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Indians Indians Archive Morning Rundown: Three is the Most Frustrating Number for Tribe
Written by Nino Colla

Nino Colla

DLowe05If there was anyway we could figure out a way to get this team to do things right on both days, then look out. A 1-0 win, a slugfest loss, a shutout loss. Two good pitching performances, little support, one bad one, one offensive outburst. This is just a jumbled mess sometimes. It's a been more than a week since we've gone running so let's get to it.

July 15th, 2012

Cleveland Indians - 0

Toronto Blue Jays - 3

W: Carlos Villanueva (4-0) L: Derek Lowe (8-7) S: Darren Oliver (1)


I just spent three days in the wilderness. I've never been camping before. I mean I've spent time in the wilderness, but I've stayed in a cabin. Hardly sleeping on the ground in a tent and not having the use of proper restroom facilities.

Truly roughing in.

To take in that experience, I didn't check the score to the Indians games over the past two days. I mean, I could have, I had service at times but most of my time I had to deal with having to worry about supervising our trip.

Indians baseball for a weekend took a back seat. I return hoping to see at least two wins but of course, the Indians come back from the break with a series loss and Nino comes back to the world with a little disappointment.

I sum up the weekend, by looking at highlights and boxscores to the first paragraph of this edition of the Rundown. The Indians get no support for Justin Masterson or Derek Lowe, one run combined. They manage to get a win because it looks like Masterson was just that good, but they probably shouldn't have walked out with even one win in this series.

Masterson great.. Ubaldo bad... Travis Hafner goes boom, Indians offense can't keep up. I suppose we should talk about the 3-0 defeat on Sunday. It really came down to the third inning with three runs scoring. Derek Lowe gave up three hits in the entire game and they all came in that third inning and two scored runs. Two singles and a walk. That inning also accounted for three walks.

So really Derek Lowe must hate the number three. Innings 1,2, 4-6? He walked one guy in the sixth, then promptly got Adam Lind to ground into a double play. That inning aside he was Derek Lowe that we are used to

"Other than those walks -- that kind of hurt him in the third inning -- he pitched well," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He had a good sinker with depth on it, they didn't hit him hard at all. He pitched well, there is nothing to complain about," Acta said. "He gave us six solid innings, we just couldn't do anything offensively."

Bigger picture, after starting 6-3 in April and May, June and July he's 2-4. It seems he's over his hiccups though as after he got hit with the two big bombings, he's gone out to throw three quality starts in his last four games. He can still give you five innings even if he gets pounded, so there's that. They just needed to score for him in this one like they did against the Angels.

So what happened in this one? 
I look back to the 1-0 win and see eight hits, four walks. They faced a good pitcher in Ricky Romero and just managed to get one good swing from Hafner for a run and that's all they needed. They sure needed it since Choo and Cabrera couldn't get on base and they just walked Kipnis twice.
There really isn't much difference in the loss to Villanueva. He's having a good year, much better than Romero, but he walked five guys. He gave up as many baserunners as Lowe did. But he spread his out, the walks came and the hits did not when they needed them.
I can say this. At least the offense isn't anemic looking. Neither game was a lack of any sort of getting anything going. The lack of production came in that they couldn't get the hits that counted. As Kipnis would say in regards to Sunday, they were patient. He said they were not patient enough but I think five walks says a lot. It's the three hits that hurt.
There's that freaking number again, three.
The Indians offense had a runner get to second in three of the first four innings and again in the sixth. They managed to get a leadoff double by Brantley in the ninth but again could not advance him any further. Not only did the Indians not score they couldn't get a guy past second base all day. Talk about your lack of RISP hitting, you don't even have the opportunity to manufacture runs if you can't get them to third.

Random Details...
With two more hits, Michael Brantley is now carrying a .302 average, which leads the team. Who would have ever thought that? He's now got another streak going with 13 games and in the past four he has multiple hits. Um, wow? That's really all I can say. I have no words. Wow. He's just wow right now.
Mentioned that Choo and Cabrera could not get on base in the first game. They were rather quiet in the entire series, even in the game with runs scored. Choo was 2-for-12 with a walk and no runs scored or knocked in. Cabrera was 1-for-12 himself with a walk and just a run scored. 
That's not going to get it done, even with Brantley being awesome right now and you might as well add Jason Kipnis to the mix as he was 1-for-9. He did have four walks, but he didn't score a single run. Three hits from your three best hitters in three games?
Oh god that number again.
But yeah, that again, is just not going to get it done.
Hold your breath because this is going to be a heck of a rundown...With as few threes as possible.
And of course, as few 'rumors as possible' but we have to partake in some discussion because it's the smack-dab middle of July and the deadline is coming up. If anything, I think the Indians make a move for a starting pitcher and not a bat. ESPN Chicago reported that there are 10 teams peaked in on Ryan Dempster, with the Indians being one of them.
I would love for the Indians to get their hands on Dempster. He's a solid add and at $7 million price tag that the Cubs may be able to pay most of, it makes it a great fit. It sounds like the price would be pitching though and that might be tough for the Indians to swing if they have to battle with other teams. He is a free agent, so it would strictly be a rental.
Again, not expecting any sort of bat, especially not Shane Victorino. For one, it is said Victorino is pricey and the Indians are still going to give Grady Sizemore a shot, whether you like it or not. So deal with that guys.
Because of playing in Toronto, Manny Acta had his lineup a little different. Thankfully as it seemed to work out last year, Tampa is also up next, which means Acta, although it is rough for his players for the stretch, can get the turf business out of the way.
"It's a tough trip for us," Acta said. "We have to try to monitor our players because ... it actually is tough on our guys, and so we have to kind of manage that and see who we can give a day off here [Toronto] or in Tampa." 
Of course that meant that they had to give Hafner a day off even after a four day break prior to playing on Friday. Santana playing first on Friday had nothing to do with it, it was more-so a move for Lou Marson, who got the start against the left-handed Romero. Hopefully we see more of that as he went 1-for-4 but has been killing the ball, regardless of who's throwing, in July and the end of June.
The Nick Hagadone saga continues with him having surgery last week on his broken forearm. It will keep him out more than two months, essentially ending his season for the Indians. Considering he had a screw put in, that can't be a great thing. And I can't see after what he did him making it back to the Indians this year.
"I think he learned his lesson," Indians manager Manny Acta said Thursday. "A big part of this game is being able to control your emotions. He was frustrated and obviously ended up hurting himself." 
Of course because of his actions, the Indians put Hagadone on the disqualified list and now the players association is fighting it.

"Clubs want players to compete, to compete very hard, and sometimes those emotions come out," Weiner said Tuesday in Kansas City. "No player is proud of the fact that he injured himself in that kind of situation. But Nick is not the first player this year, and certainly not the first player in baseball history, who unfortunately suffered that kind of injury."
That's pretty laughable as the president Michael Weiner is saying that irrationally punching something that can break your forearm is a part of the game. But whatever. This isn't like Hagadone is upset, it's just the MLBPA defending one of their own. I'm sure like Acta said, Hags has learned from this. A senseless decision cost him a lot of time and faith.

Chris Perez didn't get into the All-Star game this year, which is disappointing, but he did get in last year and he did record his 25th save on Friday. His number is one more than the 24 holds that teammate Vinnie Pestano has, which leads the league. It was good to see Rage get back on the board on Friday too after blowing that one a week ago before the break.
Esmil Rogers is fitting in nicely to the bullpen, which has really needed another piece to add to the Pestano/Perez combo at the end and Joe Smith.

"He hasn't been walking guys, has been attacking the strike zone, and has pitched well for us," Acta said. "Our confidence in him is growing. When you have that type of arm and you pitch ahead, it's a matter of time before the numbers go in your favor." 
Perhaps the Indians have found themselves a nice little piece off the waiver wire. It's those moves that can really help you in a one year stretch. If it works out to being more than that, great, but right now Rogers looks good and seems to be filling into his potential, which is all good for Cleveland and a feather in the cap of Chris Antonetti.
Of course the one thing lacking now is a capable lefty with the struggles of Tony Sipp and the absence of Rafael Perez, who made his first rehab outing and did it for the Akron Aeros. It was on Italian heritage night and he wore a silly looking red and green uniform. I'm Italian and even I wouldn't have worn it. But Perez threw eight pitches in the inning and is slated to go again tonight. He even threw 11 more pitches in a bullpen session on Saturday to make up for the lack of work in game. He will likely make five rehab appearances in total according to Manny Acta, which would make three more after Monday. If he actually gets five will remain to be seen but if he keeps going well, no reason he can't be back rather soon.
And given that Perez is often used and abused like no other, I'm sure back-to-back games in this stint would be required and factored into that number of five.
On the note of Akron Aeros, yesterday was a big day for the Jhonny Peralta trade and an even bigger day for Giovanni Soto after he threw a complete game no-hitter against Altoona. Soto highlighted his gem by helping his own cause by grabbing a bouncer in the seventh inning and making a solid throw to get the out at first. Overall, it was just a good moment for the young left-hander.

"I thought about [the no-hitter] around the seventh inning," he admited. "I knew I had a catcher, [34-year-old] Michel Hernandez, with a lot of experience, so I wasn't shaking him off."
Soto has been having a so-so year. He's 6-6 now with a 3.73 ERA in 18 games. He's struck out 87 hitters and walked 39. He's really doing what he's done at every other level though after he missed time last year with some elbow issues. 
For the Aeros, it was their first no-hitter since 2009 when Jeanmar Gomez threw one.
The Indians saw the Draft deadline come and go and they didn't have to worry about their first rounder. That's pretty nice with the new system in place. But they did have some deals to get done and they were able to get more picks signed, including the highest pick that had not signed yet, outfielder D'Vone McClure. They also inked Caleb Hamrick to complete their top 10 picks and 11th rounder Logan Vick.

The consequences of not winning the series are simply with the fact that the Detroit Tigers won their series with the Orioles, shutting them out on Sunday for emphasis as they claim second place.
So, the Indians are in third?
UGH... That number. At least they didn't win 3-0 too.


Nino has a blog! Give it a vist at The Tribe Daily, because he's more Italian than Vinny Rottino. Pizza Pie!

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