And so it continues. A day after getting swept out of Detroit, the Indians were in Arlington to take on the Rangers. Once again, things did not end well. At least this time the Indians actually made a game of things.
Indians starter Scott Kazmir pitched well in the loss. He managed to go 6+ innings, allowing just 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. Unfortunately for him, after leaving in the bottom of the seventh following a lead-off double Jurickson Profar and a single from Elvis Andrus, Kazmir was removed from the game in favor of struggling lefty Nick Hagadone.
Hagadone was able to get the first two outs of the inning on a double play grounder thanks to some poor base running on the part of Profar, but he was unable to escape the inning unscathed. The next batter, Lance Berkman, stepped to the plate and crushed a two run homer to left to put the Rangers up by a score of 5-3. They added another run to make it 6-3 thanks to an RBI double by Nelson Cruz to score Adrian Beltre.
Meanwhile, the Indians’ offense once again struggled to get anything going against a pitcher with limited experience on the mound. As a result, the Tribe was only able to plate three runs, all of which came in the top of the third when Carlos Santana doubled deep to the gap in right center. Mike Aviles, Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher all scored. Rangers starter Josh Lindblom was able to go 6 innings striking out 6 and allowing only those three runs. It was the best performance of his young MLB career to date.
The Good: Scott Kazmir turned in an encouraging performance. His 6 innings of work enabled the Indians to once again have an opportunity to bust out of their funk. Unfortunately, the Tribe offense still came up short by only scoring three runs in the top of the third inning and then being quiet after that. Also…
The Bad: Nick Hagadone’s struggles continued last night. Something just isn’t right with the young lefty. He just can’t get anyone out at the moment and his confidence appears to be shot to hell. This is a major blow to an Indians bullpen that is already shorthanded thanks to the injury to Chris Perez.
The Huh?: Terry Francona‘s willingness to go to the struggling Hagadone in that situation was a bit confusing. Berkman is a switch hitter and two righties were following in Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz. Yes, Berkman has historically been a more dominant hitter from the left side of the plate, but at this stage in his career was this really the smart play? Of course, hindsight is 20/20.