Cleveland Swept Out By Texas; Rangers 7, Indians 4
By Criag Gifford
The Cleveland Indians are playing for second place in the American League Central Division these days. The Texas Rangers, defending AL champions, are playing for a bit more as they are in a race for the AL West crown and postseason berth.
The disparity showed this week as the Tribe was swept in a four-game series in Arlington, Texas. The latest, and least embrasssing, came in a 7-4 defeat Thursday night.
Cleveland, which spent half the season in first place in the Central, may have shown just how far they are from contention in going 8-1 this season against Texas, one of the better teams in baseball. The loss dropped the Tribe to 72-75, the furthest they have been below .500 all year.
The Indians were out of Thursday’s game before it even got going. They trailed 6-0 going into the seventh inning. That was all behind starting pitcher and former ace Fausto Carmona, who surrendered five earned runs in six innings. Carmona, the Indians’ Opening Day starter, fell to 5-16 as his ERA ballooned to 5.26.
The Tribe, in that 6-0 hole, got in the board in the seventh with an RBI single from Shelley Duncan. Duncan has been one of the lone bright spots in the past couple weeks. The hit raised his average to .270 and he now has 35 RBI.
Texas tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh against one of the Indians’ better reliever, Rafael Perez. Perez, one of the lone bright spots remaining from Cleveland’s 2007 run to the ALCS actually saw his ERA rise to a respectable 2.83 giving up a run in one inning.
It was much too little, much too late for the Tribe, who have now lost five straight and are officially out playoff contention.
Marson and Grady Sizemore were the lone highlights for the Indians, with two hits each.
Cleveland will look to inch closer to .500 and ahead of the White Sox for second place, currently tied, this weekend when they visit a Minnesota team that has struggled all year. The sereies opens Friday when Cleveland sends midseason acquistion Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound against the Twins’ Kevin Slowey. Start time is 8:10 from Target Field.
Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images