Orioles 8, Indians 0
Tribe falls to 33-41
Today is the day that brought me to the point of no longer believing the Indians have a shot at making the postseason. Sure, the 7-game gap between them and the second Wild Card spot can be made up over the course of 88 games (though passing six teams isn't the same as catching one), but there is nothing about this team that says "contender" to me anymore.
The starting rotation had the best FIP in baseball for most of the first two months of the season, but they've fallen into the bottom half of the league for June. The pitching hasn't been the problem though (it just hasn't been the solution either), the problem has been... well you know.
After having been arguably the best offense in the American League during May, the Indians have scored the fewest runs of any MLB team in June, totaling just 66 of them with two days left before the calendar flips. That's an average of just 2.75 runs per game. Of course, 2.75 a game today would have been something. This... this was nothing.
After losing the first half of the doubleheader 4-0, the Indians lost the nightcap 8-0. They hadn't been shutout in both games of a doubleheader since September 26, 1975. That's forty years ago, for those of you not keen on subtraction.
David Murphy went 4 for 4, and Roberto Perez collected two doubles, so they can consider themselves excluded from the criticism tonight, but my god was the lineup weak. The Indians have the best walk rate of any team in baseball, but couldn't be bothered to work even one free pass this evening. Santana's struggles continued with an 0 for 4 line; Lindor's slow start continued with the same 0 for 4 line. Aviles was right there with them, while Kipnis, Moss, and Bourn were each 0 for 3.
Toru Murata didn't survive the 4th inning of his MLB debut, and it seems pretty likely it'll be his last MLB appearance for a while. (I hope it is, because the only way I see him starting another game for the Tribe in 2015 is multiple injuries to guys in the rotation.) It didn't look to me like Murata's stuff is going to translate to the big-league level, but I was too put off by the offense to have much scorn left over for his work.
The Indians have now lost 41 games, which means they're assured of a losing record for the season's first half. I hope those of you placing bets earlier this week on the Tribe reaching the All-Star break with a winning record didn't wager anything you couldn't afford to lose, because you're losing it. (It would take a 12-2 finish to the first half to get above .500.)
Should the Indians make big changes, like firing Antonetti and/or Francona, or trading away one of their most valuable players, like Brantley or Kipnis? I tend to say no, because I tend to be pretty conservative about that sort of thing. Given the way the team has look for the last few weeks though, I can understand those of you who do want to see some sort of serious shakeup. Following your favorite team ought to be fun, and June has been a very difficult month.
Win expectancy chart:
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|11||Matt R. Lyons||3|
|18||Denver Tribe Fan||1|