Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Indians feeling the Motown blues

Well, that was a waste of a weekend.

The Cleveland Indians limp home after being swept by the first-place Detroit Tigers, and how sit 4.5 games behind in the AL Central.

It’s nice that the Tribe battled back on Sunday after falling into a 7-0 thanks to “ace” Ubaldo Jimenez (more on that in a bit), especially since they couldn’t do that Saturday night after No. 5 starter David Huff finally pitched like a No. 5 starter in putting the Indians into a 5-0 hole in just 2.1 innings of work.

But feistyness alone isn’t going to win the division; and going 2-4 on road trips through the division doesn’t help either.

Travis Hafner, who left Sunday’s game with an injury, killed the Tribe on the swing through Chicago and Detroit. Hafner hit .160 (4-for-25) from the No. 4 spot with 11 strikeouts.

Asdrubal Cabrera didn’t help much either in the No. 3 hole, hitting .208 (5-for-24) on the trip.

Hafner and Cabrera picked a bad week to hit a slump, as Shin Soo-Choo and Carlos Santana, who hit No. 2 and No. 5 most of the trip, had a solid swing through Chicago and Detroit. Choo hit .393 on the trip while Santana was at a .321 clip.

None of it really matter, though, as the starting pitching let the Tribe down over the weekend.

Josh Tomlin, Huff and Jimenez combined to go 0-3 with an ERA of 12.41 in the three games against Detroit.

As bad as Huff was Saturday night, Jimenez was even worse on Sunday, primarily because he was sold to the fan base as being an ace when the Indians acquired him at the trading deadline.

In four starts for the Tribe so far, Jimenez is 1-1 with two no decisions. He’s worked just 21 innings, has an ERA of 7.29 and a WHIP of 1.47.

“The difference between this year and last year is my command,” Jimenez said after the game. “Last year I was ahead of almost every hitter. This year I’ve been pitching from behind.”

We tuned into the game in the midst of the Tigers’ seven-run third inning to hear announcer Tom Hamilton talking about how, before the game, Indians manager Manny Acta was stressing how Jimenez needs to control his pitches better.

We are beyond tired of hearing that about Jimenez. You’re not an ace if you can’t control your pitches; it’s the control that makes you an ace. Or something like that, we’re still upset about the weekend and are starting to ramble.

In any event, so far the evidence seems pretty strong that the Tribe severely overpaid in this deal.

Luckily the Indians still reside in the AL Central, so no matter how bad it seems they are never out of it. The Tribe now has an 11-game homestead against Seattle, Kansas City and Oakland, who are collectively 57 games under .500.

The Tigers, meanwhile, hit the road for seven games (Tampa and Minnesota) before coming home for four games against Kansas City. Those three are collectively 27 games under .500.

So the opportunity is there over the next week and a half for the Indians to make up for this weekend.

The question, as always, is are they up to the challenge?

***

Luckily the weekend wasn’t a total loss as Liverpool finally beat Arsenal at the Emirates, the first time that has happened in 11 years.

Luis Suárez and Raul Meireles found the back of the net after coming on in the second half to give Liverpool a 2-0 win in a game that wasn’t pretty.

“We just about deserved to win,” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said. “We have a stronger squad than last season and, when you have two substitutes of that quality to bring on, they deserve the chance to make a difference. It wasn’t easy, but at least our season is up and running now. It was a better performance than last week and we didn’t concede a goal. The new players have had a week to settle in and we are beginning to see what they are capable of.”

While it’s nice that Liverpool finally walked out of the Emirates with three points, they need to come up with an offense that includes more than just lobbing the ball into Andy Carroll and hoping that Carroll will head the ball in. Being predictable ain’t gonna get it done.

For now, we’ll just be happy to take the three points and get out of town.

(Photo by The Detroit Free Press)

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