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5.06.2013

Morning Rundown: Streaking Into Sunday, Indians Fall in Series Finale

Nino Colla | Monday, May 06, 2013 | | | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

Today was the day I have been dreading for awhile. Perhaps, years... I didn't think it would ever come.

Today I'm getting my wisdom teeth out. Depending on when you are reading this, I may be currently in surgery or passed out in my bed hoping to wake up without any sort of agonizing pain. Or you are reading it so quickly after it posted that I'm actually just awake roaming around nervously before my surgery.

Either way, I'm not looking forward to this experience as everyone has a story, and none of those stories involve anything other than some sort of pain or discomfort.

Of course you didn't come here for me to tell you about my teeth, but I did feel I should share that tidbit, as it means I will be out of action here for a few days. It shouldn't prevent you from voting for Bro of the Month though, because you only have a few days for that.

So, the last rundown for, like maybe a day, two at the most I guess. I won't let a few teeth keep me down too long.

Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports
TWINS - 4 | INDIANS - 2
W: Mike Pelfrey (3-3)
L: Corey Kluber (2-1)
S: Glen Perkins (7)
[BOXSCORE]

Just wanna point some things out before we go any further.

5/5 Kluber: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 5 K
5/4 Kazmir: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K
5/3 Masterson: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 5 K
5/1 Bauer: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 5 K
4/30 McAllister: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K
4/29 Jimenez: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
4/28 Kluber: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Alright so those were the last seven starts by Indians pitchers, the six game win streak and the game that ended it yesterday.

I mean shoot, the first thing is, wow, the starting pitching has brought it to the table in a big way.

The second thing is that Corey Kluber started the win streak, and while he may have ended it, it was in no way his fault. Kluber pitched just as well as other pitchers during the streak. The only one that didn't earn a win was Masterson and that is because the bullpen temporarily gave it away.

Kluber put in an effort worthy of winning had the offense played as out of their minds as they did in the previous six games. Score six, game over, Kluber does more than enough. The overall point is, The Klube is pitching well, very well in fact. The four walks were a little troubling, but it was the first four walks he's surrendered this year.

"I just missed with a lot of pitches," Kluber said. "The result was four walks and three runs. It could've been a lot worse with four walks."

He really made one mistake that ended up costing him and that was the home run that came after he gave up his first walk on four pitches in the second. He gave up another one in the sixth, but he was an out away from a quality start. Don't fault him for a good effort in this one. So yeah, four walks could have hurt more, but when you don't make mistakes, like some other pitcher we know does, then things will usually end up minimized, which he did.

And if he had some offensive help like the other games, we'd be sitting here talking about a 3-0 Corey freakin' Kluber.

Seemed kind of surprising that the Twins got it from Mike Pelfrey though, who is just a year removed from Tommy John surgery.

"Sometimes it's just not your day," Indians designated hitter Nick Swisher said. "We really just couldn't get anything going. Then again, hats off to Pelfrey. I think that's the best game he's pitched this year. He was reaching 95-96 mph. I haven't seen that all year. Good job for him. For us, we've got to forget about today and get ready for tomorrow."

Who knows what got into Pelfrey, but he was very aggressive early. Perhaps knowing that the Indians were a bit of a patient team. Then when the Indians starting jumping on him being aggressive early on, he played with them. Got them swinging at some pitches they probably don't normally swing at. Overall it probably was not the Pelfrey the Indians expected to see, the one that struck out seven hitters and walked just one is a huge different to the one who has been walking at least two a game and striking out no more than two hitters.

In fact, he doubled his strikeout total in just that outing. He hadn't ever made it out of the sixth and gave up on average five-plus hits a game. In this one? Six innings, less than five hits, just one walk and doubled the strikeouts.

It happens. A pitcher has a good game, things don't fall your way. Tito makes a good point though. As long as the starter is giving you a chance, that's all you can really ask for.

"There's been times when maybe we haven't got a runner over, but then the next hitter gets a base hit. We've extended innings, for the most part, and we've taken advantage of that. You put yourself in a position to win. That's the best thing you can do. You're not always going to win, but if you give yourself a chance, more often than not, you'll be OK."

And more times than not, if you give yourself a chance to win, you will win, like the Indians had been doing all week until Sunday. A shame the streak had to end, but the way the offense has been going, things should turn around and pick right back up. Stay cool.

Random Notes...

How about the run that six game win streak was? The offense was absolutely on fire. So much so they did some things they haven't done in awhile. In those six games they had at least six runs and 12 hits. The last time the Indians scored six runs or more in six straight games? 1935. You know you have done something incredible when it has been 78 years since your franchise last did something.

The Indians almost extended the streak to seven with a comeback win. Santana, who didn't have the greatest series until Sunday, busted out in this one and then clobbered a Glen Perkins offering over the little monster in left. Ryan Raburn fights his way on and the drama intensifies.

I think going for Aviles was the right move, as Chisenhall probably doesn't need to be in there against the lefty in a tight spot like that. Aviles makes more sense. Surprised it wasn't Giambi, but when your dealing with just the tying run, I could see wanting the quicker guy on if he makes it. Aviles put up a good at-bat and I'd rather go out fighting than without a whimper.

Nick Swisher looked a little befuddled at the plate in his 0-for-4 game with two strikeouts.

Asdrubal Cabrera had probably the most brilliant, yet incredibly stupid plays of the afternoon when he stole third in the fourth. He was dead to rights on the throw AND the tag, but he made a great move to avoid it with his hand and he ended up safe. It was downright silly to be doing that with Reynolds at the plate and him not being 100% sure he could take the bag.

But it worked out because Cabrera being on third with less than two outs changed the complexion of that at-bat. It let Reynolds look for something he could drive deep enough because he knew it would score a run. He did exactly that and just missed a 3-1 fastball that was almost hit into orbit had Reynolds made contact.

How about the two frames from Scotty Barnes? Four strikeouts, no baserunners, impressive two innings.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Sorry if this rundown seems more like the Injury rundown.

In an effort to talk non-injury news, might as well mention the two wins on Friday and Saturday. It was the first win in two freaking years, 958 days to be precise, for Scott Kazmir. Two years man! September of 2010. It was comical of someone (cough Sheldon Ocker cough) to ask him if he remembered the last time he won a ballgame. OF COURSE HE DOESN'T! Why would he? It has been so long and do you really think a pitcher keeps track of his wins.

He just knows he's had a hell of a journey to get back to this point and boy did he look reaaaaaal good on Saturday. He was moving the ball, had some surprising good velocity on his fastball, and had used his change-up to perfection.

"Throughout everything I've been through so far, you have to be mentally tough," Kazmir said. "I'm a little bit more mature now. I turn the page and keep attacking hitters. When you're young out there, you want to be perfect. If one thing goes wrong, it can just snowball into something way worse. I figured that out and am going out there a little bit more relaxed. I know what I need to do. I know what I'm capable of doing. It's just [a matter of] executing."

Couldn't happen to a better guy who's worked really hard. And hopefully he can build off that start, because he looked fan-freaking-tastic. Everything about his start was impressive and the Indians can really stand to have someone like him do that all year long.

The Drew Stubbs walk-off hit on Friday was the second of the season for the Indians and his first as an Indian. He was able to smash three doubles on the night, which doubled his season total.

Important to note that Stubbs has continued his trend of righty/lefty splits. Career he is a .228 hitter off right-handers and .283 against left-handers. This season he is hitting .226 against the righties and .359 against the lefties. Both his homers have come against lefties and while he was 2-for-2 against their starter Hernandez (lefty), two doubles late came off the righty relievers, including the winner of Fien.

I think the most perplexing part of Friday's game against the Twins was the use of Cody Allen in the seventh inning. After Masterson was chased from the game, the Indians went into their bullpen and used someone they don't usually use in that situation.

Up one run, Allen was called upon, which begged of curiosity, what in the wide world of sports did Joe Smith do? Or is Cody Allen just getting more respect from manager Terry Francona that he is coming on to get just one out in a close game?

Answer: None of the above. Turns out it would be more apparent the next night when the Indians were once again faced with using their bullpen in the seventh inning of a game they led. Bryan Shaw would be the man Tito turned to and it was all because Joe Smith was actually being held out to be used in the eighth inning.

That's the last thing you want to hear, because it means Vinnie Pestano isn't available, which is currently the case as he battles through a sore right elbow.

I take that back. THAT is the last thing you want to hear, sore elbow. No one wants to hear sore elbow, not with a pitcher who throws with his right arm.

Pestano says he feels better after playing catch on Sunday, but that a disabled list stint is not out of the realm of possibilities.

"The decisions aren't up to me right now," Pestano said. "I felt better than I thought I would after not throwing five of the last six days, and throwing long toss and in the bullpen [on Saturday]. I've done everything I can to try to get as healthy as I can as soon as possible. It's just day-to-day right now."

If he can prove he's okay by the time Bourn is going to be activated, which we'll touch up on a second, he will probably avoid it. If not. You can't continue to go with a man down in the pen. Scott Barnes was recalled to be the extra arm there right now and he will be around until Bourn is ready to come back. 

So, time is ticking there, hopefully the Indians dodge whatever bullet this could potentially be.

That roster situation we discussed last week in regards to Bauer and and needing an extra starter in a few weeks was pretty much ironed out.

To make room for Barnes, Ezequiel Carrera has once again been jettisoned as he was designated for assignment. Seems likely a team would claim him again, but maybe there are no spaces on the teams that would. Or maybe there is a team out there that wants to try and sneak him through. Who knows, poor guy. Zeke was around for two games, had a huge bunt on Friday and came up with a few hits on Saturday, including a RBI and a run scored.

Either way, he was temporarily filling in either way. Once Bourn was healthy, he was going. And the Indians will now be able to call upon Bauer in a few weeks when they have a double header against the Yankees, and they can use that 26th man rule to do so. 

Unless of course things get all wacky.

Michael Bourn is scheduled to come back really soon after he completes a quick rehab assignment. He'll start with the Clippers on Monday and it should not take more than a few games for him to get things right and get back up with the big league club.

Keep waiting for Lou Marson to come back, it may be awhile. Seriously, not a single update in this little snippet about Marson. When you have "no clear timetable" on anything and Marson himself saying "Hopefully I can get going" to he can even think of playing... Oh boy.

And it turns out that this may be the overall root problem as to why Marson has declined defensively in throwing out runners, something he was way better at than Santana and just about every other catcher in the American League. His shoulder problems date back all the way to last year.

"Maybe, maybe not," he said. "Maybe it was just a down year. It started bothering me in the spring. I haven't felt the same in a couple years. I need to get back to where I'm at the top of the league again and feeling good."

Come again? A couple years? Why hasn't this issue been remedied by now? He's had an offseason to fix it, yet here he sits a hurt man. Is rest really the answer at this juncture if rest over an offseason didn't get it done? Perhaps he needs something cleaned up.

The way Yan Gomes is playing in Marson's place will not have the Indians rushing LouMar back behind the dish. You know they will let him take his time and get fully healthy. 

The Indians will also continue to be overprotective in regards to their big time investment in Nick Swisher. The Swish returned to the lineup on Saturday and belted a home run in his first at-bat. But Swish missed three games with a sore shoulder and when he returned on Saturday, played DH in both that game and on Sunday. 

And to round up this edition of the walking wounded, Brett Myers has resumed throwing. The Indians say he is still "weeks away" from returning, but he is making progress, which is nice. Myers says this issue is one he deals with every year, only it subsides much earlier than it has this season.

Today, I'll be wounded and fit right in. So it only makes sense.

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