The Cleveland Fan on Facebook

The Cleveland Fan on Twitter
Indians Indians Archive Morning Rundown: Tribe Bullpen Running on Fumes for Fourth Straight
Written by Nino Colla

Nino Colla

ActahangingheadWhoa? Is this real? Nino? Is that you? You thought I gave up? Didn't you! Don't lie...



September 8th, 2011

Cleveland Indians - 1

Chicago White Sox - 8

W: Matt Thornton (1-4) L: David Huff (2-4)




You are probably thinking to yourself... Wait, why bother? The Indians are done. They have essentially been eliminated. There is no coming back now and the Chicago pounding last night was just a cherry on the top to this week of elimination. All they have left to fight for now is pride and second place.




Alright so we don't have much to talk about in this one, but we still do it and Ill be damned if I'm going to let the way this season is ending sour me on what happened. A) I want to see this team pull in a record above .500 and B) I know I'll be starving for baseball in mid-November, so let me enjoy what is left of what we have, especially since this season has been a ball.


I've had one heck of a crazy week, literally no time to even watch any of the Tribe games, which makes for a very strange feeling seeing Jason Kipnis in the game last night and saying to myself, "Whoa,  Jason Kipnis is back... I'm behind."


So if you need caught up, like me, then follow along as I relive a week of torture, starting with last night's debacle. And just as an aside before we get started... Doesn't this picture of Manny perfectly sum up the past week of Indians baseball? I mean his head isn't fully hanging down. But he's looking down and to the side, he isn't giving up, but damn, he's exhausted.


The transformation of David Huff (who is now signifying that apparently with a mo-hawk hairstyle) is one that intrigues me. It took an interesting turn last night. Even though he took the loss, Huff impressed me. He went into the seventh and despite putting the first two on, got a strikeout before Manny Acta came with the hook.


Now this is where my knowledge of the past few days is going to fail me, because I'm sure the Indians bullpen has a few guys over-worked. But what is the logic in bringing in Frank Herrmann into that situation? It is a tie game, in the SEVENTH inning. I love the Professor, he's the man. But why not someone else? Sure your four big guns that could come into that situation pitched yesterday, but... Why? Was there thought of the tie game going further? Did Acta have no faith in his offense to score (would probably be a safe assumption) so he said, "let me go with Herrmann for awhile."


Of course, I was right the first time. Acta went with Herrmann because everyone else was overworked.


"Our main guys have pitched three out of the last four days," Acta explained. "We needed these guys to come in and keep the game close. Unfortunately, we couldn't do it."


Unfortunately, Herrmann couldn't go for awhile. He couldn't even go a little bit. First batter he gives up the home run and this one is essentially over. From there all it could do was spiral out of control with a grand slam off Josh Judy.


And just on an aside, what the hell is Josh Judy throwing that pitch to Konerko for? I'm losing a little faith in Judy to be honest, I'm not sure what we have there.


Back to David Huff though, who I think has really turned the corner.Herrmann of course felt worst for Huff, who took the loss because two of the runs that scored on that home run were his.


"I take all the blame," Herrmann said. "For Dave's sake, and the team, everybody, I wanted to come in there and get a double play or get out of the inning for us. I thought Huff pitched great. He definitely deserved a better fate."


Judy would go on to say his outing was "unacceptable" after the way Huff pitched. I would say it is more than unacceptable, it is frustrating.


Huff was great all night. Aside from a Brent Morel homer in the third, he was throwing a very boring game until the seventh inning when he walked Ramirez and Rios singled to lead off the inning. He really was just cruising right along.


Where the hell was the offense? Gavin Floyd was not one-run baseball good last night. Some great offense in the first from Asdrubal to single and steal second, then score on a Thome single. That should have indicated more runs were to be scored on this night, but it simply was the end of that. It really was. There really wasn't anyone past first base from there on out aside from an Asdrubal double in the ninth inning. Depressing.


Where do we go from here? The Tribe is now below .500 and in third place to the 72-70 White Sox. I think it is safe to say the division is out of reach for both of these teams at this point, so it is a battle for second. That battle started last night, but it is far from over. Time to buckle down, there is plenty of baseball left to play.


Random Details...


The two straight hits in the fourth was really misleading. Thome got a hit, but only because he hit Asdrubal Cabrera who was running. By rule, Cabrera is out, although that probably saved the Indians a double play.


Jason Kipnis finally makes his homecoming, good for him. Kipnis grew up a Chicago boy and is a huge fan of all Chicago sports. The only thing that would have made it better was him going off, but the series is not over of course. And Kipnis is just working his way back with no real rehab, so understandable.




And so much for that Asdrubal Cabrera slump, right? Just as the chatter of Cabrera's slide was getting loud, Asdrubal went out and had a great game, collecting a few hits, scoring the only run and stealing a base. Acta can understand it though, Cabrera has been this team's workhorse all year. He's had very few days off.


"It's probably wear and tear," Acta said. "He's played more games than he has played over the last two or three years, especially last year when he missed so much time with that broken forearm."


Acta also alluded to he went through a few "periods where nobody knew what he was going through" seeming to indicate there was some bumps and bruises that Cabrera not only played through, but played well in spite of.


Take Flight Hawkman! How about Shelley Duncan the past week? The guy is clobbering stuff right now. Two jacks off Verlander? Duncan is a guy who can come off the bench in a pinch and give you a solid at-bat. Playing extended time though he isn't as valuable. But if you play him enough, he's clearly going to get into some sort of rhythm and do the type of stuff he did once and awhile.


"Tons," Duncan said. "You got to make small adjustments here and there. You're comfortable seeing the baseball. You go up in the box and put together a game plan and stick to it, instead of grinding every single at-bat."


Eric Wedge would have loved Shelley Duncan, wouldn't he? Grind it out baby.


Time for the Injury Update, which is trending towards positive, better late than never, right? First we have Jason Kipnis back, which is great to see just for the pure fact that it would be nice for him to play as much as possible down the stretch. But he will be in limited action as he gets his feet under him.


It is also very refreshing to see Trevor Crowe back in the big leagues. If you follow him on Twitter, you know he's just been itching to just get out there and help out the team and play again. He's given us endless enjoyment with his Twitter account, but I'll take a healthy Crowe over a laid up one cracking us up with his in-game commentary any day. He's good people and deserves to be out there.


"I'm very excited to be back out there, hang with the guys, play, get back on a Major League baseball field again," Crowe said. "More than anything, I just want to help out in any way I can."


Crowe would have been very helpful a few weeks ago when everyone went down, but better late than never. It's just a shame he had to be thrown into the fire against Justin Verlander right off the bat.


I have a different view on Josh Tomlin than everyone else. I know everyone thinks because this season is over, not to push Tomlin back into action, but I would really like to see him out there if at all possible. Of course I would prefer the Indians not push him back just to get him in.


Tomlin called being on the DL, "annoying" because he's never been on it, ever. He flat out does not like it and I don't think I'd blame him. I would like to see Tomlin back out there though because I would like the assurance that nothing is wrong next season. If we get him out there this year and see everything is good, I think that would be real reassuring for next season. Instead of sitting around this season and all offseason wondering what you are going to get from Josh Tomlin and all that.


There is no real timetable on Josh coming back from his sprained elbow ligament and I know when you are dealing with the elbow, you need to be very careful. But if he is allowed to at least start throwing, then I think all should be good.


You are probably even wondering why at this point even bother bringing back Travis Hafner. For one, I think the Indians still believe they are in the race, despite the odds. I love that mentality. Why give up for the sake of giving up? If you are not mathematically eliminated, why say "Okay we're done, pack it in!" if there are still games left to play?


Again it goes back to what I said with Tomlin in regards to Hafner. I would like to see him out there, even if it is just for a little bit in a very small amount of time. Hafner very well could be back in the coming days on this road trip. And when he comes back, he'll get to split time with Jim Thome, which makes that work very well. Two part-time DHs make one full-time DH, right?


"I think it helps both of them," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Jim is not going out there every day, and we're not anticipating running Hafner out there every day, either. It'll benefit us, because for sure we'll have one of the two guys in the lineup in just about every game."




And in the dings and bruises department... Jack Hannahan and Shin-Soo Choo are not with the club, but both will likely be in Texas. I like getting Chisenhall playing time right no, so I think the Hannahan injury is just, whatever. Choo though is eligible to come off the DL next Tuesday.


Also expect Matt LaPorta to return at some point during this road trip. He is eligible to be recalled today, and he isn't really playing a part in what Columbus is doing right now...


Which by the way... The Clippers took a 2-0 lead over Durham in their first series of the International League playoffs. The Clips beat Durham 8-3, pounding out 14 hits and getting a great outing from Mitch Talbot. In a strange twist, they beat up on former Tribe farmhand Chris Archer, who went to the Cubs in the Mark DeRosa trade and then went to Tampa Bay in the Matt Garza deal.


Chad Huffmann homered for the second straight game, Beau Mills doubled for the second straight, and combined they have knocked in six of the Clippers 11 runs scored in the first two games. The Clips can sweep and end things real early as they now swing the series to Columbus for three straight if necessary. Bring it home Clips!


And in other playoff news, the K-Tribe got on the board and split the two games on the road with Myrtle Beach with a 8-6 win last night. After dropping the first game 4-1, Kinston evened things up before things switched to Historic Grainger Stadium.


Tyler Cannon had a huge plast in the third inning, a grand slam off Pelicans starter Chad Bell. It was largely a battle of bullpens with both starters going out early and the game going into the 11th inning. Toru Murata picked up the win after striking out the side in the 10th and Preston Guilmet with the save in the 11th. Giovanni Soto came on in relief with two scoreless frames.


But it was Jesus Aguilar knocking in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th and then Casey Frawley with the insurance run.




I know it is Follow Friday and I usually pick someone that you should Follow. Here's the deal though, I'm assuming you've all followed the important Indians accounts. That's pretty much all I follow. I'm not really diverse. I have mostly Indians/Baseball related stuff, a few friends, and a few other things that I care about or find funny.


So I'm the wrong person to be asking this. But it is football season now and I'd be remiss if I didn't make sure you were following the greatness that is King Laserface. Also known as, what Phillip Rivers is really saying during his games.


Days Without a Tweet: 108


You can read more Morning Rundown and other features on Nino's blog, The Tribe Daily.

The TCF Forums