Series Versus Twins Grew Increasingly Frustrating
The Indians came back home to Progressive Field this passed weekend with a great deal of optimism and excitement surrounding them. After taking two of three from a very good Oakland A’s team, fans were envisioning a sweep of the lowly Minnesota Twins. At the very least they’d take two of three, right? Wrong. So very, very wrong. The Twins stole two of three and left the Indians sitting at .500 through the first six games of the season. Here are the takeaways from the 2014 home opening series.
- Lonnie Chisenhall is off to a great start, limited sample size notwithstanding. He’s five for his first 11 with 3 doubles and four runs scored. Perhaps most encouraging off all is the fact that Chisenhall has only struck out once in those 11 at bats. Pitch selection and plate discipline have been an issue at the big league level, but it appears he may have figured it out, at least in his first four games played. So far it looks like he’s carried his performance from the wild card game over into spring training and then into the start of the season. He keeps this up, he’ll ultimately make a push for more playing time, which he needs if he is going to develop.
- David Murphy finally broke out of his start of the season slump on Sunday by going 4 for 5. Prior to that, Murphy had looked uncomfortable and unsure at the plate. Hopefully this is the start of a hot streak. The Indians could desperately use a little more pop in the bottom of the order.
- Carlos Santana… OBP machine. If Santana doesn’t swing, it’s not a strike. Umpires should take note.
- Yan Gomes’ bat came to life against the Twins. He hit his first two home runs of the season. That’s an encouraging sign. However, that’s about all he’s really done so far offensively. The season is still young though.
- Michael Brantley continues to be clutch in situations with runners in scoring position and has been the Indians best all-around hitter so far in the young season.
- Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen might be the most dominant relief pitching tandem on baseball right now. They have yet to surrender a run and between the two of them have 8 strikeouts against 2 walks in 5 innings of work.
- Marc Rzepczynski has been the surprise of the bullpen so far. Terry Francona has used him as more than just a lefty specialist, allowing him to work multiple innings. In four innings of work, “Scrabble” has a .75 WHIP and 0.00 ERA. He’s allowed just 1 hit and 2 walks.
- Vinnie Pestano continues to look like a man who is lost out on the mound. His fastball seems to lack any sort of bite and as a result, he’s getting hit around a lot. In 2 innings of work, he has surrendered 3 runs. This is hard to admit, but he could be on the shortlist of players on their way out of town when Jason Giambi and Michael Bourn finally come back.
- Blake Wood got hit hard by the Twins on Sunday. Wood looked great up until that point, but his three runs surrendered after the Indians tied the game back up were a huge blow. However, Wood’s status on the team is probably secure.
- Justin Masterson… what happened? Every pitcher is entitled to a rough outing, but against the Twins in his first home start? There are no words. Masterson had zero control and battled just to make it through 3 innings. He should bounce back.
- Carlos Carrasco looked like the Carlos Carrasco we have grown increasingly frustrated with over the past few years. He gave up a home run on the second pitch of Saturday’s game and it was all downhill from there. Sure, he settled in during the middle innings, but not until he allowed 5 runs first. Luckily for him, his lack of minor league options should keep him around for a while longer.
- Let’s not mince words, the offense has struggled. They have been forced to play catch up in every game thus far. When they break out, it’s glorious, but when they’re cold, they’re ice cold. It would be nice to see them get out to a lead for a change.
- Asdrubal Cabrera looks absolutely miserable at the plate. What exactly happened to him? Has anyone been able to figure this out? He’s only 27 years old, but he’s playing more like he’s 37. The more we watch him, the more it looks like he’s an ideal candidate for a change of scenery. The Indians should explore trade possibilities ASAP.
- Double plays are rally killers. The Indians grounded into so many of them over the weekend that they came to be expected. First and second with no one out? Double play. Bases loaded and one out? Double play. It was demoralizing.