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Indians offensive struggles continue in second-half debut

Maybe Tyler Naquin isn’t the second coming after all.

Cleveland Indians v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In front of a “Bark at the Park” crowd full of countless puppers and doggos, it was the Cleveland Indians who were all bark but no bite.

That was awful, and so was this game.

Tyler Naquin returning to the Indians was supposed to signal a new rebirth for the Tribe; it was supposed to usher in a new era of winning in Cleveland the likes of which we have never seen. He was hitting well in Triple-A, he was, uh, still Tyler Naquin and he played like it. Unfortunately, that meant not hitting high fastballs and playing less-than-ideal defense.

Though, to be fair, Naquin had two high pitches go for strikes and he only swung at one of them and missed. The other was on the tippy top of the zone, which was not a strike that was being called all night long. In a perfect world, where the strikezone was consistent and the inDIANS COULD HIT THE DAMN BALL, Naquin would be right to take the pitch. In this world, he was out on strikes with a runner on first; one of three strikeout victims for reliever Ryan Madson.

Defensively, Naquin manned right field for just the third start in his major-league career, and just the 10th time in his entire professional career. He badly misplayed a ball hit to him when he seemingly refused to jump to make a catch then plowed into the outfield wall. As someone who has been injured more than once running into outfield walls, I can’t really fault him for pulling up a bit heading into another one.

This loss was far from Naquin’s fault, though. He was just the most interesting story, because the rest of it was boring and dumb and it’s one in the morning. The Indians offense was held to four hits, one of which came from Francisco Lindor if you are looking for silver linings, and another that came from Jose Ramirez in the ninth inning that forced me to go back and edit this sentence. Will I have to rewrite the entire thing to recap a dramatic comeback? Oh, nope, wait. It’s over now.

On the mound, Carlos Carrasco was great, striking out 10 over 6.1 innings. With any kind of competent offense, maybe the five runs allowed would have been enough to keep the game in reach. But the Indians already felt like they were losing when the second run crossed the plate in the third inning. There are just some games when you can tell this offense isn’t going to do anything, and when Sonny Gray is on the mound that feeling is amplified by about a million.

Boone Logan continued to quietly be one of the most disappointing aspects of the Indians season. He’s strictly a LOOGY and occasionally will go a full week without pitching, so his impact is negligible, but he was signed in the offseasn to eliminate lefties and he just can’t do it. Tonight he walked the only batter he faced. After a rough section of the season, he seemed to be getting back on track in late June, but he allowed five runs in his last outing while only getting one out. And today he couldn’t even get the one out he was asked to get. That’s not a reliable bullpen piece.