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Indians Indians Archive Morning Rundown: Lowe Scuffles and a Sizemore Setback
Written by Nino Colla

Nino Colla

DLowe03Well, the Indians won't sweep the Tigers this season after all. It was looking like a slight possibility the way the Tribe was playing their division rivals, but the magic finally wore out.

June 7th, 2012

Cleveland Indians - 5

Detroit Tigers - 7

W: Casey Crosby (1-1) L: Derek Lowe (7-4) S: Jose Spazverde (10)


Despite out-hitting the Tigers and posting a valiant comeback, the Indians were simply put into too big of a hole by Derek Lowe, who struggled for the second time in three starts, giving up seven runs for the second time this year. Lowe hadn't allowed more than two runs in a start until May 26th against the White Sox and now he's given up seven and eight in two of his last three.

"They had the same approach as the White Sox," said Lowe, whose season ERA has climbed to 3.72 from 2.15 over his last three starts. "It doesn't matter how long you play the game, now's the time to make kind of an adjustment. Two of the last three teams have really been ultra-aggressive in the first inning."

Lowe said he threw a few sinkers that stayed up and of course Miguel Cabrera and hitters like him will demolish those types of mistakes. Well the hitters around him demolished the mistakes, Cabrera just hit the one good pitch Lowe could throw out of the park. That will happen.

As usual, Lowe gave up a good amount of hits, but only walked one. The bright side about this one is that he was at least able to go five innings and because the damage happened early enough, the Indians had their opportunity to build a slow comeback. Which you just kind of had a feeling they would. Despite all of Lowe's struggles, the offense battled and aside from a blemish in the fourth, Lowe tried to put up some goose eggs until he gave way to the Scott Barnes and Jeremy Accardo for three scoreless innings.

"It was a lot to overcome," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "But, hey, we'll move on. We're happy with the way we're playing right now."

The first attempt to turn things around came in the fourth when Jose Lopez doubled home Jason Kipnis, who walked and collected his AL leading 14th steal. Of course the Boesch double and Cabrera homer made it seem like things were just going to keep getting out of hand. Until the Indians got some zeros and put up two runs in back-to-back innings in the sixth and seventh.

The rallying wasn't over as the Indians were set to make some more magic happen in the eighth. Johnny Damon replaced Shelley Duncan as a pinch hitter and he promptly popped out with Brantley on first. A single by Kotchman sent him two second with one out and Marson would ground out to advance the runners giving the Tribe a golden opportunity to tie the game with just one hit and one of their best and hottest hitters at the plate.

Choo would work the count full, but ended up popping out to the second baseman. It would present the Indians best opportunity to the time game because even though the middle three came to the plate in the ninth, Jose Valverde and his stupid orange goatee was in-sync in this one.

I was enjoying not having to see that spaz dance around the infield this season, but you can't win them all, especially against one team. But I guess 5-1 against one team thus far is not a bad start. Part of winning division goes into beating your division's teams and so far, 5-1 against the Tigers will go a long way. You would have liked to have this one, but you would have liked to have all of them.

Random Details...

Choo continues to thrive in that leadoff spot, improving to 30-for-90 from the first spot in the order.

Michael Brantley is now up to 15 games on his hitting streak with another hit. He's 20-for-56 during the streak.

It's official, Lonnie Chisenhall is platooning with Jose Lopez. That seems like a great way to get Chisenhall ready for playing every day. Lopez was available to start and of course, with the left-hander on the mound got the nod at third base.

Lopez did knock in two of the runs and walked, so I can't go complaining much, but it is slightly annoying.

Carlos Santana notched his first hit and RBI since returning to the lineup, he also walked.


I said I wouldn't bother bringing this up, but it's a hot topic at this point because of some of the things that are being thrown around. Grady Sizemore discussion, on.

"The process has been slowed down a little bit," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Thursday. "But we've never had any timetable for Grady." 

Let's just cut to the chase. There was no timetable said, but there was most definitely a timetable established by the Indians. Whether they let Sizemore on as to what that timetable was or they kept it in their collective heads is beyond me, but don't believe Acta when he says that there was never one.

Why? Because he just said the 'process' was slowed down. In other words, there was a setback. It's just clever Shapiroese to make us think everything is fine and dandy. While I love Acta, I love Shapiro, I love Antonetti, this is the type of talk that you need to come to expect from the regime. And you just have to, in kindly put words, break up the BS when needed.

In his less-experienced verse of Shapiroese, trainer Lonnie Soloff pretty much got caught.

"It's more just a patient approach," Soloff said. "We're working off his daily feedback and we're progressing based on how he feels. If he's a little sore on any given day, we'll adjust his program accordingly. That was the thought process at the outset." I'm not sure how you qualify a setback for a guy like that," Soloff said. "We're still optimistic that he's going to contribute in 2012. It's unreasonable and unfair to Grady and the process to set a definitive timetable." 

Here's the thing. If there wasn't some sort of issue in his recovery, this wouldn't be a discussion. Why was it brought up? Maybe the media sees the 60 day window coming up and that he's eligible to return so they ask. Or maybe there was a status update.

Sizemore's rehab has been slowed, that much we know and that is enough to garner the idea that there was a setback. It doesn't sound major, but you just need to qualify it for what it is. A setback. The use of Shapiroese simply makes this a bigger deal than it is to me because if you were to just tell me it was as setback and how much it set him back, I'd have everything I needed to know.

Instead, most of us just have to sit here and decode the language. How fun.


Mentioned the effectiveness of Vincent K. Pestano and Chris 'Pure Rage' Perez against the Tigers yesterday. However it's just par for the course. They've just done a lot of their damage against Detroit.

"It's very comforting to me when we have a lead in the eighth," Acta said. "I mean, I tip my hat to the other club if they beat us, but I'd put those guys against anybody right now. More times than not, they have come out on top."

The combo has become a regular automatic game shortening factor. They would say Mariano Rivera shortened the game by an inning and now with the Indians having these two on the roll they are on, the game is being shortened by two. You get six innings of quality work from your starter and there isn't much need for anything else.

If you had the Indians leading the league in stolen bases, especially after the first week of the season was finished, you are a regular visionary, congratulations. I would have never pegged the Indians of all teams to be the speed demons they are, swiping the most bags in the American League thus far. But by golly, they are right up there.

"It's huge for us," center fielder Michael Brantley said. "We know that we're not going to have guys that are going to hit 40 or 50 home runs, so we have to manufacture runs. A big part of that is stealing bases, doing hit-and-runs."

While Jason Kipnis is the leader in the clubhouse, it is Michael Brantley that is a big reason for the lead. We all knew this was his game but what we didn't know was how much it wouldn't be apart of his game early on. While I personally am expecting more out of him, just the fact that he's been out there doing it more often than in years past is a good sign. Add in a returning to form Choo and surprise swiper Kipnis, and this team has more than a few options to gain an extra bag.

Manny Acta credited first base coach Tom Widenbauer with the success, saying that the Indians have not had a coach on staff primarily dedicated to the art of base running until Widenbauer came on this season.

I watched Aeros starter Steven Wright take a no-hitter into the seventh inning last night. The Aeros won 2-1 and are now 36-20 on the season and in first place by 5.5 games. Wright improved to 5-2 on the year with a 1.67 ERA. I think it's time he get back to Columbus. What better story in the Indians minor league system is better than Wrights?

"It was almost like a gift from God, because at end of the 2011 season, I strained a ligament in my finger," Wright said. "It hurt for a while to throw a knuckleball. ... I got back to where I used to be, throwing fastballs, sinkers, cutters, curveballs and using the knuckleball as an out pitch. When I started doing that, I started seeing not only that my knuckeball was better in terms of movement, but I was able to throw in the strike zone more consistently."

Wright will be 28-years-old towards the end of the season, but his chances of making a run at a big league roster spot have never looked better. You can't really deny what he is doing because the numbers he is putting up now as a knuckleballer are eye-popping. Last year it was okay, but he was still learning to throw it. Now it's almost as if he's a professional.

And finally a big storyline this weekend will be Chris Perez's return to St. Louis. He's not making that big of a deal about it though.

"I was only there for 1 1/2 years," said Perez. "It's not like I was there for 10 years. I didn't help them win anything. I was a middle reliever, I don't think they really cared [that they traded me]."

Perez said it will be nice to go back because of all the friends he has on the team, having gone up through their minor league systems with a lot of their current roster. But he is over whatever went down in St. Louis and happy they traded him to Cleveland. I think we are too.


Nino has a blog that is protected by a statue of Luke Carlin. Give it a vist at The Tribe Daily, or he might eat your face off.

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