Monday, April 26

This post will not use the phrase "Twin killing" except in the title

The Tribe dropped two out of three to division-leading Minnesota last week, a series result that should surprise absolutely nobody.

The first two games were quite similar to one another - one might say they were almost ... nope, not going to say it. The Tribe bats were virtually silent in both games, as Minnesota staked their starters to early leads and the pitching staff silenced Indians hitters en route to 5-1 and 6-0 losses.

Kevin Slowey got the better of Justin Masterson in game 1, a 5-1 Minnesota victory. Masterson walked too many people (5 in 4 innings) but worked his way out of trouble except for Minnesota's 4-run 3rd inning, which was basically the entire game. With two on and one out, Masterson induced a tailor-made double play ball to short that went right through SS Asdrubal Cabrera's legs. Masterson was rattled, walking in a run and wild-pitching in two runs (on one pitch!) before a sac fly brought in the 4th Twin tally of the inning and sealed the punchless Tribe's fate. That is, by my count, the 3rd time this year a rather avoidable error cost the Indians a ballgame. It's too bad the hitters haven't been able to compensate: Cleveland had all of five baserunners in this game, one of which came on Travis Hafner's solo home run in the 2nd.

The Indians' idea of 3 runs per game is something like: 0, 1, 8. They've been quite inconsistent (well, consistently bad) at the plate and prone to shutouts and 1-run affairs in the early going. On that note, we have game 2, a 6-0 loss at the hands of the Twins' Francisco Liriano. David Huff lacked the sharpness of his previous start, allowing 4 runs in 6 innings of work (including an unforgivable 6 walks), and, well, that's unfortunately more than enough to beat Los Indios most games so far in 2010.

But not Thursday! The Indians collected their first-ever win in brand-new Target Field with an 8-1 spanking, riding another strong start from Mitch Talbot (6 IP, 0 ER), solid relief from Los Perez (2 scoreless from Rafael, 1 scoreless from Chris), and some scoring from unlikely sources. Andy Marte's first home run of the year, a two run job in the 4th, put the Tribe up 3-0 early. After the Twinkies cut it to 3-1, the Indians tacked on three in the 6th via consecutive RBI hits from Rusty Branyan, Marte, and Louie Goodworth. While Indians pitchers kept mowing down Twin batters, the Tribe notched two more runs on a Hafner sac fly and a Branyan RBI groundout.

As we'll hopefully see from JHH shortly, this pattern of play extended itself to Oakland, where the Indians sandwiched two more shutouts (!) around a game 2 win. This is not cool.

While we're here, the Indians have five regulars hitting below .220. Lou Marson's OPS is .250.; Peralta's is .577 as he strives to win both Least Interested and Least Valuable Player in the AL this season. Goodness, we need to start scoring more runs.

Go Tribe!

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