Control Problems Hurt Justin Masterson in Second Outing of Season
My, what a difference a few days can make. After leaving fans with a sense of optimism following their successful opening series against the Oakland A’s, fans can’t help but have pause for concern after the events of the weekend. After coming from behind to defeat the Twins on Opening Day and dropping Saturday’s sequel, the Indians struggled Sunday’s rubber match, a 10-7 defeat.
While the offense, or lack thereof, was the main issue on Saturday, the focus of Sunday’s game was the ineffectiveness of Justin Masterson.
Coming off of an impressive start to begin the season, Masterson struggled to find his footing on Sunday afternoon. In the end, he lasted on 3.2 and allowed 6 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks on 97 pitches. He also hit two batters. That’s a far cry from the 7 shutout innings he threw against Oakland on Monday. For whatever the reason, whether it was the cold, something physical, or just a bad day on the mound, Masterson never had it.
It’s a shame too, because unlike Masterson’s previous start in Oakland, or on Saturday against Kyle Gibson, the Indians offense showed up in a big way.
After falling behind 2-0 in the second inning on a Kurt Suzuki RBI single and Aaron Hicks RBI double play grounder, the Indians immediately struck back. With Michael Brantley aboard, Yan Gomes hit his second home run of the season, a no doubt about it shot to the bleachers in left. Unfortunately, Masterson couldn’t keep up his end of the bargain and instead of mowing down the Twins in the top of the third inning, he surrendered the lead again.
Brian Dozier, who gave the Indians fits all weekend long, walked to lead things off. Joe Mauer followed with a single. Two batters later, the onslaught began. Chris Colabello drove in a run on a ground out. Trevor Plouffe drove in another with a single. Jason Kubel drove in the third run of the inning with a single to right. When it was all said and done, the Twins led 5-2.
In the top of the fourth, the Twins added a sixth run when Colabello singled home Dozier for the second time in as many innings.
Now trailing by a score of 6-2, the Indians offense came to life.
After loading the bases, Jason Kubel delivered his biggest hit of the season, thus far. On the first pitch of his at bat, Kipnis drove a fly ball to deep left field. A funny bounce off the wall and misplay by Jason Bartlett allowed all three runners to round te bases and cross the plate. The double pulled the Indians back to within one run at 6-5 and also got the half-frozen crowd back on their feet. In the following inning, the Indians tie the game up thanks to an RBI double by the suddenly red-hot Lonnie Chisenhall.
Unfortunately, the tie would be short-lived as Blake Wood experienced an implosion in the top of the sixth inning. After recording one out, Brian Dozier walked and stole second. Joe Mauer was then intentionally walked to set up a potential inning ending double play. Instead of hitting into a double play, Jason Bartlett was hit by a pitch to load up the bases. Chris Colabello, who killed the Indians all day long, doubled to center to score all three runs and put the Twins up 9-6.
From that point forward, it was about bending but not breaking for the Twins. They allowed the Tribe to score run number seven on an RBI single from Michael Brantley. And even though the Indians had ample opportunities to score runs on the day, 21 total base runners, they did very little to drive any of them home. When the Twins scored one more run in the top of the ninth to make it 10-7, the game was all but over.
That proved to be the case when the Indians were retired in order for the first time all day by the Twins closer, Glen Perkins.
The loss dropped the Indians record on the young season to 3-3 and a three-way tie for second place in the AL Central. They will look to get back on track tonight when they Welcome the San Diego Padres to Cleveland for a three game interleague series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.