Ubaldo Jimenez didn’t make it out of the second inning and the Indians’ bats were stuck in neutral Tuesday night as the Boston Red Sox beat up on the Tribe, 7-2, in the opener of a three-game series at Progressive Field.
The first inning went by without incident from either side before the Red Sox busted the game open in the second. Mike Napoli led things off with a double and Jimenez walked the bases loaded with one out. After issuing a bases-loaded walk to David Ross to put Boston on the board, Jimenez gave up a sacrifice fly to Pedro Ciriaco and an RBI single to Jacoby Ellsbury. A walk to Shane Victorino loaded the bases again, and yet another bases-loaded walk to Dustin Pedroia ended Jimenez’ night. Cody Allen came in in relief and Napoli promptly hit a bases-clearing double to make it 7-0 Red Sox.
To their credit, the Indians went back out fighting. Nick Swisher led off the bottom of the second with a base hit and hustled to third on Michael Brantley‘s one-out single before coming home on Mike Aviles‘ sacrifice fly. Cleveland struck again in the fifth on a bases-loaded passed ball, but despite a couple more late-game threats that was all the offense the Tribe could muster.
Meanwhile, Cleveland’s relief corps lived up to their name after Ubaldo’s early exit. Cody Allen, Nick Hagadone, Rich Hill, and Bryan Shaw combined to throw 7.1 shutout innings and contain the damage. But it was far too little, too late as the Indians limped to a 7-2 loss.
The Good: How ’bout that bullpen? Cody Allen, Nick Hagadone, Rich Hill, and Bryan Shaw combined to pitch 7.1 innings of four-hit shutout ball. Allen threw three full innings, while Hagadone chipped in two. Here’s an eye-popping stat: Tribe relievers racked up 15 strikeouts after Jimenez hit the showers.
The Bad: This was the Ubaldo we’ve all come to fear. His velocity actually wasn’t a problem, but his command sure was. Jimenez got rocked for seven runs (all earned) in just two innings of work. Sure, he gave up only two hits, but he also issued five walks. Five walks. One has to wonder how much longer the Indians will run him out every fifth day if he doesn’t show some improvement quickly.
Meanwhile, that the Indians scored only two runs on a night when 12 men reached base was somewhat discouraging too.
The “Huh?”: Cord Phelps, who was just called up from the minors, is a switch-hitting infielder. Lonnie Chisenhall is left-handed and struggles against southpaw pitchers…like Tuesday’s starter, Felix Doubront. Why not let Phelps start at second base and shift Mike Aviles to third against the left-handed pitcher?
Interesting Tidbit: Cleveland relievers’ 15 strikeouts are a team high for the live ball era. (h/t Jeremy Lundblad)