Twins 7, Indians 5: Finding New Ways To Lose Every Night

It is absolutely incredible what is going on with my beloved Indians right now. Even if you hired a Hollywood screen writer to tell the story of the now 11-game losing streak, he or she couldn’t come up with the storyline of these last three games.

Sunday’s implosion was one for the ages, as the Indians scored three times in the tenth inning, only to watch the Detroit Tigers get five in the bottom of the frame, capped off by a Miguel Cabrera walk-off homer. That was the end of a nine-game road trip in which they lost all nine. Then came Monday night’s debacle where the visiting Minnesota Twins scored 10 times in the second inning on their way to a 14-3 beat down of the Tribe.

But just when you think things can’t possibly get worse, last night’s game comes along.

“This is a hard one,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “Guys played their hearts out.”

Lets just fast forward to the fun parts, shall we?

The Indians led 5-1 heading into the seventh inning. You know what that means – the back end bullpen crew of Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and Chris Perez would be on to close things up on this horrific season-changing losing skid. Its been a long 11 days since they beat Justin Verlander and the Tigers. The Indians, along with the 14,813 (paid attendance) fans there could taste this one. They had nine outs to get.

The old adage of “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” seems to be following around our boys right now. No matter how hard they try, or how big of a lead that had last night, a doomsday situation was right around the corner.

Rookie Corey Kluber had given the Indians their first quality start (six innings, one earned run) since Zach McAllister 11 days prior. With a taxed bullpen, Acta sent the kid out for the seventh. Minnesota’s Brian Dozier led off by reaching out and poking a perfectly placed double down the right-field line. Ex-Indian Jamey Carroll then grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who proceeded to boot the ball. The Twins were now in business with runners on the corners and nobody out. With three lefties due up, Acta pulled Kluber in favor of lefty Tony Sipp.

Sipp got Denard Span to pop out and Ben Revere to ground out which scored Dozier from third. He then walked Joe Mauer, bringing Tribe killer Josh Willingham to the plate. Acta again re-appeared from the dugout, calling for Joe Smith. Smitty’s first pitch hit Willingham to load the bases for another guy who wears out Tribe pitching, former MVP Justin Morneau.

All season long, the Indians defense has been solid. That, along with the bullpen, have been essentially the only two consistent parts of the club. But this losing streak knows no bounds and doesn’t discriminate.

Morneau sent a grounder right to second baseman Jason Kipnis. As if his name was Bill Buckner, Kipnis watched as the ball went right through his legs, scoring two Twins and bringing them to within one run at 5-4. As the ball passed him, Kipnis just kept his head down in frustration. Watching from my couch, I yelled “Oh…..My……God.”

This was really happening. You could see the writing on the wall. These are the kind of thoughts that go through the heads of Tribe fans everywhere right now. You can’t help but have them too. When you are born into this Cleveland Sports culture, its natural to expect the worst.

They still had to get six more outs, but the once cushy four run lead was down to one. Vinnie Pestano, the one man who has avoided any sort of drop off in his game during the skid, put two on with two out in the eighth, but got Revere to get out of the jam.

Three more outs.

Before the ninth, the Tribe had one more chance to add an insurance run. Ezequiel Carrera led off with a bunt single and was sacrificed over to second by Kipnis. Twins manager smartly called for an intentional walk of Cabrera to set up the double play and have his lefty Tyler Robertson face Shin-Soo Choo. We all knew what was coming next.

Choo grounded into an inning ending double-play.

So onto the ninth we went. Closer Chris Perez hasn’t blown consecutive save chances all season. But then again, this is “the streak” where anything is possible. After striking out Mauer, Willingham singled sharply up the middle, putting the tying run on first. He was replaced by pinch runner Darren Mastroianni, who stole second. Morneau, the man who hit the grounder in the seventh that ate Kipnis up, sent another grounder down the first base line with some weird english on it. It kicked up and deflected off of all-world defender Casey Kotchman. Mastroianni scored on the play and the game was tied.

“The ball actually started off foul and kicked a couple of times,” Kotchman said. “Then it took a bad hop and obviously an unfavorable bounce off my wrist. It just so happened to come in the midst of the streak.”

If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. The thing is, the flood gates were just about to open.

Ryan Doumit doubled to the gap in right-center, putting the lead run on third with just one out. Tishyoki Nishioka followed with a sacrifice fly to score Morneau and the Twins completed their improbable, Indians-aided comeback. Dozier added a icing to the cake with an RBI single scoring Doumit. Perez had completely lost it. You could see it in his face. After giving up another single to Carroll and a walk to Span, Acta had seen enough and pulled his closer from the game. The boos that he said he hated to hear in his own own stadium, rightfully rained down upon him.

Again, I give Perez credit for putting himself right out there in front of his locker to answer for his performance.

“After the error, it’s a tie game, and we still have a chance to win if I make some pitches,” Perez said. “Bottom line: I’m not making pitches.”

He continued.

“It’s an unacceptable performance. It’s coming at the worst time for us as a club. We’ve just got to fight through it. That’s the only thing you can do. The games aren’t going away off the schedule. We’ve got to keep playing and try to turn this thing around. I’m not getting off the horse.”

The three hour and 40 minute marathon is now followed by a 12:05 start today, just what a team that has lost 11 games in a row is looking for. The Twins go for their second sweep of the Tribe in less than two weeks. Naturally they will send out Tribe kryptonite, a left-handed starter in Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.39) to the mound. One of this two wins this season came against the Indians two Sundays ago. He will face off with the struggling Justin Masterson (7-10, 4.78 ERA).

(photo via Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer)

  • boomhauertjs

    The Tribe has been horrible in weekday day games this season, so I’m expecting the streak to live.

  • mgbode

    do you know what’s fun? the Twins are now the highest scoring team the last 30days. and, it’s almost entirely fueled by the 9.8 runs per game they have scored against us in that time (5 games). in other games, they are league average 4.2runs / game.

    wait, that’s not fun, that’s terrible.

  • mgbode

    on the bright side of things, my 1st grade son mis-read Ryan Doumit’s name when he came to bat last night. had to explain to him it was pronounced Doo-Mitt and it was definitely not an ‘a’ after the ‘d’ 🙂

    (after the double that happened later though, I thought he might have had it correct all along)

  • Harv 21

    Let’s focus on what’s important.

    TD, you ok?

    WFNY, are you completely merciless, have you no souls, a total absence of empathy, throwing TD out there day after day without respite? Jon, where are you, throw this guy a rope. Craig, well isn’t Berea rosy and stimulating while TD twists in agony. Scott, you just can’t drop your fuzzy profiles and go make up some adjectives for what’s doing at the Jake. This is worse than the Browns claiming they didn’t see what happened to Colt. Have a heart, fellas, get him him out of there, administer some concussion tests and a 72 hour evaluation period, maybe 12 hours of IV-infused scotch before he posts again.

    Save TD.

  • mgbode

    in another week, TD will be like Harry Doyle with the bottle of Jack talking about the 1 hit

  • architrance

    C’mon, tanking for this high draft pick will be totally worth it…

    (sad chief wahoo face)

  • Harv 21

    you laugh, but the Cleveland voice keeps trying to say that to me.

  • TD

    I appreciate the concern, Harv. I love this team so much. This tears me up. But again, its just sports. Its supposed to be a diversion. Instead, I watched that debacle last night on what would have been my dad’s 70th bday. It didnt make me feel any better to say the least.

    At least I had Geraci’s Pizza last night…

  • TD

    In a week? I could reach it this weekend…

  • TD

    dont forget we are facing a lefty too…and our 6-9 are Duncan, Marson, Kotchman, Lillibridge…

  • BenRM

    I for one welcome “L” #12. C’mon history~!

  • Harv 21

    ok, just as I suspected, that’s it, I’m calling it. Get out of there, stat, your words aren’t good here, your cable has been disconnected.

    Gents, who’s up? Anybody? Better yet, let ’em play in silence. Force the existential question: if no one repeats what Perez says, does he still aggravate me?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You and your stats lol the Twins are the highest scoring team in the last 30 days…lol…I bet if I check the standings they are probably close to passing the HMS Titanic Indians too!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    What happened…what I miss???

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    What doesn’t kill TD will only make him stronger! He’s survived far worse then this besides a little blood letting will do him some good not to mention the glamouring either Shapiro or DiBiasio put him under should be finally worn off.

  • TheTribeisDead

    Poor Kotchman. That was a screamer and looked borderline fair/foul. I guess when it rains it pours. I think this is a good thing. Hopefully it forces the front office to sign some REAL major leaguers in the offseason as opposed to washed up over the hill vets and AAAA stiffs. I think as demoralizing as the Lillibridge trade was for fans it’s having an even worse affect on the Tribe. Imagine you’re at work and you desperately need help and are only 3 games out and this is who the Boss brings in???!!! Gosh between the Cavs and Tribe with record losing streaks what’s next for the Browns, 0-16. I wish my Dad didn’t instill this hopeless passion for miserable sports teams in me. Will the Tribe ever win again this year? Can we forfeit and save the embarrassment?

  • mgbode

    keep that bottle within arm’s length.

    i’d say replace the Indians recaps with some Olympics baseball coverage, but, apparently, the IOC doesn’t think baseball is a global sport (NA + SA + Asia apparently isn’t “global” enough).

  • mgbode

    indeed they are. hey, at least when they pass us we can say we got swept twice by the 3rd worst team in the AL instead of the 2nd worst 🙂

  • mgbode

    if there ever was a time for a “lucky fan gets to hit 9th” day at the ballpark…

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Those guys haven’t had a full season together wait until next year!!!

  • tsm

    As for me, I am getting tickets for Thursday night’s game, so that I can be part of history. Wait, is that all we have left as Tribe fans?

  • Natedawg86

    I saw they were up 5-1 and then saw the score change from 5-3 and was waiting for my phone to send me an update via espn app. The final score never came on my phone. It was if the phone knew I didn’t even want to know.