Indians fall to 32-26
When you're facing an offensive juggernaut such as Chris Iannetta, you should just forfeit because there's absolutely no way that you can overcome such a destructive force. I mean, in all of 2016, he's just been decimating pitchers left and right with a stellar batting line of .218/.314/.340 and an OPS+ of 84. 84! You can't fault the Indians for tonight's performance; when you're facing world-beaters, you just have to tip your cap and hope that they show you mercy the next time around.
Okay, so maybe I'm a bit more irritated than normal at the time of this writing. I would say it's largely in part due to the post-root canal tooth pain that I've been dealing with all day, but watching the Cleveland Indians drop their second game in a row in a truly disappointing fashion is not helping matters. The game started off in a promising of enough fashion with Carlos Carrasco cruising through the first inning. His velocity was up in the 95-97 MPH range, he had good movement on his secondary pitches, and he looked like the pre-injury pitcher that we were all waiting for. And, despite what the box score will tell you, he still looked like that pitcher through most of the game. He struggled a bit with his fastball command at times, but nothing really jumped out at me as a red flag.
"But Tyler" you begin, "didn't Carrasco give up not one, but two home runs to Chris Iannetta?"
You would be right, my anonymous internet reader. Let's take a look at those at-bats:
If you look closely, you'll see that the pitches that were knocked out of Safeco Field were, for lack of a better phrase, right down the middle of the plate. Both times. In the 88-90 MPH range. The internet tells me that Chris Iannetta is, in fact, a major league baseball player; being the technology reliant being that I am, I will believe the internet this one time and conclude that any major league baseball player would crush those pitches. Take those two pitches away, and Carrasco's line looks a whole lot different. Obviously, baseball doesn't work that way, but I wouldn't be worried about Carrasco missing on a couple of pitches. Overall, mistake meatballs aside, Carrasco looked good and will be a key part of the Tribe's path to ultimate victory.
What was slightly more concerning, however, was the Tribe's complete and utter lack of performance at the plate. I don't want to undersell Taijuan Walker's performance tonight because he was brilliant and is a good pitcher; that being said, the lineup as whole looked completely lost at the plate. Even without the strikeout prone Mike Napoli in the lineup, the Indians managed to strike out more times than LeBron rebounded in tonight's Cavs game (he had 11 rebounds). For eight innings, Walker painted the corners, threw high heat, and induced lazy pop ups and ground outs, matching a career high 11 strikeouts and walking no one. Davis, Kipnis, and Martinez were the only Indians hitters who had hits tonight, and they were all singles. Yes, Walker pitched phenomenally, but the Tribe made him look like Clayton Kershaw.
Tidbits from tonight's game
- The one hit that Jason Kipnis did get ended up being his 700th career hit. Here's to many more in a Tribe uniform, Jason!
- In the second inning, Lindor flipped a ball to Santana at first to try and get Adam Lind out, and Lind was ruled safe. On the challenge, the call was overturned. On the season, the Tribe is now 13/22 in overturning calls, which is more than the league average.
- Because I haven't harped on Iannetta enough tonight, tonight's game marked only the second time in his career that he had multiple home runs in a game. The last time? 2011.
- As much as I like listening to Hammy (and I really do enjoy listening to him), tonight was particularly difficult, especially whenever Santana was at the plate.
Thanks to the Royals, Tigers, and White Sox all losing tonight, the Indians still have a 2.5 game lead in the AL Central, so tonight's loss wasn't the end of the world. However, it would have been a great chance to add some extra distance between the other teams competing for the division title. Tomorrow, Josh Tomlin looks to get the series split as he faces off against Nathan Karns at 10:10 PM ET.