Don’t look now, but all of the sudden the once red-hot Cleveland Indians have turned ice-cold. After Tuesday’s 8-2 beat down by the Reds, the Tribe has now lost five in a row for the second time this season and have lost seven of their last eight games. It’s an interesting turn of events as the Indians look to rediscover their mojo while combating this latest run of adversity.
Last night’s game was seemingly over before it started. With the regularly stable Zach McAllister on the mound, the Reds struck for three runs in the bottom half of the first inning. Shin-Soo Choo doubled and Zack Cozart singled on a bunt to lead things off. Joey Votto, who has seemingly come to life in this series, delivered an RBI single to score Choo. Later in the inning, a two out single by Xavier Paul scored Cozart and Votto.
The Tribe tried to claw their way back into things, but it was seemingly all for naught. Michael Bourn delivered an RBI single in the top half of the fifth inning and cut the Reds’ lead to 3-1. Unfortunately, that’s as close as things would get on the night because once again the bullpen would implode.
This time it was the normally reliable Bryan Shaw‘s turn to come up short. In the bottom of the seventh, Shaw allowed four runs on five hits while recording only a single out. It was this offensive explosion that put the game out of reach for the Indians. After the inning they trailed the Reds by a score of 7-1. They tacked on a run in the top of the eighth to make it a 7-2 ball game, but the Reds would get it right back in the bottom half of the eighth thanks to an RBI doubled by Jay Bruce to score Brandon Phillips.
The Indians will look to bounce back tonight as the series shifts to Cleveland for the next two games. Maybe a change of scenery and the reintroduction of the DH into the lineup will help. The pitching match-up will feature Tribe ace Justin Masterson against Reds veteran righty Bronson Arroyo.
The Good: Despite his first inning implosion, Zach McAllister did what he needed to do to keep the game close. A three run deficit after the first inning is not insurmountable, especially for this offense. If only the offense could have come through and put some pressure on Mat Latos.
The Bad: The offense came up short once again. Is this a by-product of having the pitchers bat, or has the Indians offense finally come crashing back down to reality after being red-hot for most of May? Hopefully it’s the former.
In addition, Bryan Shaw’s performance was about as bad as they get. only a third of an inning pitched and he allowed 4 runs on 5 hits. That’s not good. It’s just another bad performance in a string of bad performances of late.
The “Huh?”: Watching Shin-Soo Choo burn the Indians on Monday was weird. Watching Jack Hannahan burn them last night was even weirder. What is it about former Indians going to Cincinnati and exacting revenge on the Tribe? First Brandon Phillips, then Choo and Hannahan.