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Nick Swisher returns, Indians celebrate by losing 5-2 to Red Sox

If you don't pitch, hit, or field well, you'll probably lose.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Game 67: Red Sox 5, Indians 2

Box Score

Indians fall to 33-34

As baseball losses go, Thursday night's was a pretty mundane one. The Indians went down in order the first time through the lineup, falling behind 1-0 in the process on an RBI double by Grady Sizemore. I suppose the Tribe;s top player of the last decade knocking in a run against them is something other than mundane, but we've already seen the Indians face Jim Thome and Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez, CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner, and Shin-Soo Choo. At this point, seeing a LGFT star on the other side of the field has lost some of its exoticism.

One of the two runs that scored on that hit was unearned, because the man was only on base because of an error by Asdrubal Cabrera. Later Josh Tomlin would make an error, and throw a wild pitch. Such miscues have also become far too common to still hold any shock value. A night filled with strong defense by the Indians, that's what seem shocking.

In the 5th inning, still down 1-0, David Ortiz came to the plate with two outs and first base open. Terry Francia opted to have Tomlin pitch to Ortiz, who ended up hitting one into the centerfield seats. The decision to face Ortiz, rather than intentionally walking him, was immediately questions and complained about by many. I don't really have a problem with it though. The intentional walk is overused. Mike Napoli, the next man up, is a good hitter too. He and the next man singled, so one or two runs probably would have scored no matter what happened with Ortiz.

The Indians got those runs back in the next half inning, when Jason Kipnis drove in the Michaels Bourn and Brantley, but then the Indians gave Boston another pair of runs, putting them back in a 3-run hole.The Tribe failed to put a runner beyond first base during the final three innings of the game, and that was that.

Nick Swisher returned from a three-week stint on the DL, and picked up right where he left off. Unfortunately, he left off as one of the worst starters in the league, and so picked up right there meant going 0 for 4. Meanwhile, Lonnie Chisenhall (maybe the hottest hitter in baseball)  spent the whole game on the bench.

In the quagmire that is American League baseball this season, the Indians are squarely in the playoff race, only 2 games behind a spot, and even only 3.5 games out of 1st place in the AL Central. They've been absolutely awful on the road though. If they don't get that turned around, they're not going anywhere. Boston is as good a place to turn things around as anywhere, and hopefully the Indians take at least two of the last three games in this series.

Win-Expectancy Chart

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call

Game Thread

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