Sunday, June 27

Indians return to form by winning their customary one game against the Reds

Ryan over at Let's Go Tribe had a good point in his write-up yesterday: these losses by the Indians on this NL road trip are starting to run together. When every game is a loss, it's hard to remember what made one game different from any other. It isn't especially fun to watch, and writing about it isn't great either. The Indians could easily be on their way to a lost season here, where only the number of losses at the end of the year is the thing people will remember. Maybe the debut of Carlos Santana might hold some hope for our collective Tribe memories. "You remember the Indians' 2010 season? You mean the one where they lost 106 games? Yeah, that was the year Carlos Santana was brought up, right? Yes." End of conversation.

It has been said that one of the reasons for the success of ESPN's SportsCenter is that, unlike local news, they would show you the highlights before the final score. This added a sense of drama and anticipation. Well Friday's series opener was a 10-3 loss, and now you're free to scroll down to the next game recap. When the Indians sent down David Huff and recalled Aaron Laffey, you knew he probably wasn't going to be this rotation's savior. I personally was hoping for something better than the four innings and five earned runs we got. Joe Smith followed with two innings and four runs, only three earned. Frank Herrmann gave up a run in his inning and Tony Sipp pitched a scoreless eighth, probably because the Reds were tired and wanted to go home. Santana hitting a two-run home run in the fifth and subsequently being pulled from the game due to an injury was pretty much the sum of the Indians-related news from this game. Indians (26-46) lose 10-3.

Saturday's affair was the game that picking up Jayson Nix off waivers paid off. . . OK not really, but he did get a hit. During the game Nix had a double, scored a run, and walked, raising his batting average like 100 points to .260. Actually the Indians offense chased starter Sam LeCure after 3.1 innings of work. Sounds good so far, right? Unfortunately, Justin Masterson lasted just 5.0 innings and gave up six runs. Now what do you think? Actually that previously-mentioned effort by Nix led the team in WPA. So in the end the Indians (26-47) lost 6-4.

Sunday saw the Indians stopper Mitch Talbot take the mound and the offense decided to chip in too. And by offense I mean Shin-Soo Choo and Santana. And by offense I also meant home runs. Choo's two two-run home runs would have been enough for Talbot, but Santana chipped in a solo shot in the top of the eighth for good measure. Meanwhile, Talbot worked seven innings and only allowed one run on three hits, three walks, and five strikeouts. Chris Perez worked a rough eighth, walking the first batter before getting two outs only to give up a two-run home run to Joey Votto before hitting Scott Rolen and finally getting Jonny Gomes to strikeout. While no lead with this bullpen is safe, Kerry Wood was impressive striking out the side in order for the save. Tribe (27-47) finally get the win 5-3.

If you haven't heard yet, Russell Branyan was traded back to the Mariners, the team he played for last year. Paul Cousineau has, as usual, a thorough run down of the trade. Terry Pluto even mentions it following the much more interesting Browns mini-camp summary. Pluto mentions Branyan had to go to give Matt LaPorta a everyday place to play. Branyan's trade was inevitable, just thankfully we found someone willing to give us something of value (hopefully) in return, which isn't to say anything against Branyan. The upcoming home stand against the Toronto (G-20) Blue Jays might see yours truly in attendance for as many as two games. With this travel to the Cleveland area you should expect spotty Indians coverage, but it might be worth staying tuned to the FCF twitter account for updates.

Two final notes: Jayson Nix went 0-4 today and hence lowered his average back down to .158, and in his return to the big leagues Matt LaPorta went 0-4 with two strikeouts.

Game 1: Ricky Romero, LHP (6-3, 2.85) vs. Jake Westbrook, RHP (4-4, 4.90)
Game 2: Brandon Morrow, RHP (5-5, 4.50) vs. Fausto Carmona, RHP (6-6, 3.64)
Game 3: Jesse Litsch, RHP (0-2, 8.78) vs. Aaron Laffey, LHP (0-2, 6.37)
Game 4: To be announced vs. Justin Masterson, RHP (2-7, 5.21)

Predictably, my visit to Ohio's North Coast appears to miss the Indians' best pitchers. Specifically I'm slated to attend Wednesday night's game as a guest of the Tribe Social Deck. At least Litsch is coming off of Tommy John Surgery so maybe we have a chance there.

Go Tribe!

(AP Photo/Al Behrman)

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