Indians

Angels 3 Indians 0: Weaver Blanks Tribe

This just in – Angels starter Jered Weaver is good at baseball. This also just in – the Indians offense struggles from time to time.

Sometimes you sit back and watch a game and have to just chalk it up to being dominated by a great pitcher. That was certainly the case last night as Weaver completely befuddled the Tribe for six innings. But in the seventh, with the Indians trailing 2-0 , they finally had their shot.

Jason Kipnis led off with a walk and advanced to second on Michael Brantley’s single (by the way, I know Travis Hafner will be back soon, but its a sad state of affairs when Brantley and his one home run once again hits cleanup. When he isn’t, Jose Lopez is. Wow.) Carlos Santana, back in the lineup after his mini-absence, walked to load the bases with nobody out.

This was their big chance. I looked up at the scoreboard and saw the next three names due up – Johnny Damon, Casey Kotchman, and Shelley Duncan. I immediately thought (and tweeted) that I had a bad feeling. 

Damon’s best days are long behind him. That is no secret. We’ve been waiting and waiting for him to come around. He hasn’t. We are just about at the All-Star break and Johnny has barely registered in the big hit category. But with the bases loaded and nobody out in front of a home crowd of over 21,000, begging for a chance to get excited, would he be able to erase some of the disappointment we’ve all felt in watching him most of the year?

Nope.

Johnny grounded to third baseman Alberto Callaspo who fired home to get Kipnis for the first out.

“I let the team down,” Damon said. “I was in a situation to — worst case — at least try to push across one right there. He gave me some pitches off the plate that I felt like I could drive to left, and I didn’t.”

All we asked for was a sac fly. He couldn’t even deliver that. Alas, the Tribe had two more chances. Kotchman was next. He quickly fell behind Weaver 1-2 before getting caught swinging way early on an off-speed pitch and popped out to the catcher. Shelley Duncan, who was so hot over the weekend against  the AAA-esque pitching of the Baltimore Orioles, came crashing back to reality against the stud Weaver. The righty toyed with Duncan before making him fish for a low and away pitch in the dirt for strike three.

For all intents and purposes, the game was over right there.

Quickly back to Damon. The small sample size thing is now over with him. It is July 3rd and he sits at .201/.279/.608 and is hitting .133 (6-45) with runners in scoring position. And I haven’t even mentioned how awful he is in the field. Does it sound like I have reached my breaking point with him? I think last night put me over the edge with another 0-4. The problem, once again, is that the Indians have no other option outside of Duncan. (please, I beg you, for the love of everything, do not bring up Grady Sizemore’s health and the downward spiral it caused in left.)

Yes, in the eighth, Weaver gave up back to back singles to Jack Hannahan and Shin-Soo Choo, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia went to lefty Scott Downs, which we all know, is Tribe Kryptonite. Asdrubal Cabrera promptly grounded into a double play and Jason Kipnis flew out to center.

“We didn’t have a very good approach,” Acta said.  I just felt that we were swinging at his pitches, and too early in the count a lot of times. Too many quick outs. Yeah, he was throwing strikes, but still. We were rolling over a lot, and he just kept flipping offspeed stuff and we didn’t make the adjustment.”

Overshadowed by the lack of offense was the stellar pitching of Tribe starter Ubaldo Jimenez. For the first six innings, Ubaldo matched Weaver pitch for pitch. The only run he had allowed before Howie Kendrick’s seventh inning solo homer, came on an Erick Aybar fifth inning sac fly.  He ran out of gas in the eighth, walking in a run with two outs before Acta pulled him for Joe Smith, but this was another solid outing by the Tribe’s most scrutinized starter.

“Ubaldo pitched well again,” Acta said. “I like the way he’s throwing. He’s establishing his fastball and he’s in the strike zone, and he doesn’t have a lot of traffic out there like he did early in the year. I think he’s [headed] in the right direction.”

Not every pitcher is going to be as good as Weaver was last night and as we know, the beauty of baseball is that there is no need to dwell on what happened in one game, because another one comes the next day. So we turn the page on Weaver’s gem and focus on Dan Haren. Weaver is now 5-0 with a 1.52 ERA in his career at Progressive FIeld. Haren owns the Indians in his own way as well. He is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five career starts in Cleveland.

Sigh.

The Indians will counter tonight with Zach McAllister (2-1, 3.82 ERA), who pitched well Thursday in Baltimore.

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

  • AMC

    The one definite positive the Tribe has going for it right now is the Masterson-Ubaldo 1, 2 punch at the top of the rotation. Ubaldo’s recent performance has been overshadowed somewhat by the regression of the rest of the Indians’ rotation, but this is the guy the Indians were hoping they’d get. His last 6 starts have been legitimate top of the rotation outings.

    Unfortunately, the rest of this team is a bit of a mess. The lineup is erratic (at best) and the bottom of the lineup is sometimes barely AAAA in caliber, the starting pitching has been downright bad outside of J-Mast and Ubaldo and the bullpen (except VP and CP) has been shaky and unreliable. This team does not seem like it has the goods to contend for the long term even if they do find that elusive RH bat.

  • Garry_Owen

    Was at the ProgJake last night for my annual tribe game. A few observations:
    1) Though he pitched well, Ubaldo has GOT to look off the runner at first. The Angels were attempting to steal on him every inning, without hesitation (which happens when you get the lead off guy on base in 5 straight innings).
    2) Good thing Santana is a stud at getting base runners out. His throws last night were things of beauty. And how great was it that he nailed Pujols after his cocky attempt at third after stealing second? The only time I yelled something rude the whole night is when I screamed “We already knew you were greedy!” Two guys near me thought it was funny. Mrs. Owen didn’t.
    3) Casey Kotchman has the highest fielding percentage of any player IN MLB HISTORY!?!?!?!?! Wow. Too bad that doesn’t translate into a “batting average” or the ability to “not pop out to the catcher with bases loaded and one out.” Still, I’m impressed.
    4) I will never complain about Cleveland locals not going to every game that they can. Look, I understand the argument that the Indians games are “affordable,” but this is an exercise in relativity. We walked up to the box office last night and purchased tickets in the lower box for $78. This was great – particularly considering no tax and charges – and we had great seats for relatively little money. Still, it was $78 for two people, for a grand total, after dogs, nachos, 1 soda, 1 beer, and parking, of well over $120. I get that we could have bought cheaper tickets, but at no ticket price is an Indians game something that we could ever just do on the spur of the moment – particularly if we wanted to bring our kids and let them enjoy themselves. An Indians game is something that you build into your budget (or you go broke on credit cards). When I looked up at the scoreboard with the bases loaded in the 7th and saw the “murderer’s row” of hitters that we had coming up, I quickly empathized with people that don’t want to regularly drop $75, $100, $150 to see this stuff outside of their living room. The Indians need to fix some serious problems with their line-up. Until they do, I’ll not complain that people aren’t budgeting and investing in the product. And nobody can convince me that they’re not fans because they don’t.
    5) Still had a great time and wished that I lived closer so that I could budget and invest in a few more games each year.

  • theherd10

    “Sometimes you sit back and watch a game and have to just chalk it up to being dominated by a great pitcher.”
    I was there last night, and I knew before I even left my house that it was going to be really, REALLY tough to win. I figured if we did win, we would win as we did when we beat the Angels in Weaver’s start back in April – keep it close and then get after their bullpen. Unfortunately, I was exactly right. We had our shot, though, in the seventh. Cannot explain how deflating it was to have the bases juiced and three outs to play with, and get nada. Ubaldo pitched well, though the four-pitch, bases loaded walk to shove the third run across was annoying, but by that point, it was all over but the crying, anyway.

  • Defintely getting that 1-2 punch that we needed from our aces. It was obvious that Duncan would swing at the low outside stuff. Weaver knew it, and the 21000 in attendance knew it. Why is Canzler still in AAA? He has OF experience and can’t be any worse than what we have now.

  • mgbode

    rolling on the “greedy” joke. well done sir.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    “The Indians offense struggles from time to time,” is the understatement of the season. They scored their runs for the month against a struggling Orioles team now they can get back to normal.

  • Harv 21

    Weaver was great, but I put this one on Acta. You don’t keep trotting Love Machine out there to hit with RISP. You treat him like Punxsutawney Phil: let him peek out of the dugout with that jack-o-lantern smile once in a while when no one cares or has lost their tapes on him. NOT just a few days after we he was Line Drive Machina.

    C’mon Manny, I’m getting blue in the face on this subject. Put your guys in a position to succeed.

  • Steve

    At $10/seat, an Indians game is just as easy to do at the spur of the moment as a movie or a show at The Beachland Ballroom. Sure, if you want all the amenities too, you’re going to pay more, but for a full night out, whether it be Browns, Cavs, Playhouse Square, or the casino, $120 is still easily on the cheap end.

    I know, I know, I can’t tell anyone what is affordable to them. But when people complain about the return on value of a Tribe game and then go out and buy season tickets for the Browns, knowing full well that at some point the team is going to be running Ken Dorsey or Bruce Gradkowski out there, I don’t see how you can have any empathy.

  • Steve

    A lot of the griping about the offense needs to realize that this isn’t the mid 90s anymore. And that has nothing to do with the players. The league, as a whole, has become much more favorable to pitchers. In 95, the average AL team scored 5.1 runs/night. It’s down to 4.45 now. And Jacobs/Progressive Field has turned from a slightly favorable hitters park into a great pitchers park. Offense has been pretty tough for any team to come by at this stadium. On the season, the Indians are slight above average on offense, at 5th in the league in OPS+, a park-neutralized stat.

  • Garry_Owen

    I do 1 Browns game a year and 1 Indians game a year. On balance, I spend about the same amount of money at each of these. Bad seats and far too-expensive faire at the former, good seats and equally far-too expensive faire at the latter. If I lived locally, I might go to 5, maybe 6, Indians games a year. I still would only go to 1 Browns game. In terms of pure “value,” even though the Browns are undeniably terrible, I’d lose money on the Indians. It ain’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination, even at $10 a ticket, which is a lowball base price with no “amenities,” even a bottle of soda or water on an 85 degree day.
    Now, minor league baseball? That’s real “value.” I love to spend my money on the minors.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    No kidding it’s not the ’90s anymore all I have to do is tune into an Indians game and be reminded when the “What If” commercial airs. I don’t think anyone is expecting the ’90s again heck I’d settle for half maybe even 1/3 of that offense. Progressive Field is more of a pitchers park because the Indians play half their games there! I’ll say it again, stats can lie too.

  • Steve

    I’m not complaining about how you, individually spend your money. But the fanbase in general. The Indians are too expensive, but the full day of tailgating, tickets, PSLs, and concessions at the Browns aren’t ridiculously more?

    Sure, $10 may be expensive to you, but that’s as cheap as entertainment goes for – like I mentioned, the movies or Beachland are the same price. And you can bring in bottles of water and some food to Progressive. If you’re actually willing to go see an Indians game if they make they price affordable, it’s very easy to do. But I guess it’s still not as easy as making excuses and whining (not directed at you, but at the fanbase in general).

  • Steve

    You completely missed what I posted.

    Offense is down all across baseball since the mid 90s. This is due to numerous factors.

    Progressive Field is a pitchers park for both teams, not just the Indians. On top of the general decline in offense, it has slipped even more so at this park.

    “Stats can lie” is not an argument by itself. Which of those stats is somehow “lying”? If you don’t understand how park factors work, just say so, instead of banging the table, screaming about how everyone else has to be wrong.

  • tsm

    Why are Duncan, Cunningham and Damon still on the team instead of LaPorta, Carrera and Fedroff? How much worse could LaPorta be? At least Carrera could play defense and bunt. As for Fedroff, he seems to be doing well playing LF in Columbus, but I don’t know much about him. Any clues?

  • tsm

    I don’t understand why the team doesn’t sell the nosebleed seats in left and right field for $5.00 just to get people in the park. This would allow those of modest means to take their families to many games, build the next generation of fans and sell some concessions.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    First off I’m not banging the table, second I’m not screaming, third I don’t see me saying anyone was wrong except now – 0-3 but nice try. Have a nice day!

  • Garry_Owen

    I understand your point, for sure. I was just giving personal context. And for the record, $10 is definitely cheap – but an Indians game is never $10. Few people walk to the game. Fewer still go to the game and don’t buy some refreshment. The ancillary costs of attending are proportionally huge, and I agree, they’re just as huge as doing other entertainment activities. My point is, in part, that it’s not fair to complain that people don’t go to the games “all of the time” (my words, not yours). Fewer people are going to movies all of the time for the same reasons. It’s just too damn expensive, even on the cheap.
    As for the season ticket issue, I’m curious how many Clevelanders actually buy Browns season tickets. 20,000? 30,000? Regardless, I would bank that among those 20k or 30k, a good number of these people also attend at least, or at least close to, 8 Indians games a year – which, on a pure monetary level, is an equivalent investment; but is sure doesn’t help the Indians attendance issue. The remainder of that 20k or 30k difference is more than likely compensated by the number of Indians season ticket holders that don’t ever attend a single Browns game. Ultimately, I don’t think the Browns season ticket holder is at all the issue. For most people, particularly in this economy, expendable capital is limited and finite. My empathy springs from this, and the acknowledgement that just because the Indians play 10x as many games at home doesn’t mean that a Cleveland fan has to spend a proportionally greater amount of money on the Indians than they do on the Browns. (I don’t think you’re saying this, but this what it comes down to in my mind.)
    Utlimately, I just don’t think that the greater Cleveland area is capable of sustaining 3 pro sports franchises anymore. It’s a shame, and if I had to sacrifice one, it would be neither the Browns nor the Indians. The Browns are what they are, but they are also a key component of the identity and persona of the Cleveland sports fanbase. Whether we like it or not, it is and probably always will be a stonger component than the Indians. When it comes to the exenditure of a fanbase’s liquid capital, I’m not at all surprised that people are making the choice that they’re making, particularly given the perceived lack of investment (however real) by the Indans FO. (The approximate .210 median batting average of last’s nights bottom of the order against an all-star pitcher was compelling for me.)

  • Garry_Owen

    Agree.

  • Steve

    Well, when they’re open, they’re only $8 or 9 anyway, right? But the problem is that people still don’t buy them at that price for the big games, meaning its not profitable to open the concession stands, hire a few more ushers, and clean up afterwards, especially when the Twins are in town.

    Now, if you’re suggesting that they cut prices now to beg people to come, there is no quicker way to alienate your established customer base. If you just bought season tickets and see the prices cut midseason, why would you buy season tickets next year? You can save money, both on face value, and on not having to give the team an interest-free loan.

  • tsm

    Your are correct. I just think that if a kid gets to attend 10 or so games a year, it greatly increases the odds that he or she will become a die hard fan that not only follows the team, but buys those more expensive seats as he or she grows up. The team needs to market not only for the present, but also for the future.

  • Steve

    I guess a big issue I have is people who gripe about the price, but then don’t find the deals. If you would actually go to an Indians game if the price was kept low, the Indians really do make it easy for you. If you pay $20 to park and $5 for a bottle of water, when you can hoof it an extra block and bring a bottle for less than $6, I’m not going to sympathize when you complain about the price. And the Indians find a ton of ways to give out cheap/free tickets around town. The people who don’t realize this are the ones who have no real interest in going in the first place.

    I don’t think this town can support three major league teams either. The number of Fortune 500 companies has been cut in half (maybe more) since the early 90s. That’s a lot of sold club seats/suites and jobs that provide plenty of discretionary income that just vanished.

    Also, because I had to look it up, from quick estimation, it looks like the Indians #7-9 hitters hit about 10 points better than the AL average. No real point there, but I was curious.

  • Steve

    If you’re interested in having a discussion, I’ll wait for you to actually respond to the points I originally made, with some sort of evidence backing your argument. The best you have come up with is “stats can lie”, but not what was actually a lie, or how it was even lying. You had no interest in furthering the conversation, but just interjecting a rant to get riled up. That’s what lawyers call “banging the table”. You may have heard of the quote “When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on
    your side, argue the law. When you have neither, bang the table”

  • Garry_Owen

    Last night’s 7-9? I guess Hanahan was somewhere around .240, which likely skewed the figures. I was thinking more of the 6-8 (Damon, Kotchman, Duncan). They had to be below the AL average. It was ugly, and particularly ugly at a particularly important time for it not to be ugly – especially against a pitcher like Weaver. Also no real point, but just a clarification of what I meant.

  • Steve

    I knew what you meant, and yeah, those 3 have really struggled. But I was looking at the total lines for the #7-9 hitters across the league. They’re pretty low as well. The real problem for the Indians offensively is Santana struggling and Hafner out (maybe those two are more closely related than we think) and Acta’s response of hitting Lopez in the middle of the order.

  • mgbode

    Santana’s struggles have aligned in the past with Hafner’s DL stints.

    #SavePronk

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Unlike you I’m not concerned about being right or wrong I was simply giving an opinion. You might be right but it got lost in the condescending manner in which you chose to respond. For future reference whenever you see me close with “Have a nice day” that means I’m done. So once again HAVE A NICE DAY!

  • Kevin Huyghe

    Garry/Steve… I’m not weighing in on an opinion here… but I personally am a Browns season ticket holder. I buy one ticket, my old man buys the ticket right next to mine. We each threw down $1250 for the PSL, which, for 6th row at the goal line, isn’t bad. We will hopefully make that back plus some eventually when we ultimately sell the PSL. In addition, we throw down $750 each for the tickets each season (10 games x$75/ticket). Whenever I go to Indians games, I fish for deals. I use my college student ID to buy half price lower reserve tickets to just about every Student ID game. There are other coupons/vouchers you can get your hands on to get these half price seats. Turns a good, lower bowl ticket into a $15-$17 ticket. Many places you can find for cheap parking too, I am lucky enough to have a pass for tower city through work. So ultimately, I might spend $40 after a couple beers and gas to go to a game. There’s ways to do it affordibly.

  • I’m still not in love with the fact Ubaldo walks about 4 guys for every 6 innings pitched.