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Indians Indians Archive Morning Rundown: Tribe Bounced Around in the Bronx
Written by Nino Colla

Nino Colla

jtomlin03I dislike Nick Swisher. I really do. I just can't stand him. The fact that he struck out three times delights me, but the RBI and the hit boils my blood. Watching him prance around in right field and play up his antics ticks me off. If he was ever on the Indians, I'm not sure I could handle it. Now that that is out of the way, we can talk about more angry things. Expect me to repeat this tomorrow though.

June 25th, 2012

Cleveland Indians - 1

New York Yankees - 7

W: Hiroki Kuroda (7-7) L: Josh Tomlin (3-5)


Regardless of your offense, Josh Tomlin did not get the Indians off to a great start. 2-2-2 in the first three innings is quite demoralizing. Adding on to the fact that he was pretty much done after that, it's kind of putting the nail in the coffin rather quickly. Teams have come back from six run deficits before, especially with a whole six innings left, but not with this offense.

"This is the wrong place to pitch behind in the count, up in the zone," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Wrong place. Wrong team. He just doesn't have the stuff to pitch behind in the count and then have to come back into the zone and battle these guys. He really struggled." 

This isn't the vaunted Yankees with endless amounts of talent at every position, so let's not make any mistakes in saying they'll kill you 1-through-9 with their All-Star lineup. But you make mistakes they'll kill you. Even if you don't make mistakes and give them something decent to hit, they'll kill you. That's exactly what happened. Tomlin didn't have it and the Yankees pretty much had his number.

"Guys were fouling pitches off, and they saw a lot of pitches early," Tomlin said. "If guys were going to miss by that much, I'd prefer them to put it in play somewhere and hopefully get an out. At that point, they were fouling a bunch of pitches off and waiting. And when they got a pitch to hit, they didn't really miss it." 

The struggles of Josh Tomlin are starting to get concerning. He's an adjustment pitcher, so you expect him to make some changes. Acta says that while Gomez's issues are more mechanical, Josh's issues are different. Although they are not thinking it right this minute, he went as far as saying Josh could be a bullpen candidate if he doesn't figure things out.

I'm shocked Manny was that open about it, just throwing around that he could be moved to the bullpen. I think overall that's where they thought he'd eventually end up, probably quite earlier than this, but now with his struggles, they might be thinking it's time.

In this game specifically, it was too many pitches as Tomlin said. Of course three home runs will do you in, but in just three innings, 80 pitches? He couldn't have gone any further even if he or anyone else wanted him to, especially since he tops out around 90 anyway. It was just a very un-Tomlin-like game and the numbers show that all around.

So all in all, is it even worth discussing the offense, which has now scored exactly one run in three straight games and five runs in the past four games overall? Acta says it's just that point in the roller coaster, and you have to look at the wins, not the runs.

"It's the long roller coaster of the season," Acta said. "You win, you lose. You hit, you don't hit. You pitch, you don't pitch. You catch the ball, you don't catch the ball. The bottom line is we're 4-3 over the last seven games." 

I guess it is good that the team has managed to pull off some wins regardless of their slow offense. But guess what? You're back in the American League now. It's time to go. You can't be messing around, you need to score to keep up with some of these teams. 

Not only that, hat tip to Hiroki Kuroda for actually pitching well. That was just a solidly pitched game. The bats started to wake up towards the end of his outing, maybe as they started to figure things out, but at that point he had pitched so well through the first six, that it didn't matter. Acta even said that he had good stuff and Kuroda pitched well.
The offenses lack of production is concerning. It was more concerning against the Houston Astros than it is against a guy like Kuroda that pitched well. But make no mistake, the Indians are having some issues at the plate right now. They'll break out, you just hope that it is sooner rather than later. Because right now. This is a huge test. The AL East is pretty much a winners club right now, with their entire division just being overall better than any other division.
And the Indians have the next two series against AL East teams, followed by a red-hot Angels team and another AL East squad in Tampa all before the All-Star break. The Indians just need to survive until then, but the key is just that, surviving til then.

Random Details...

Another two hit game for Shin-Soo Choo, who tried.. I'm not sure what the middle was doing going 0-for-9. Kipnis' RBI, kind of sad.

Ultimately the saddest? 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. It will kill you every single time.

Scott Barnes was valuable in relief, throwing a few zeros up before giving up a run. 

Dewayne Wise? Really? Guy has a home run and a triple and accounts for half of the Yankees runs? I swear... Like I said it isn't the vaunted 1-through-9 that you absolutely fear every single hitter and their ability to kill you... So, Dewayne Wise?

He was out at third by the way on that "triple". The throw made it in time and the tag on his leg beat his foot to the bag. Missed call by the umpire, but, it didn't matter, did it?

Casey Kotchman has been particularly hot, but he went 0-for-4 quietly and was a big culprit of the LOB failures.


The move we thought that would be made, was made on Monday with the Indians wasting no time in getting an extra bullpen arm for their series against the Yankees. Turns out they definitely will need it just based off the first game. Scott Barnes was recalled in a temporary move and sent down was Jeanmar Gomez, who has officially lost his rotation spot to Zach McAllister.

Manny Acta said it is a permanent move too, McAllister has the job, no spot starting, no one and done, he's taking Gomez's spot for now. He'll get a chance to prove himself and given that he's pitched well for Columbus lately, this was the right move for McAllister, not just for sending down Gomez. Z-Mac deserves this opportunity and it's time to see if he can go.

Gomez had reached his rope after this past weekend. Acta noted what went wrong and what Gomez has to do to get back.

"It's about consistency throughout the game and throughout outings every five days," Acta said. "[Gomez needs to work on] staying aggressive with his fastball and pitching ahead in the count, and then getting back to being more consistent with his delivery from the stretch. He ran into a lot of trouble with that, not being able to stay back and leaving pitches up in the zone."

I'm sure he will get another opportunity at some point. Maybe by the end of the year, maybe next month, maybe two. Who knows. It will ultimately depend on how he's pitching though. We know he can do it at that level, and even this level, so it's not about the numbers, it's about what Acta talked about. You have to believe the Indians will not go with him again until they believe he's corrected everything. 

Scott Barnes will be a temporary extra arm, and he turned in two-plus innings of solid work before surrendering a run and being chased on Dewayne Wise being out at third tripling in the six. Can't hurt with a solid effort after your starter went just three innings. You'd like to see Barnes stick, but it will probably not happen.

You have to give him some credit. Another double last night and Johnny Damon is starting to be a productive member of the lineup. We all whined, heck I did, a few weeks ago, but it's time to move on and forget about it because he's figuring things out.

"When I got up here," Damon said, "I started taking a lot of pitches and trying to see more pitches to speed myself up. In actuality, I didn't need to see that many pitches. I needed to swing at strikes. That's what I wasn't doing. I'm going up [now] with the approach that I've got to hit." 
Acta said that Damon never brought a bad attitude into the clubhouse with his struggles. I know I harp on the veteran presence a lot and some like to say it's generally overrated. But you know, a sour attitude can sour a team and send it into a tailspin. A positive attitude, especially in a situation like Damon's, new team, late addition, struggling mightily with higher expectations, can take you a long way in the respect department and also really help your team.
Speaking of helping the team... Manny Acta isn't worried about Kevin Youkilis in Chicago. He says that they know he's going to improve their team, but makes the real valid point that you can't do anything about that. You just have to hope he doesn't knock the crap out of the Indians. The Indians on the other hand are going to continue searching, but there is no pressure.

"Our front office doesn't stop trying to make our team better," Acta said. "But it takes two to tango. It's not as easy as people think it is, and it's got to be something that makes sense for us."

A huge move right now may not be all that needed if Carlos Santana can turn it around and the Indians get back a certain DH. That man, Travis Hafner, is closing in on a rehab assignment in the coming days. After that it's only a matter of time before Hafner makes it back to Cleveland. He shouldn't need a large amount of rehab games and he'll probably be going on more of a relaxed playing schedule, but just having him for more than a few times a week will be great.
So apparently Ubaldo Jimenez can drum. He and Jason Kipnis visited the lovely MLB Fan Cave and Jimenez got behind the set and played a little for the Cave.

"I guess nobody asked me before," the Indians right-hander said after jumping up on the MLB Fan Cave music stage and performing an impromptu drum solo for the seven Cave Dwellers before they broke out in applause. "When I was growing up in the Dominican, we always played on the drums, just for fun. I do my best."

Unfortunately, no singing from Jason Kipnis, who is still getting Adele requests...

"I go to away games or in Cleveland and there will be people down the sidelines screaming for me to sing Adele," Kipnis said. "For some reason, I still respond to it, and I still turn around like they are talking to me. It's fun. It's something I like to do, to sing during games and keep myself occupied. But when you're mic'd up, you've got to remember that you're mic'd up and watch what you are saying or singing. It's stuck with me. But I don't mind too much."

Why just Adele? Why not throw some variety in there. He sings during games, but I can't imagine he just sings Adele. In fact, someone just shout "Sing some Journey!" at him next time. I'll give you a dollar.
Kipnis is still behind in the voting for starting second baseman on the AL roster. Of course that should surprise now one. Kipnis says he'll be glad if he makes the team, but knows that isn't the end goal. Right now he's short of 1 million votes and in fourth place behind the big three in Cano, Pedroia and Kinsler. There's no catching any of them. Meanwhile Asdrubal Cabrera made a nice little move to get over a million. He likely doesn't catch J.J. Hardy of Baltimore (travesty). Cabrera likely gets squeezed out of this equation, but Kipnis could as well because he's so young, despite having a better year.
Here is out much of a player Kip is though. Asked in regards to moving to second from the outfield, he basically said he'd rather be uncomfortable in the major leagues than uncomfortable in Double-A. That is a baseball player friends. That is a baseball player. Believe it.
Second place is slipping as the Tigers pounced on the Rangers and beat them 8-2 behind a huge game from Miguel Cabrera, going 3-for-4 with three RBI. Rick Porcello was actually good, the bullpen was too and the Tigers beat the Rangers handily. Uh-oh.

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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