Reds 12, Indians 5: Swept In Cincinnati By The Brandon Phillips Show

Team President Mark Shapiro was a highly thought of and for the most part successful General Manager with the Indians before being bumped up stairs. He fleeced the Mariners in getting Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo in separate deals for the “Benuardo” first base platoon (Ben Broussard and Eduardo Perez). He got Carlos Santana for Casey Blake and Travis Hafner for Einar Diaz and Ryan Drese. But for all of the kudos he receives for the aforementioned deals, I will never and can never get over his biggest mistake as a member of the Indians front office.

That’s right, I am going to bring it up again.

Shapiro’s white whale beat him down once again and abused his team for a second straight game, leading the way in the 12-5 Cincinnati Reds win over the Tribe. I am of course talking about Brandon Phillips. How many more times can this guy come back to haunt us? Phillips has been gone since 2006 and he hasn’t stopped pounding his ex-team, reminding the Indians twice a year that they made a colossal mistake by sending him packing in favor of Ramon Vasquez.

People can blame Eric Wedge all they want, and there is no doubt his dislike of Phillips led to him being dealt for a bag of balls. But in the end, it was Shapiro’s job to pull rank on his manager and demand that talent win out. Instead, he let his manager make the call. The Indians have been paying the price ever since.

Yesterday, Phillips added three more hits, including another home run, and four more RBIs as his team swept the Tribe. Time and time again in this series, the Reds second baseman came up in big spots and delivered. A much more seasoned and mature Phillips talked about his feelings these days towards the question that always comes up when the two teams meet:

“Deep down, it feels good to beat up on the Tribe,” Phillips said. “But they’re moving in the right direction. Manny Acta’s a good coach — I mean manager — and the majority of the guys who are there are new. So, go Tribe.”

Meanwhile, the Indians aren’t going to beat anyone if their pitching continues to flounder. The Reds teed off for 12 runs on 17 hits. Starter Josh Tomlin lasted just four innings, giving up six of those runs on 10 hits.

“I felt like everything I was throwing up there, they were hitting,” said Tomlin. “The pitches out of the zone that I was trying to get bad contact with, they were just letting them go. Other than that, everything I threw over the plate, they hit.”

Rookie Reliever Scott Barnes took it on the chin as well, recording just one out in the fifth inning and getting lit up for five runs on five hits and two walks.

The Reds completely dominated this series, led by Phillips who went 8-13 with two homers and seven RBIs in three games.

“That’s not the way you wanted to finish a road trip,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “But, you’ve got to give them credit. They beat us on both sides of the ball. Their starters pretty much held our offense down and then they out-hit us, too.”

Really the Indians did nothing right in Cincinnati. They were outscored 24-9 and went just 2-20 with runners in scoring position. In the band box that is Great American Ballpark, Shin-Soo Choo’s two solo homers yesterday were the only jacks the Tribe hit in three games. When you go an entire series without seeing Vinnie Pestano or Chris Perez, it is not a good sign. Esmil Rogers and Jeremy Accardo both made two appearances. Also not a good sign.

The Indians nine-game trip that started with such promise at 4-2, finished with a flop at 4-5. Incredibly, with the White Sox losing two of three in St. Louis, the Indians are still just a game and a half out of first.

The Pittsburgh Pirates come to town this weekend with the same record as the Tribe, 32-30. Like the Indians, they are offensively challenged and are winning with good pitching. Their surprise ace this season, James McDonald (5-2, 2.39 ERA) goes in the opener tonight. He will be faced by the Tribe’s Justin Masterson (2-6, 4.76 ERA).

 photo via The Cincinnati Enquirer/Cara Owsley

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    BP just loves sticking it to his former team when he should probably be thanking them instead I mean he didn’t have to languish under Eric Wedge.

    Phillips by far was the worst decision but the Cliff Lee trade, the second one, is a close second.  I guess Shapiro receiveth and giveth.  The CC trade is up there but Brantley is doing his best to show something from it.

    I’ll watch this series I like quite a few guys from the Bucs. McCutcheon is a beast, Neil Walker is a scrappy 2B, McDonald has been outstanding since coming from LA and there are a few other young Pirates to watch on offense. The good news is Pittsburgh isn’t hitting very well so hopefully the Indians pitchers can continue the trend.

  • mgbode

    “Like the Indians, they are offensively challenged and are winning with good pitching.”

    please explain how this is like the Indians this year.

  • JacobWFNY

    Phillips’ career in 38 games against the Indians: .356/.395/.577 with 9 HR’s and 30 RBI. Yikes. TD’s right.

  • mgbode

    i am actually a little glad that Phillips has busted out in such a big way.  it has become proof-positive that you don’t give up on an uber-talented player just because he might have a rift with the manager.  you tell them to figure it out.

    while, it absolutely stinks that we shipped him out for virtually nothing, it hopefully helped Shapiro (and in his teaching of Antonetti) learn a valuable lesson (which may not have been learned if Phillips ended up busting).

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Which is probably why the Matt LaPorta experiment continues.  Phillips was/is an undeniable talent it’s just unfortunate what happened for Indians fans.  Lets face it having Jason Kipnis doesn’t hurt too.  Finally.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Good pitching…at times…Bedard got rocked yesterday in Baltimore.  Keep an eye on the Orioles people they are playing well and just got Brian Roberts back.  They might give the big boys a run for the $$$ in the AL East this year.

    As far as the Indians go when they get good pitching they can’t hit and when they hit they can’t get good pitching.  These are the types of things that happen to a team who doesn’t have enough quality depth.  Fortunately for the Indians they play in the worst of the three divisions in the AL.

    I heard rumblings that the Indians and Cubs are talking Alfonso Soriano.  Other then Chicago having to eat much of his salary for this to even get off the ground I wonder which “prospects” the Indians would have to trade.  I mean if I’m the Cubs who would the Indians have that I’d even want.  Perhaps LaPorta for starters if we want to streeeeeetch.

  • mgbode

    LaPorta would be on the team if that were the case IMO.  I think it is partially why Brantley has been given a long leash with the club.

    (and we’ve actually been ridiculously spoiled at 2B w/ the Tribe:  Baerga, Alomar, Phillips, Kipnis – heck, Broussard wasn’t terrible there either)

  • mgbode

    I don’t trust the O’s pitching holding up the whole year (and alot of their hitters have been injury-prone).  I’d put my hopes in the Jays/Rays before the O’s (but the O’s are certainly building something there).

  • mgbode

    as far as the Cubs, it depends on who they expect to be trading away the rest of this season.  if they do end up trading Dempster and Garza to rebuild their farm system, then they might be wanting someone back like Jeanmar Gomez to fill-in their rotation (or McCallister or maybe we could get them to take Huff).

  • Jason

    You forgot to mention BP’s defensive impact as well. I was at the game yesterday and he made several great plays in the hole that killed potential rallies. Not “web gem” plays but certainly plays that affected the game and series.

  • Baltier

    There were actually 3 homers hit in this series…two by Choo and 1 by Jose Lopez

  • Harv 21

    wait, isn’t Shapiro the white whale and Phillips the embittered dead-eye harpoonist?

    sorry, I know you declared nerd-free Fridays, but stop baiting.

  • Andrew B.

    I just took a look at where the Indians rank in both hitting and pitching and by god, it’s hard to believe that they’re so close to first. They have one of the worst pitching staffs in all of baseball, and are average at best in the hitting department. Front office has a lot of work to do.

    Thank god we play in the AL Central.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Second base has definitely been a strong position for awhile.  Shortstop and catcher are two others that come to mind as well.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Baltimore could probably use another SP I agree but their offense is talented and deep.  Mark Reynolds hadn’t been hitting at all and he’s coming alive plus Brian Roberts is back finally.  East will be tough.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Dempster is on the block and most likely Garza to bad the Indians couldn’t take a run at either of them they’d fit just as well as a Soriano. 

  • FearTheRoo

    There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll lose this series to Pittsburgh. It’s bad enough we have to hear about the football team from that trashy city, now the same hillbillies will be holding bragging rights in baseball…