It’s Still Early, Right: Indians Drop Series to White Sox

Series Result: The White Sox take the three-game series over the Tribe, 2-1.

Game Results
Game 1: Chicago 4 Cleveland 3
Game 2: Cleveland 6 Chicago 2
Game 3: Chicago 6 Cleveland 0

Indians MVP
Ryan Raburn
Thank god Ryan Raburn is up to bat, is a phrase few Indians fans have ever muttered.  Now, Raburn seems to be the only source of offense for the Indians.  In the series he went 4-for-6 with a run, two doubles, a home run, and three RBI.  On the season he is batting .364, nearly 100 points higher than every one else in the lineup.

Indians LVP
Cody Allen
Allen used to be considered a nearly elite closer.  So far this season, Allen has posted a 14.40 ERA.  He blew the save on Monday, allowing 4 runs to score in the bottom of the ninth for the White Sox.  One word…deflating.

Game 1: Allen blows lead in ninth
After taking the weekend off from writing a series review on the Twins series, I figured a trip to the South-side might help the Tribe some.  I was wrong, but not right off the bat (no pun intended).  Trevor Bauer took the mound for the Indians and continued his erratic dominance on opposing hitters.  Bauer would go 7 innings on the night, allowing only 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 7.  On the young season, Bauer has only allowed 8 hits and has 26 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched, but he has walked 11 men.

Bauer dominance would end up lost in a horrendous ninth inning, by Cody Allen.  Things started off well for Allen, who got Adam LaRoche to strike out looking, but that was the only thing that went right.  Avisail Garcia doubled, Conor Gillaspie walked, Alexei Rameriz doubled home two runs, Tyler Flowers singled, Gordon Beckham singled home a run, Adam Eaton singled, then finally Melky Cabrera ended it with a walk-off single.  Sigh.

The Indians entered the bottom of the ninth with a 3-0 lead, courtesy of a Ryan Raburn and Brett Hayes solo home run.  Which brings up this stat, the Indians have hit 11 home runs in 2015, all solo shots.  The Indians other run came in the third, when Michael Brantley doubled to score Mike Aviles.

Game 2: Indians offense explodes for 6 runs in win
In 1999, the Cleveland Indians scored 1,009 runs, the most runs over the past 60 years of baseball.  1,009 runs is equivalent to scoring 6 runs per game.  The 2015 Indians have scored 44 runs in 15 games, the equivalent of 3 runs per game, and 475 runs per 162-game season.  Just let that soak in.

The Indians dead-ball era bats got going in Game 2 of the series, surprisingly, against a left-handed pitcher.  However, it was the White Sox who scored first in this game.  Carlos Carrasco returned to the hill after a line drive nearly ended his season, and possibly his career.  After a mammoth home run by Jose Abreu in the first, Carrasco settled down and was able to go 5 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, while striking out 8.  Francona decided to pull Carrasco after just 60 pitches.

The way 2015 has been going, a 1-0 lead seemed insurmountable.  This time the Indians turned the tables, and responded with a run.  Carlos Santana launched his third home run of the season (a solo shot) to tie the game at one.  David Murphy followed suit in the fifth, and launch a solo home run of his own to give the Indians a 2-1 lead.  The Indians would finally put crooked numbers on the board in the sixth.  The Indians welcome highly touted prospect, Carlos Rondon to the league when Ryan Raburn delivered with a two-run RBI single.  In the seventh, a Jason Kipnis sac fly and a Michael Brantley RBI single gave the Tribe a 6-1 lead.

However, that 6-1 lead never really felt safe, especially after the previous night.  Terry Francona called upon the bullpen in the sixth inning; it would take six relievers to keep the Indians lead.  Things got hairy in the bottom of the eight when the White Sox loaded the bases against Zach McAllister.  In came Nick Hagadone, who forced Adam LaRoche into a would be ground-out, only to have Jose Ramirez boot the throw.  Francona went back to the bullpen, and called upon Bryan Shaw.  Shaw would get Avisail Garcia to strikeout, but the White Sox did cut the lead to 6-2.  Cody Allen was called upon in the ninth to help regain some confidence, and did just that, setting the side down in order to end the game.

Game 3: Do you even RISP, bro?
Momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher.  So, you’d figure the Indians had the momentum going into the rubber match, as they sent Corey Kluber to the mound.  Klubot experienced some technical difficulties in this game though, going 6 innings and allowing 6 runs on 13 hits.  The White Sox conutered with Jeff Samardzija, who labored through 6 innings, throwing 113 pitches, but was still able to hold the Indians off the board.

This game will be remembered for the Indians batting .000 (0-for-10) with runners in scoring position.  The Indians were able to get multiple runners on base in the second, third, fourth, eighth, and ninth inning and came away with zero runs to show for it.  By the seveth inning, the White Sox already had 3-0 lead.  Kluber came out for the seventh, but gave up four straight hits, and three runs, and the White Sox ran up a 6-0 lead, while chasing Kluber from the game.  Luckily, Anthony Swarzak was able to save the bullpen.  He would finish off the final two innings, allowing only one hit, and striking out 3.

The team has over 48 hours to get their minds right.  If there is any consolation, it’s this:  the 2013 Indians started 8-13 and finished 92-70, while the 2014 Indians started 11-17 and finished 85-77.  This team knows how to shake off slow starts.

Up Next: Oh boy, the Indians head to Detroit for a three-game weekend series against the 11-3 Tigers.  How much patience do you have Tribe fans?

–Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)

AP Photo/Matt Marton

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