It’s no secret that the Indians haven’t come out of the gate like we’ve wanted them to here in 2014. At an 11-15 record, the scuffling Tribe just can’t seem to find any offense…from anyone. The bats have only produced eight runs in the past four games out on the west coast, and team batting average of .234 ranks 24th in the league.
But let’s just please go back to the basics for a second.
On Monday, the Indians found themselves in a 3-3 battle in the 8th inning against the Los Angeles Angels. A Carlos Santana three run bomb was the only source of runs that night, but it was enough to keep the Tribe even with the Halos.
Batting a buck fifty-seven, left fielder J.P. Shuck stepped in the start the 8th inning for L.A.
Here’s where the problem lies.
The ever-so-steady Justin Masterson made his pitch. Shuck chopped the ball to first base…and this looked like a routine first out. Nope, first baseman Nick Swisher fumble the ball like a Browns running back, because he tried to flip it to first base before he even had it in his glove.
One on, nobody out in a tie game. No big deal, right?
Simply put, it’s very difficult for a pitcher to get over a bad play by his defense, especially that late in a close game. The error by Nick Swisher rattled Masterson who had thought he’d gotten the first out. Already over 100 pitches, that terrible play was going to make it that much more difficult for Justin to get out of the inning unscathed.
An intentional walk and two hits later and the score had the Tribe down three, 6-3.
Now the error isn’t a complete excuse for Masterson and the Tribe, as they could have just as easily gotten out of the inning. However, it is my belief that Swisher’s bad defense ultimately started the demise.
Most importantly, it’s mistakes like those that separate the good teams from the great teams.