It’s beginning to look as if the Indians are falling back to Earth a bit. Regression was bound to happen. Keeping up the pace they were on was going to be next to impossible. After going on an incredibly hot stretch to start the month of May, the Indians have now lost two games in a row and over the course of the past three games they have scored a total of three runs. In fact, they’ve been shut out in 25 of the past 27 innings. It’s not time to panic by any means, but it’s something to definitely keep an eye on.
The offensive struggles continued on Tuesday against the Phillies and their starter, Jonathan Pettibone. Pettibone was able to keep the Tribe bats at bay over the course of 6.2 innings of work. He held the Tribe to 2 runs on 4 hits to go along with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. The Indians just had no answer for Pettibone as he worked his way in and out of innings and squeezing his way out of a few tight jams.
Meanwhile, the Phillies and their struggling offense got out to an early lead and then continued to chip away every few innings. In the bottom of the second, Kevin Frandsen homered off of Tribe starter Scott Kazmir to put the Phils up 1-0. The Indians then bounced back in the top half of the second when Michael Brantley delivered a two-run single to center to score Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana.
In the top of the third, the Indians had their best opportunity to break the game completely open. After Swisher was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Mark Reynolds stepped to the plate looking to deliver the knockout blow. Unfortunately, the big hit didn’t come. No thanks to the umpires. Reynolds hit a blooper behind first base that bounce off of the glove of a diving Ryan Howard. Somehow, someway, the ball was ruled foul. Had the ball been ruled fair, there was a decent chance all three runners score to put the Tribe up 5-1. It wasn’t meant to be. On the very next pitch, Reynolds popped out to second to end the inning and the threat.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Phillies tagged on two more runs thanks to a John Mayberry, Jr. RBI double. In the sixth, Dominic Brown homered to lead off the inning and put the Phillies up 4-2. Then finally in the bottom of the eighth Mayberry struck again with an RBI single and Freddy Galvis later provided an RBI single to put the Phils up 6-2.
The Indians will look to get back on the winning track today as they finish up their second two-game series against the Phillies. Corey Kluber will take the mound against Cole Hamels. Can they find a way to jump-start the offense and bust out of this mini offensive slump they have found themselves in? We’ll have to wait and see.
The Good: Despite the fact that he allowed 4 runs and took the loss, Scott Kazmir pitched fairly well. Through his velocity was still exceptionally good and he kept the Indians in the game. When he exited, the score was only 4-2 with plenty of time left for the Indians to make a come back. It didn’t equal the awesomeness of his last start, but this was still good enough to be encouraging.
The Bad: The offense was a no-show again. They had 7 hits and 3 walks, but were only able to put 2 runs up on the board. That’s not the type of offense we’ve gotten used to seeing over the course of the past two weeks or so. It also continued the recent downturn of the Indians offense. Hopefully, they are able to turn things around.
The “Huh?”: Somehow this was ruled a foul ball. Last time I checked, touching the ball in fair territory made it a fair ball regardless of where it lands. This was a total rally killer.