Game #109: Minnesota Twins (47-61) at Cleveland Indians (50-58)
By Mike Brandyberry
Yesterday the Indians completed their nine game road trip with possibly the most gut-wrenching loss of the season, suffering a 10-8 defeat in ten innings. The Tribe blew a three-run lead in the tenth inning when closer Chris Perez allowed a bloop base hit to tie the game. Two hitters later, Miguel Cabrera crushed a two-run home run to deep left centerfield to sweep the Indians out of Detroit.
The defeat is the Indians ninth straight defeat and the first time the team has lost nine straight on the road in franchise history. What had the chance to be a road trip against the dregs of the American League and a chance to climb back into the divisional race has turned into the trip that has buried the Tribe from any contention. Instead of battling for the top spot in the division, the Indians are now only three games ahead of the Minnesota Twins for fourth place.
Today, right-hander Zach McAllister (4-3, 3.42 ERA) will take the mound in the opening of a seven game homestand for the Tribe. McAllister is currently the most consistent pitcher in the Tribe rotation that desperately needs a quality start. He suffered the loss last Wednesday, pitching six innings, allowing five runs on five hits and 105 pitches. McAllister has pitched six innings in eight of his 11 outings and the Indians could use that kind of effort tonight since every reliever except Esmil Rogers was used during Sunday’s game.
The Twins will counter with southpaw Scott Diamond (9-5, 2.93 ERA). Diamond has been the lone ray of light in a season of darkness for the Twinkies. The left-hander threw a three-hit, complete game shutout against the Tribe in the opener of the nine-game road trip. Diamond has not allowed a run in 16 innings against the Tribe this season, making the Tribe’s 10-23 record against lefties seem even more daunting a task to earn a win.
Cleveland and the clubhouse is desperate for a win. Several players conveyed their frustration to the media after Sunday’s game. Vinnie Pestano told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, “The slope keeps getting steeper and steeper. It’s testing the character and integrity of the team.”
The same sentiments were still echoed this afternoon. “It’s part of the game,” Indians Manager Manny Acta said. “It’s a small fraction of the 162, but it’s been real tough. We’ve never gone through this. It’s just shocking that 10 days ago we were talking about being on top of the mountain top from beating the Tigers.”
Travis Hafner will miss today’s game with continued lower back soreness. He was able to play in Sunday’s game, but will be sidelined today to receive treatment and hopefully be able to rebound and play tomorrow.
The Indians announced today that they claimed right-handed pitcher, Fabio Martinez from the Los Angeles Angels. Martinez, 22, has spent the entire season at Single-A Inland Empire where he was 0-5, with a 10.72 ERA in eight starts. He had arm problems a year ago, but was rated the Angels’ eighth ranked prospect by Baseball America, prior to the 2011 season. He’ll be assigned to Carolina and converted to a relief pitcher. His addition puts 39 players on the Indians’ 40-man roster.
The Tribe will try climb that steep slope again tonight at Progressive Field at 7:05 pm. The game can be seen on SportsTime Ohio and heard on the flagship station, WTAM-1100 AM and the rest of the Indians Radio Network.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, 1B
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Shelley Duncan, DH
7. Jose Lopez, 3B
8. Lou Marson, C
9. Ezequiel Carrera, LF
Minnesota Twins Starting Lineup
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Jamey Carroll, 3B
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images