What a weekend :(
Coming off of three straight series wins against AL Central foes, including grabbing 2/3 from division-leading Detroit at Progressive Field and 2/3 from third-place Chicago on the road, the Indians pulled within 1.5 games of first heading into Detroit for a three-day showdown with the Tigers. And then...played one of their worst series on the season, failing epically in basically every phase of the game and marooning themselves deep in second place.
Josh Tomlin started the opener on Friday night, and actually pitched a decent ballgame, though he was victimized by three home runs (including Jhonny Peralta continuing his inexplicable, irksome monster season) that translated into Detroit's four runs on the evening. The Indians, unfortunately, were facing five-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, and dropped a listless affair 4-1.
Back in the majors after some roster mathematics sent him down to Columbus despite three sparkling starts for the Tribe (20 2/3 IP, 1 ER) David Huff (happy birthday today!) started Saturday's ballgame, and a problem was immediately apparent: the Indians accidentally called up 2010 David Huff! You know, that guy who doesn't throw strikes, gives up walks, falls behind in counts, and gives up 5 ER in 2 1/3 IP. Boy does the Indians Front Office feel silly today! Hopefully they'll get the correct version of Huff for his next turn in the rotation. The Indians' bats contributed their customary token run in what eventually was an embarrassing 10-1 drubbing.
You've likely noticed that this article is a little more sarcastic and biting than usual - some of that is because of how annoying the games were, but part is because of my infuration with MLB's stupid "warn both benches" policy. I'm not saying Ubaldo Jimenez' horrific 3 1/3 IP, 8 ER outing was entirely because of the warning he was issued in the top of the third for not having done anything wrong at all, but taking away his inability to pitch inside because of something the other team's pitcher did certainly didn't help.
Let's review. In the top of the 3rd, Asdrubal Cabrera cranked one far down the right field line against Tiger pitcher/world-class douchebag Rick Porcello. Cabrera stood at the plate with his bat, knowing it had the distance but quite aware that it was hooking foul, despite all the wishful body english Cabrera could muster. Upset with this...foul ball, Porcello immediately threw the next pitch at/behind Cabrera, which is a straight-up dick move. Completely uncalled-for. Cabrera wasn't "showing him up" (not that I recognize that as a legitimate reason to throw a baseball 90 MPH at a guy anyway), just lamenting the inevitable foulness of his drive.
So of course, the umpires take the pathetic, brainless MLB-sanctioned action of "warning both benches," wherein if either pitcher plunks a hitter from then out, they're ejected. This policy could not be stupider. For one, hit batsmen are a part of the game, and it does happen acidentally. I know they're trying to prevent Jimenez from retaliating, but it's preposterous to essentially make him walk a tightrope every time he wants to come inside with a pitch just because Porcello is a moron. How about warning, I don't know, the guy who threw the purpose pitch? Why wouldn't a team just, every game, throw one behind an opposing batter early in the contest? Especially if you're facing a superior pitcher - just throw one at the other team's guy, and MLB's brilliant rules mean if your opponent's ace pitcher accidentally plunks a guy, you've knocked him out of the box.
The Indians eventually woke up after spotting the Tigers seven runs in the 3rd, scoring just enough to still lose an 8-7 game on a game-ending flyout/throw out at home after about 100 chances to tie the game, to complete the sweep. Damnit.
Monday, August 22
What a weekend :(