Game #133: Texas Rangers (78-53) at Cleveland Indians (55-77)
By Mike Brandyberry
Friday night the Indians weren’t able to slow down Adrian Beltre and the Texas Rangers, en route to a 5-3 loss. Beltre had four hits for the Rangers and Ubaldo Jimenez labored into the fifth inning, while throwing 117 pitches. Cleveland scored an unearned run, but showed little life until a two-run homer from Casey Kotchman in the ninth inning.
The defeat becomes the Indians’ 24th loss of the month of August. The last time Cleveland lost 24 games in a month was July 1914, when Babe Ruth was a rookie and the first stoplight was installed. The Tribe is now 5-28 since defeating Justin Verlander on July 26. The come-from-behind win by the Tribe seems to be the last flash before the season has taken a downward spiral.
“It’s been the toughest month that I’ve had in baseball,” Indians manager Manny Acta said.
In July, the Indians were contenders, but by the end of August the Tribe is playing young players and trying to solve problems in preparation for next year. Cleveland has suffered an 11-game and nine-game losing streak, not counting their current six-game skid.
Jeanmar Gomez (4-7, 5.11) will get a spot start in place of Roberto Hernandez on Saturday. Hernandez left his last start with a sprained ankle. He did throw a 35-pitch bullpen on Wednesday and Acta said he was healthy to make his next start. However, Gomez will get the ball in a start for the Tribe for the first time since late June. He pitched fantastically in spring training and early in the season, but took a downward spiral before being optioned to Triple-A Columbus after a bloody outing against the lowly, Houston Astros. He was 1-5, with a 7.92 ERA over his last six starts before heading to Columbus.
Gomez was 6-5, with a 4.41 ERA in 11 starts at Columbus since his demotion. He did earn a victory on May 4 against Texas, throwing seven innings and allowing three runs.
Texas will counter with Scott Feldman (6-10, 4.95 ERA). The big, tall, right-hander has lost his last four decisions while compiling a 6.45 ERA. He allowed a season high 10 hits last Sunday against the Minnesota Twins in a 6-5 defeat. Feldman does have success against the Indians, however, going 2-1, with a 3.48 ERA in 10 outings. Only three of those 10 appearances are starts.
With rosters able to expand to 40 today, look for the Indians to make several additions to their roster over the next couple days. Scott Barnes, Russ Canzler have been recalled from Columbus and the contract of Thomas Neal has been purchased from Double-A Akron. Canzler has spent the entire season at Columbus, hitting .265, with 22 home runs and 79 RBIs. Barnes has split time between Cleveland and Columbus, recording a 8.10 ERA in seven major league appearances. Neal has spent the entire season at Akron, hitting .314, with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs. Minor league seasons conclude on Monday.
Cleveland will look to avoid their seventh straight loss this evening when they take on the Rangers in the second game of a three game set. Game action is slated to begin at 7:05 pm from Progressive Field. The television broadcast can be seen on SportsTime Ohio and the radio feed can be found on the Indians Radio Network.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Michael Brantley, CF
5. Carlos Santana, C
6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
7. Russ Canzler, DH
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Ezequiel Carrera, LF
Texas Rangers Starting Lineup
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Elvis Andrus, DH
3. Josh Hamilton, CF
4. Adrian Beltre, 3B
5. Nelson Cruz, RF
6. Michael Young, SS
7. David Murphy, LF
8. Geovanny Soto, C
9. Mitch Moreland, 1B
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images