Welcome to the 2012 season, Roberto Hernandez!
That’s right, folks, last night was the long awaited debut of the pitcher formally know as Fausto Carmona. Roberto Hernandez finally took the mound for the first time since being arrested and exposed for identity fraud this past winter. Looking a we bit heftier than the last time any of us saw him-probably from all of that birthday cake, Hernandez was exactly what we thought he would be. He was noticeably rusty, extremely ineffective, and got knocked around pretty well by the Angels. His final line for the night: eight runs (five earned) on 10 hits. On a positive note, Hernandez didn’t walk anyone, but he also didn’t strike anyone out.
Hernandez… Wait, I can’t do this any more. I understand he’s Roberto Hernandez now, but he’s always going to be “Fausto,” at least to me. Does anyone refer to Hulk Hogan as Terry Bollea? No. Do you refer to The Rock as Dwayne Johnson? Never. Why are both of my examples pro wrestlers? I have no idea. That being said, I’m still calling him Fausto. I don’t care. So what if it’s a just a nickname now. It just doesn’t feel right to call him anything else.
Fausto had a rough go of things last night and the defense didn’t help him out at all. In the bottom of the second the Angels staked themselves to a 5-0 lead thanks to an RBI single by Alberto Callaspo, a fielding error by Brent Lillibridge, a sacrifice fly, throwing errors by Carlos Santana and Lillibridge, and then finally a triple by Erick Aybar. It completely took any and all wind out of the Indians’ sails and put them in a position of coming from behind once again. It also didn’t help that Fausto gave up a run in the third on an RBI ground out by Vernon Wells and then a solo homer to Mike Trout in the fourth to make it 7-0 before the game was even official.
Unfortunately, like so many games prior to last night, the Indians never got much going offensively.
A lot of credit for the Indians struggles goes to Angels’ starter, Ervin Santana. He’s had an awful year, but managed to turn in seven solid innings allowing only one run on four hits and a walk. He also struck out four Indians in the process and never really got himself into much trouble. Santana’s lone speed bump came in the top of the sixth when Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to right to score Ezequiel Carrera. It made it a 7-1 game. The Angels responded in the following half inning when Chris Ianetta homered off of Fausto to make it an 8-1 game.
Give the Indians credit, though. They tried to make a game of it once they got into the Angels bullpen. A three run home run by Shin-Soo Choo off of Jason Isringhausen cut the Angels’ lead to 8-4, but that was as close as thing would get. Isringhausen eventually settled down and ended the inning and then Kevin Jepsen shut the Indians down in the top of the ninth to end it.
With the loss, the Indians dropped the series 2-1 and fell to 54-64 on the season. They are now 9.5 games back of the White Sox in the division race as well as 8.5 games back of the Tigers for the second wild card spot. They travel to Oakland to begin a weekend series with the A’s starting Friday at 10:05 PM.
The Good: This may seem odd and I’m sure many will think I’m crazy, but seeing Roberto “don’t call me Fausto” Hernandez on the mound was enjoyable to some extent. While he had a rough night and didn’t pitch great, I’m happy to see him put everything behind him and hopefully make a positive contribution on this team moving forward.
As for the game, Shin-Soo Choo‘s three run bomb to center was pretty enjoyable. It gave the Indians some life and made you think for a moment that the Angels’ bullpen might implode again. Even though things aren’t going well, they’re still battling and that’s encouraging.
The Bad: I have to be honest, Hernadez didn’t pitch well, but I don’t think anyone really expected much from him given the circumstances. But, I feel like the errors in the second inning that led to three unearned runs are what really did the Indians in. They don’t have the type of offense that can afford to give runs away. Santana’s throw down to second was ugly, but Lillibridge has to know better and just eat the ball rather than trying to make an impossible hero play.
The “Huh?”: In the bottom of the fifth, Torii Hunter tried to score on a double by Kendrys Morales. He was thrown out at home on the play, which was nothing out of the ordinary, but while contorting his body to avoid the tag he managed to kick the home plate umpire… in the face. You read that correctly, Torii Hunter kicked the umpire in the face, cut him open with a spike, and knocked him down for the count. It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.