Tribe Embarrassed in Homestand Finale; Red Sox 14, Indians 1
By Mike Brandyberry
Carlos Santana played left field. Pitcher Clayton Mortensen hit for himself because the Red Sox pulled the designated hitter. It couldn’t get much more embarrassing than it was Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field with the Indians getting what dignity they have left handed to them, 14-1.
The game was the perfect storm of what happens when the Indians poor starting pitching combines with their anemic hitting and inability to hit left-handed pitchers. Boston plated three runs in the first inning and two more in the second off Tribe starter, Corey Kluber. In three starts since replacing Derek Lowe on the roster Kluber has been embarrassed twice. Indians Manager Manny Acta said Kluber didn’t throw his, “swing and miss slider,” early in the game, just like Kansas City.
Kluber’s inability to mix his pitches resulted in offense early for Boston. By the time the Indians had seen enough of today’s starter, it was 6-1 in the fourth. Kluber allowed six runs, in three and one-third innings off seven hits, including a home run by Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning.
However, the embarrassment was just beginning for the Indians when Josh Tomlin entered the game. Tomlin, demoted from the rotation, entered hoping to give the Indians some quality innings and preserve the bullpen. Instead, he imploded all over the field, allowing seven runs on five hits in only an inning and one-third.
After the game, Acta said he thought Tomlin may be hurt and would be examined when the team arrives in Los Angeles. Tomlin currently has not command or control of his pitches, and at 86 miles per hour, he has turned to batting practice for teams when he cannot hit his spots.
Carl Crawford was one of the bigger recipients of some Kluber-Tomlin beach ball pitching, lacing three doubles and driving in three runs. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia added doubles of their own. Gonzalez and Mike Aviles joined the double parade when Frank Herrmann entered the game to relieve Tomlin.
Meanwhile, the offense remained anemic and lethargic against left-handed pitching. Jon Lester, who had not won since late June, carved up the Tribe hitters for six innings, allowing only a run on three hits while striking out 12. Had the contest not been in question, Lester would have continued embarrassing Indian hitters deeper into the game.
With Michael Brantley receiving a scheduled day off and Jason Kipnis still nursing a sore neck, the Indians had only ten healthy, available players. When Acta decided to remove Shin-Soo Choo from the game, the only healthy substitute, Casey Kotchman, entered to play first base and force Santana to left field.
The Tribe will collect their sinking spirit and try to find some, “want-to” Monday evening in Los Angeles against the Angels. Cleveland embarks on a three city, nine-game road trip beginning tomorrow sure to be filled with disabled list stints, roster moves and promotions from Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland heads west to play two teams, the Angels and Oakland, who are competing for playoff spots, much like the Tribe thought they would be only six weeks ago.
They’ll face another lefty on Monday when C.J. Wilson (9-8, 3.34 ERA) will look to continue to lock up the Tribe, while Justin Masterson (8-10, 4.68 ERA) will search to find where his season has gone. Game time is slated for 10:05 pm locally in Cleveland. No one should be disappointed if fans opt to rest and sleep through the late night games of the west coast swing, it appears the Tribe has packed up and put their season to sleep themselves.
Photo: AP Photo/David Richard