You know things are going bad when you get beat by Don Kelly. Well, things are going bad for the Indians because well, they got beat by Don Kelly. You can’t make this stuff up.
Looking to end a six game skid that has seen them fall under .500 and 4.5 games behind the Tigers in the Central, the Indians took the field optimistic behind their ace, Justin Masterson. While Masterson was once again able to go seven strong innings, it just wasn’t enough to will a struggling Indians team to victory. Over his seven innings of work, Masterson allowed 4 runs off of 6 hits while striking out 4, but it was a three run homer in the bottom of the sixth that was the biggest blow of the game.
After tying things up in the top half of the fifth following a solo blast by former Tiger Ryan Raburn, Masterson tried his best to keep the Tigers’ offense at bay. He was successful in the bottom half of the fifth, but the sixth was a completely different story. After walking Miguel Cabrera and giving up a single to Prince Fielder to lead off the inning, Kelly stepped up to the plate simply looking to put the ball in play. After all, when you are hitting below the Mendoza Line, you can’t really ask for much. Well, Kelly did more than just put the ball in play. He delivered a a home run to right field that put the Tigers up by a score of 4-1.
The Indians threatened in the following innings by getting runners on base in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but they were never able to fully capitalize. The Tiger bullpen, long believed to be the weakness of their team, wiggled its way out of trouble each and every time behind the efforts of Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit.
The loss is the Tribe’s seventh straight. It was also the second straight series in which they have been swept out of town by the opposition. They are now two games under .500 with a record of 30-32 and find themselves 5.5 games back of the Tigers. Things also aren’t about to get any easier as the Indians travel to Texas to take on the AL West leading Rangers. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 with Scott Kazmir taking the mound against Josh Lindblom.
The Good: Ryan Raburn continued his hot hitting ways by delivering the Tribe’s only run of the day on a solo home run to left. Justin Masterson also put forth another solid outing. The four runs allowed, while not great, were not insurmountable. The Indians offense is just struggling right now so even the smallest of deficits looks like a mountain.
The Bad: The Indians offense has gone back into hibernation mode. As the old adage goes, you live by the long ball and you die by the long ball. Well, when the Indians aren’t hitting home runs in mass quantities like they were throughout the month of May it’s difficult for them to manufacture runs. Once the Indians start hitting home runs again, odds are good that the wins will follow. The real question is how long can they afford to wait for that to happen?