Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

The Song Remains the Same for Tribe

Things seemed oddly familiar on Saturday when the Cleveland Indians took on Toronto.

Strong solid pitching? Check.

Ubaldo Jimenez carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and left the game after pitching seven innings of one-hit, two-run ball.

“One of the main keys was that I was throwing my breaking pitches for strikes,” Jimenez told The Beacon Journal. “I think as I went along, that is what worked. I was able to throw every one of my breaking pitches for strikes. Carlos Santana called a great game. Whatever he put down, I went with that.”

We never doubted Jimenez for a moment.

Bullpen breakdown in the ninth inning? Check.

Vinnie Pestano opened the ninth by giving up a homerun to deep center to lead-off hitter Kelly Johnson to put the Tribe in a 3-2 hole.

Funny, the hoople heads who were eviscerating Chris Perez on Thursday and leading the charge for Pestano to be the closer were strangely quiet on Saturday.

Extra innings? Sure.

With the Indians trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Asdrubal Cabrera sent the game in extra innings with a solo homerun.

Bullpen finally running out of gas in extra innings? Check.

Saturday it was Tony Sipp’s turn, as the lefty gave up four runs on four hits in just one-third of an inning of work in the top of the 12th.

Moribund offense from the Indians? Oh yes.

Jason Kipnis cracked a two-run homer in the fifth inning, the Tribe’s first hit of the game and the only hit until Cabrera’s homer in the ninth inning. Cabrera’s homerun was the first earned run the Tribe had scored in 22 innings.

These things happen,” Cabrera told The Plain Dealer. “We’ve played two games. We’re going to be fine.”

So what have we learned now that the Indians have played one percent of their games?

If the starting pitching holds together, the team will be in the game most of the time. Justin Masterson and Jimenez have combined to throw 15 innings, giving up three hits and three runs, good for a 1.80 ERA.

They are not going to throw that way every game, of course, but if Josh Tomlin can join Masterson and Jimenez in putting out a consistent effort, things may be OK.

The bullpen is going to have its ups and downs. It happens. Fans want Perez, Pestano and the rest of the crew to be perfect every time, which isn’t realistic (although it may be necessary until the offense gets its act together).

The offense is having major issues: through two games, the Indians are batting .135 (12-for-89) with two doubles and three homers.

Six of the team’s regulars are batting under .200 so far: Shelley Duncan, Carlos Santana, Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Casey Kotchman. Looking at those numbers it’s a surprise the Indians were in the past two games at all.

“We’re still excited about the start of the season, and we have a lot of energy,” Kipnis said. “There’s really not that much to think about. We’re just not doing what we’re supposed to do. But this is too good of a lineup for us not to come out of it.”

Today’s a good a day as any for the Tribe offense to get going.

Because if they don’t, it could get late awful early for the Tribe.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

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