Game #110: Minnesota Twins (48-61) at Cleveland Indians (50-59)
By Mike Brandyberry
Poor starting pitching performance, plus subpar offense, equals an early deficit and eventual defeat.
It’s an equation the Indians have seen play out far too many times over the last 10 games. The Indians saw it again Monday night when the Minnesota Twins scored 10 runs in the second inning to bury the Tribe early and issue an eventual 14-3 defeat. Eight of the 10 runs were unearned off Zach McAllister in the second inning when Jason Kipnis made an errant throw pulling Carlos Santana from the first base bag for what could have been the final out. While the eight runs that followed were ruled unearned, McAllister was unable to pitch through a defensive miscue, something he has struggled with in the past.
“Hey, we’re going out there every day, and before the fifth, we’re down by 10,” Indians Manager Manny Acta said after Monday’s game. “Somebody needs to go out there and give us something close to a quality start. That’s all we need to do. Somebody needs to go out there and set the tone.”
Corey Kluber (0-1, 12.46 ERA) gets the next chance to go out there and set the tone tonight. Kluber is making his second start since being added to the rotation when he replaced Josh Tomlin. In his first start Kluber imploded allowing the Kansas City Royals to post six runs in the first inning. However, Kluber was able to settle down after the first inning of his first Major League start and four and one-third innings without allowing any more damage. He’ll look to show the consistency he did in the final three innings tonight against the Twins.
“I really like what I saw stuff-wise, which matched what I heard from the Triple-A staff,” Acta said of Kluber in his Tuesday pregame press conference. “The guy was sitting right at 93 miles per hour the whole time and threw a cutter and slider that he showed here last year. His outing could be summarized in that he just started throwing the slider way too late. He didn’t break it out until the second inning.”
Minnesota will look to send the Indians to their 11th consecutive loss when Sam Deduno (3-0, 2.48 ERA) takes to the hill. The rookie right-hander is making only his fourth career start and will look to continue his early big league success. He has won his three previous outings, including six shutout innings last Thursday against the Boston Red Sox. He gave up only one earned run to the Indians in seven innings on July 28 at Target Field in a 12-5 Tribe drubbing.
Prior to Monday’s game Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti gave Acta a vote of confidence stating that his job and the coaching staff was safe. “(Changing coaches is) not where we’re focused right now,” Antonetti said. “We’re focused on how do we get the guys here to perform better.”
Today the Indians made another roster move, recalling Frank Herrmann from Triple-A Columbus. Jose Lopez was designated for assignment to make room for Herrmann on the 25-man roster. Herrmann is 2-2, with a 4.28 ERA in 48.1 innings at Columbus. The move was necessary after Josh Tomlin threw 3.1 innings last night. The Tribe can not afford to go into a game without a long man since they have not had a quality start in 10 games. Acta said Tomlin and Esmil Rogers were probably both unavailable this evening since they have been worked so much lately.
“These short outings from the starters have really taken a toll on the bullpen,” Acta said. “A day like today, there are like three guys unable to pitch. Once the bullpen gets stabilized, we’ll add another position player.”
Travis Hafner is unavailable again today with lower back tightness. Acta said Hafner has been receiving treatment with Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff but is still not ready for game action. If he is unavailable tomorrow, the team will consider an MRI and other options.
The Indians are losers of 10 in a row and a defeat tonight will match their second-longest losing streak in team history. The last time the Indians lost 11 games in a row was September 13-24, 2009. Then-manager Eric Wedge was fired at the end of the 2009 season and replaced with Acta. The team’s longest losing streak was 12 games, from May 7-21, 1931.
Cleveland will look for their first quality start since July 26 tonight at 7:05 pm at Progressive Field. Game action can be heard on WTAM-1100 AM and the Indians Radio Network, while the game can be seen on television on SportsTime Ohio.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
7. Shelley Duncan, DH
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Ezequiel Carrera, LF
Minnesota Twins Starting Lineup
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, DH
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, LF
7. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Jamey Carroll, 3B
Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images