-

6.13.2012

Morning Rundown: Super Sharp Cueto Makes Quick Work of Tribe

Nino Colla | Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips
They call this the Ohio Cup. I'm not sure it's real coveted, but uh, winning is. Winning counts. So if the Ohio Cup comes with the winning, then that's fine and dandy. It would also be cool if the Indians could 'drink' from the cup. You know like how the hockey teams do it with the Stanley Cup.

June 12th, 2012
Cleveland Indians - 1
Cincinnati Reds - 7
W: Johnny Cueto (7-3) L: Jeanmar Gomez (4-5)

[BOXSCORE]

He wasn't bad, but he wasn't sharp.
Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports

He gave up one earned, but he walked four.

He got through five, but he only got through five.

It wasn't Jeanmar Gomez's best outing. It wasn't his worst, but it wasn't good enough on a night that Johnny Cueto was very very good. Six hit, no walk, stymieing any chance the Indians had good.

There will be those nights that you run into a guy like Cueto who pitches well.

But this is four shaky starts in a row by Gomez now. And while he didn't give up five runs like he did the last three times out against Chicago, Kansas City, and Detroit, I point to the walks. The walks and just not going deep into the game. He's gone at least five innings in each game this season, which is great, it keeps the bullpen out of a bind.

But just five isn't good enough. Again, this was not a bad start for Gomez, it was good enough to win on any other night and a quick turnover to the bullpen is acceptable once and a great while. But there was simply no offensive support with Cueto pitching against the Tribe lineup.

"You tip your cap to Cueto," Acta said. "He's one of the best pitchers in the National League. We ran into him on a tough night." 

Probably the biggest thing was that it was close late. The Indians were still within striking distance late in the game and still had their opportunity to perhaps pounce on Cueto. But once the runs started rolling, you knew he would buckle down. Even with the 2-1 lead he looked pretty unbeatable and he was going the distance on this one no matter what.

A lot of the focus on this seemed to be on the late meltdown (even though the club was already behind) and the incoming arm of Esmil Rogers, which we will tackle in a second. But this was about Cueto and what he did.

"He went inside well with that fastball and back-doored those eight left-handed hitters we had with breaking balls," Acta said. "He mixed in some good change-ups. He pretty much toyed with us after that first inning."

As far as Gomez goes, Acta said pretty much the same thing I did a bit ago. He was okay. He noted the slider wasn't there.

"Jeanmar was OK," Acta said. "He made some pitches in situations where he had runners in scoring position. He battled. He deserves some credit because he didn't have his slider." 

The slider, which is something that has come on for him this season, makes him real effective, but he hasn't been effective the past few times out, so I'm wondering what is up. It could still be a work in progress seeing as it is fairly new to him. I know we all want to jump on the Gomez bandwagon and tout how good he looked early on, but we have to remember he's going to go through his patches.

I still think he's capable of what he did earlier on in the season, but he's not going to consistently be like that. He's still young and growing as a pitcher. If anything, even though he's had time up here before, this is his first full season, his first shot at being a regular member of the rotation. It's going to take time to adjust and make adjustments.

Random Details...

Joe Smith entered early, pitching a real quick sixth and then being yanked after pitching to one hitter in the seventh. Which would come around to score on the Tony Sipp bomb. More on Sipp in a second but I'm not sure what Acta was thinking on that call. I know he's probably settled into who his guys are in leads, close games, and blowouts either way, but Sipp's usage there was puzzling, even though it was against the lefty. Perhaps you go with Hagadone if you want the lefty, but in the seventh in a one-run game you are behind in, I guess you have to make your choice.

For my money, Jeremy Accardo did his job to get out of that jam in the eighth inning, but some just real lucky bounces on otherwise weak grounders and choppers on the infield turned into hits. Throw in that throwing error by Choo and the runs that scored there probably are not scored. Not that a 4-1 game was any different than a 7-1 game on this particular night.

Not one guy had real success against Cueto. The club spread their six hits between six hitters, one being Jeanmar Gomez who turned an ugly at-bat, into a solid swing for his first career hit.

However Michael Brantley managed to put a nice swing on a ball to send it up the middle of the infield and into the outfield for a hit in his 19th consecutive game. It's a pretty significant streak and through it all, I'm happy to see him swing the bat the way he does now. He's no longer swinging to crush the ball, he's just doing what he's supposed to do with it.

What's interesting about this streak is that it matches a 19-game streak he put up in 2010 and it is the longest since that streak in 2010 that Brantley had. Who would have ever thought Brantley put together a stretch like this before and two years ago to boot.

[BULLPEN SHUFFLE]

Mentioned more on Sipp because I think it's likely that the home run he gave up last night was the topper for him getting called down, which I would expect to happen today to make room for newly acquired Esmil Rogers. The Indians swapped cash considerations for the Rockies reliever, who interestingly enough was the guy that relieved Ubaldo Jimenez when he was yanked after the completion of his trade to Cleveland last season.

Tony Sipp has options and really is the one guy in the pen that is struggling right now. On top of that he's struggled all year, so it's time for a change. Whether it's just a rebooting in Columbus or sending him down to fix whatever is ailing him, he needs to change things up and it's clear it isn't happening on the major league squad, so time to make a move.

Rogers is an interesting pick up. If you think Sipp has struggled, you haven't seen Rogers numbers. He's given up 23 runs in 25 innings of work. Yi...kes. Why the Indians were attracted to him is beyond me because he struggled similarly last season in 83 innings in which he gave up 65 runs. He did some starting last

year, most of it actually while he's been strictly a reliever this season.

"He's going to be here tomorrow," Acta said after Tuesday's loss. "We're taking a chance to see if we can get him over here and take advantage of it. He's fairly young with a very good arm. We'll take a flier on him and see if we can make some adjustments with him and help him out."


He's also never really had stand out numbers from his time in the minor leagues, so why he's continued to move through the Rockies system is beyond me, and it's even more puzzling as to why the Indians would go after him, but I guess we shall see. He'll be 27 this year, so he's not really getting any younger by any stretch. Acta says he saw Rogers in winter ball and things a change of scenery will benefit him and his consistency issues. We'll see.

My hope for Luke Carlin to return looks to be unlikely now as he was the guy designated for assignment to make room for Rogers on the 40-man roster. He should clear and accept his assignment 'back' to Columbus to continue what he's doing and bide his time until the possible need arises.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Speaking of Ubaldo Jimenez, some more positive reviews from Manny Acta on Big U's start on Sunday.

"It's good," Acta said. "The fact that Ubaldo and Justin pitched back-to-back good games, it was just nice to see. It was good. We really need those two guys if we're going anywhere."

Acta noted that it was the first time since June 7th that Jimenez didn't walk a hitter in a game. He hadn't done it since he's arrived in Cleveland, which says a lot. But even better than the no-walk game is the fact that he's only walked one hitter in the past two starts total. It's going to be the big key for him moving forward. You can set all that other stuff aside. If he starts walking people, you can just forget about it.

Jack Hannahan made a rehab assignment start for the Lake County Captains on Tuesday, a day after going 0-4 for Columbus on Monday. He DHed for the Clippers and then played six innings at third base on Tuesday. Hannahan went 0-3 in the 9-6 win for the Captains, but it's about getting his work in and feeling healthy, not the results.

Acta goes on to note that Travis Hafner is swinging off a tee, but would not elaborate on anything else. You can expect the standard wait time with him.

Finally, Chris Perez's honesty is so refreshing. Also, the fact that people assumed he was hung over when he threw up on the field Sunday is downright hilarious. He's not a real-life Kenny Powers people, he just looks and throws like one.

"A lot of people thought I was hung over," he said. "That definitely was not the case. I was not hung over. Ask anybody in [the clubhouse]." 

Perez also clarified that he had no intentions in drinking warm water, that it just happened on a real hot day. I honestly automatically think of the bug in Men in Black I drinking the salt water when I think of someone drinking warm water. That's just gross.

It was a two horse race for this past month's Golden Fedora. Jason Kipnis and Chris Perez tied on the blog with five votes apiece, but it was Kipnis who reigned supreme with five votes on Facebook, giving him the Golden Fedora for May. Congratulations to Kipper for this fictitious award.

[TIGER WATCH]

The Cubs? The lowly Cubs? Yeah, the Detroit Tigers fell 4-3 to the last place Chicago Cubs. Max Scherzer put in a quality start and struck out eight (but walked five) but it wasn't enough. Phil Coke gave the game away in the eighth but the big thing was lack of offense from the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder each had a hit, but their damage was minimal. With the White Sox win, they're six games back. 

0 comments: