after a near season of struggle. The Indians rode him out, while I likely would have made a move. They win out on this one right now, as Sipp, when he's on, is as good as it gets. The numbers and results bear that out over the years.

Hagadone has no major league track record...but has wicked stuff (trust me, I've seen it time and time again in the minors), so that would lead me to believe that in a generic situation, I'd take Sipp...but again...it depends on the situation.
Bob Collins
July 8, 2012 - 10:24 AM EDT
Yeah, when I see Hagadone come in, I know the game is over. Also, if your standard of measurement is Tony Sipp, there's a bigger problem here.
Seth
July 8, 2012 - 9:26 AM EDT
Hagadone has been positively Wheeler-like, and I wouldn't trust him with a 4 run lead. I would most definitely take Sipp if "neither" isn't an option, and in any case I would take Barnes over Hagadone, as they have. Hagadone needed to go down. What's weird about Hagadone, is when he was going well when he first came up, his velocity was 92-94. Then he started throwing the fastball 95-97, and he couldn't get anyone out.
Robert
July 8, 2012 - 7:54 AM EDT
"Who would you rather have come into the game with the game on the line in the sixth or seventh inning, Sipp or Hagadone?"

Neither - and doing so would be a good reasons to scream at Manny. Hagadon needs to get consistent innings. IMO he will be back.

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