Tribe 9, Jays 11: It Wasn’t As Close As It Appears, and That’s Ubaldo’s Fault

This one was a doozy. The Cleveland Indians obviously should have lost by quite a bit more to Toronto Saturday afternoon, and that’s all on Ubaldo Jimenez.

The former Colorado Rockies ace had his worst outing of 2012, exiting after just 2.1 innings pitched. Against the 18 batters he faced, he allowed eight runs on seven hits (including two homers and four doubles), along with four walks and just two strikeouts.

It was as bad as we’ve seen Jimenez in a Cleveland uniform, and that’s saying something, considering he has a 5.09 ERA in his 29-start CLE career. But in the meanwhile, despite facing an early 10-2 deficit, the Indians bats didn’t just lay over, and they fought back to make this an interesting game late.

Still trailing 11-4 in the top of the eighth, Cleveland erupted for a huge inning that brought everyone back to their TVs. With new reliever Jesse Chavez in the game, the team began the inning with a walk-homer-single-homer rally that plated four runs.

Michael Brantley and Casey Kotchman were the lefties that delivered the no-out dingers. Reliever Andrew Carpenter then entered the game and quickly got the first two outs of the inning. Back-to-back walks then brought closer Casey Janssen to the game, and after an impressive pinch-hit eight-pitch at-bat, Travis Hafner singled home a run to cut the deficit to two.

Unfortunately then, Jose Bautista made a smooth diving catch on a hard hit ball to right by Carlos Santana, ending the rally. The Indians went down 1-2-3 in the ninth as Janssen received the hard-earned save and the Blue Jays tied up the series.

The rubber match is at 1:07 p.m. today at the Rogers Centre. Derek Lowe (8-6, 4.43 ERA) will look to begin his second half in the same manner he began the first half as he faces off against Carlos Villanueva (3-0, 3.05 ERA).

Similar to yesterday’s notes on assorted Cleveland pitchers, here are some additional thoughts on Indians hitters entering today’s game:

— Left fielder Shelley Duncan also had a nice game Saturday, going 3-for-4 with his ninth home run of the season. For as much slack as he gets for being one of the team’s three outfield scrubs (along with Johnny Damon and Aaron Cunningham), he’s put together a decent season. He’s now batting .235/.332/.451 in parts of 58 games. Maybe he also gets the short end of the stick from NE Ohio fans since he has just happened to struggle at home (.195/.261/.338) compared to on the road (.271/.392/.553).

— For the second game in a row post-All-Star Break, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera looked awful at the plate. He finished 0-for-4 with his lone eight-inning walk, and he is now hitless in his last 18 plate appearances (including two walks) through last Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. I’m not exactly certain what might be bugging Cabrera at the plate, but he could use the day off Sunday after not really getting much of a break compared to the rest of the Tribe sluggers.

— Man, has Michael Brantley been good over the past three months. He batted a lowly .250/.321/.355 in April, but has been one of the better center fielders in the American League since then. Over his 66 games since May, he’s batting .314/.353/.482 with 29 runs scored, 19 doubles, four homers, 39 RBI and eight stolen bases. Three of those doubles and three of those homers have come in 10 July games, where has improved his latest hitting streak to 12 contests. This has been fun to watch of late.

— As many people have said recently, Lonnie Chisenhall’s injury has really hurt this team’s lineup. But in a surprising way compared to what people were saying earlier in the season when Chisenhall got his first promotion back to Cleveland. Jack Hannahan has really struggled since returning from his varied injuries, batting just .155/.177/.190 in his last 20 games. Before his injuries, he was batting a really solid .287/.365/.436 on May 13, and was a fan favorite. Now, however, Jose Lopez should be getting the majority of the playing time at third base, and I wouldn’t be all that shocked if Hannahan doesn’t end the season with the Indians.

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • JNeids

    I don’t understand why we “should” have lost by more. We definitely “could” have lost by more, but “should” implies that we had no chance of scoring any runs. And while about 95% of the blame does on Ubaldo’s shoulders, the 3 runs let up by Barnes and Accardo proved to be the difference.

    P.S. the eighth started with a walk-homer-single-homer rally.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    First two games of the second half show the inconsistency and volatility of this team. Win the first game in a pitching gem 1-0 led by Masterson who has been far from inconsistent then in game two they get thrashed 11-9 with arguably their best starter on the mound in Jimenez. Meanwhile the offense goes from non-existent to making the second game at least somewhat interesting. Just to many moving parts based on players who need to maximize their production in order for the entire machine to work at full capacity. I just don’t see it happening.

  • Pat

    Dude, You are a Scrub!!! Cunningham is doing exactly what he is asked to do!!!! Probably has the best arm in the outfield. How can you expect to hit when you never have a chance!?! Most of you writers don’t realize the grind, and it is a JOKE!!! This team is competing. What a joke the media is!!!!!!