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Indians Monday recap: Defense no help as Masterson, Tribe fall to Angels

Justin Masterson couldn't put together a third straight solid outing, but he was also let down by his defense and another poor offensive showing.

I'm sure that Michel Bourn used to be able to play center field...
I'm sure that Michel Bourn used to be able to play center field...
Jeff Gross

Game 26: Angels 6, Indians 3

Records: Los Angeles 12-13, Cleveland 11-15

Box Score

For a fleeting moment in time, it looked like Carlos Santana was going to be the hero. Instead, he's a footnote in another disappointing game in what has been a very disappointing month of baseball. In the bottom of the 4th, Santana snapped his miserable slump with a resounding three-run bomb to put the Tribe in the lead. Justin Masterson looked like he had things in control. At that brief point in time, it seemed plausible that the Indians could win this game. If only we could freeze time. The Indians have now lost four in a row, and will face LA's best starters over the next two games.

This one started out poorly for the Indians. They went down 1-2-3 in the 1st, then allowed the Angels to take the lead on an RBI groundout. The RBI was made possible thanks to Michael Bourn badly misplaying what should have been a single by Mike Trout, turning it into a "triple." The Indians were down early, the defense was looking terrible, and it seemed like a legitimate possibility that Tyler Skaggs may throw a perfect game against us. Stop me if you've heard this all before.

The score remained 1-0 LA until the 4th, when the Tribe finally broke up the perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout all in one turn at bat. With one out, Nick Swisher kept his hot streak alive by doubling to deep left. Jason Kipnis walked, and Carlos Santana came to the plate. I won't belabor the point, but he's been bad lately. Really bad. So few expected him to step up and smash a three-run bomb to left. Unfortunately, those were the first and last runs the Indians would score on the night.

The Angels came fighting back in their half of the 5th inning. A walk, a single, and a sac bunt left put Angels on 2nd and 3rd with just one out. Masterson came through with a huge strikeout of J.B. Shuck but the next batter, Eric Aybar, doubled just inside the the 1st base bag to tie the game at 3. Masterson cruised through the next two innings, but everything fell apart for good in the 8th. On the first batter of the inning, Nick Swisher botched an easy grounder while pre-emptively trying to get the ball to Masterson covering 1st. The error opened the door for the Angels to tack on three runs, including an RBI single by Mike Trout and a 2 RBI triple by Raul Ibanez. Masterson left the game with five earned runs over  seven and a third innings. Brian Shaw got the final two outs of the 8th, but the damage was done.

Meanwhile, Tyler Skaggs kept Tribe bats silent after the 4th inning, and he would leave the game with six strikeouts over seven innings. Fernando Salas pitched a scoreless 8th, and LGFT Joe Smith came on to close out his former teammates in the 9th. Tribe hitters were held to five hits total, two of which came from Santana.

It looked like this game could be the start of a turnaround for Carlos Santana, and the third decent start in a row by Justin Masterson. Instead, we're left again to ponder if this team will ever put all the pieces together at once.

Win expectancy chart

Source: FanGraphs

Roll call

Game thread

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Tomorrow's game

Indians (Corey Kluber, RHP) @ Angels (Jered Weaver, RHP)

10:05 p.m. ET (STO, WTAM)