Home Opening Clunker Not Fausto's Fault

I know I preached patience on Sunday, but Monday’s home opening loss to the Rangers was a little much to take.

On an otherwise perfect April day (perfect as you can get in Cleveland at least), the Indians offense was unable to bail out the bullpen’s wildness and the Tribe lost 4-2 in 10 innings on Monday.

I’m not upset that they lost. While I can’t say I expected them to lose, I don’t really expect this team to win.

I’m upset that the Indians pissed away a solid start by Fausto Carmona. It wasn’t always pretty (5 hits and 4 walks), but he got the job done and he pitched eight innings, striking out four. He only gave up 2 runs, and anytime you get that out of your starting pitcher you have to think you have a good shot at winning. Not with these hapless Indians. Not with Grady Sizemore scratched for his second straight game. Not with Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley going 0-10 at the top of the order. Not with Shin-Soo Choo wasting outs and opportunities by forgetting there was only one out and getting doubled up after taking off on a routine Travis Hafner flyout.

(By the way … Michael Brantley fans, where are you? He’s been on base 5 times this season and is not doing anything to convince the Tribe to keep him on the big league club when Russell Branyan comes back. If you go on his mlb.com stats page, his two highlights are a ground out and a strikeout. I’m glad the Tribe wasted a year of control for this.)

Then there’s that bullpen. Sunday, I was curious to see how Kenny Powers … I mean Chris Perez, would respond to a nightmarish blown save in Detroit. I got my answer yesterday: Apparently, not well. Perez failed to record an out in the ninth and in was brought Tony Sipp, who retired Ryan Garko (who I seriously thought was going to spoil the opener with a random grand slam just because, well, these ARE the Indians, and it would totally make sense for them to give up a game winning grand slam to someone like Ryan Garko). Sipp gave way to Jamey Wright, who (amazingly) got Michael Young to ground into a double play, only to give up a two-run home run to Nelson Cruz the next inning.

All and all, a pretty shoddy showing for Tribe players who don’t wear #55.

So what can we take away from this? Well it does appear the adjustments Carmona made are working, as he’s had two effective starts. Am I saying he’s back? Absolutely not. He’s pitched 14 innings. But this is a very encouraging sign coming out of Fausto. I was upset with Manny Acta giving Carmona a personal catcher in Mike Redmond, but I do think it’s working. I just wish the catcher wasn’t, y’know, Mike Redmond. But the “Redmond Effect” on Carmona has been significant in both Spring Training and Carmona’s first two starts. I just wish it didn’t make the catching position an automatic out right now, as starting catcher Lou Marson hasn’t been able to hit a lick this year either.

But I’m going to choose to look at the positive of this game: Fausto Carmona looks like a pitcher again. And that, along with the return of baseball to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, is worth celebrating.

Tags: Chris Perez Fausto Carmona Manny Acta Michael Brantley Michael Young Mike Redmond Nelson Cruz

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