Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Thank goodness for the Royals

We thought it was odd at first that the Indians won’t see the White Sox again this season until Sept. 24, but after the weekend the Tribe just had in Chicago that’s probably a blessing.

In giving up 35 runs in the three-game series, everything that went right during the series went wrong for the Tribe against the White Sox.

Chicago was able to expose one of the Tribe’s biggest weaknesses – if the starters can’t get to the seventh inning, the Indians are cooked. While Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez are adept at handling the eight and ninth innings, things are dicey if the Tribe has to go to the bullpen too early.

Jairo Asencio was lit up for six runs and nine hits in 3.1 innings of work over the weekend and was designated for assignment on Monday. Joe Smith gave up four runs in one inning of work on Saturday and Tony Sipp gave up four as well, over two outings totaling 2.2 innings of work.

For the weekend, the White Sox were a ridiculous 21-for-43 with runners in scoring position.

And no road series would be complete without Ubaldo Jimenez contributing to the fun.

Jimenez is, to put it simply, horrible on the road. In five starts away from Progressive Field, Jimenez has an ERA of 9.00 and has given up 39 hits in 24 innings of work while allowing opposing batters to hit .358 off of him. At home, he has a respectable 3.38 ERA in five starts, giving up just 19 hits in 32 innings of work and opposing batters are hitting just .171 off of him.

So what gives?

“Ubaldo will be the first to tell you that he hasn’t been able to be consistent,” general manager Chris Antonetti told The Beacon Journal. “One thing that is consistent with Ubaldo is his work ethic and (pitching coach) Scott Radinsky’s efforts to help him.”

It would help if Jimenez stopped issuing walks like they were a game day promotion, as he walking batters at a rate of 6.75 per nine innings. According to The Beacon Journal, if Jimenez works 200 innings this year and keeps up this pace, he will walk 150.

In that same article, Sheldon Ocker points out that Bob Feller set the American League record for walks in a season with 208 in 1938. But Feller threw 277 innings and struck out 240, finishing the season with a record of 17-11 and a 4.08 earned-run average. His ratio of walks per nine innings was 6.74. Oh, yes, he also was 19 years old and had never prepped in the minor leagues.

“He was good his last outing,” manager Manny Acta said. “But it’s about consistency. We can work (with him) all we want, but he has to go out to the mound by himself every fifth day. So we’ll see what happens five days from now.”

It probably is not realistic (especially with the Tribe only playing nine home games in June), but maybe Acta should juggle the rotation whenever possible to make sure Jimenez pitches at home as much as possible.

It wasn’t all bad news, of course. Jason Kipnis hit .462 with four RBI over the weekend and … did we mention the Tribe doesn’t have to face the White Sox again until the end of September?

For now, the Indians have three games with Kansas City (who the Tribe is 5-2 against this year) and then last-place Minnesota (2-0 this year) before heading to Detroit next week for another big series with the Tigers.

Thank goodness for the Royals and the Twins. 

(Photo by The Associated Press)

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