Zach McAllister made his triumphant return to the starting rotation last night but unfortunately it was not accompanied by the narrative we all would have envisioned. Rather than taking the mound and shutting down the Mariners over seven marvelous innings of work before turning it over to the bullpen for the eighth and ninth innings, McAllister was rusty and struggled to make it through five complete innings. In fact, McAllister was so shaky that it appeared at one point that he might not finish the third inning.
On a positive note, it could have been much worse, literally. McAllister allowed the Mariners to score their first run of the game on an RBI double by Kyle Seager in the first inning. In the third inning McAllister allowed three runs to cross the plate when the Mariners went double crazy and if not for an outstanding defensive tag team by Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis, he may have allowed a fourth.
On a single to right by Seager, Kipnis’ relay throw to home was just in time to beat the not so fleet of foot Kendrys Morales. Yan GOmes applied the tag and Morales was rung up in a bang-bang play. However, McAllister did himself no favors by allowing a run to score on a wild pitch three batter later. By the time the inning was over, it was 4-3 Mariners and Z-Mac was on the ropes. He’s a fighter, though, and was able to complete two more innings before giving way to the bullpen.
The Indians scored their first three runs of the game in the first two innings. In the top of the first, Asdrubal Cabrera singled following a double from Jason Kipnis to put the Tribe up 1-0. In the top half of the second, Yan Gomes came calling when he jacked a two run homer to left. It was Gomes’ first home run since June 5 against the Yankees.
Following the Gomes home run, the offense would once again go into hibernation mode. From that point forward, the Indians only managed four more hits and when they were able to get a man on base, they almost immediately hit into a double play to end any potential rally. Much of that credit has to go to the Mariners pitching staff, who shut them down for the second night in a row.
Mariner starter Erasmo Ramirez pitched 5.2 innings allowing only three runs on eight hits. He also struck out and walked two. It was a solid outing from a 23-year old with limited big league experience. Ramirez was followed out of the pen by Yoervis Medina who went 2.1 innings and allowed only one hit. He then gave way to closer Tom Wilhelmsen who came on to record his 23rd save of the season, but not before chaos unfolded.
After a lead off single by Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs was brought on to pinch run. Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a single to make it first and third with no one out. Yan Gomes hit a sharp grounder to third and Stubbs had a brain cramp of epic proportions. As Kyle Seager threw to second, Stubbs half heartedly committed to home. The end result was a run down following the out at second. Stubbs was a dead duck and surrendered without much of a fight. With two outs, Michael Bourn struck out on a 3-2 pitch from Wilhelmsen that painted the outside corner to end the game.
The Good: It was hard to find something to like about last night’s game. It was the Tribe’s fourth loss in five games since the all-star break and the offense struggled mightily once again. One bright spot was the return of Zach McAllister. As previously mentioned, he struggled a bit at times, but it was good to see him take the mound. He kept the Tribe in a position to be able to win the game and given the amount of rust on his arm, that’s all the Indians could ask for.
The Bad: The offense was shut down yet again. They racked up eleven hits, but only six of them came after the second inning. I don’t know if it is a post all-star hangover, but this is a trend that needs to change.
Oh, and Drew Stubbs’ base running blunder in the ninth. Totally inexcusable.
The “Huh?”: After being so good in one run games earlier this season, the Tribe has now lost four one run games in a week. It just goes to show the element of luck associated with one run games. This is very much a product of the Indians regressing back to the mean.