Early in the season, Angels’ right-hander Dan Haren pitched a one hitter against the Cleveland Indians.
Today, his teammate, Ervin Santana did him better by throwing a no-hitter against the Tribe to win the series, two games to one.
In a crucial homestand, with a trip to Boston and Texas coming up next week, the Indians have started out 1-4, scoring seven runs in the five games combined.
And don’t blame the pitching. Cleveland pitchers gave up just seven runs in the three game series, and still got pinned with two losses.
What is just as disturbing about the series finale is the five errors made by Cleveland, giving them a weird line score of 1-0-5. Don’t see that very often.
And the errors were made by veteran players, save for Lonnie Chisenhall’s miscue early in the game.
The Indians didn’t make Santana work very hard in the game, as he threw just 104 pitches.
David Huff took the loss in this one, but his defense didn’t help him as one of the runs he allowed was the result of a passed ball by Carlos Santana, and he had to throw several extra pitches in the fourth inning when he had to record five outs.
Let’s face it, the Cleveland Indians aren’t a very good baseball team. Their hot streak lasted 45 games (30-15), and they’ve played 57 games since then going 22-35 during that span. They’ve been bad longer than they were good.
Still, a quick check of the standings shows the Tribe just two games out of first place with 60 games to go. They are in the race and the front office should be buyers instead of sellers, without a doubt.
Outside of Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Brantley, and Travis Hafner, there are no consistent offensive threats. Chisenhall has improved the offense at third base slightly, and the hope is that Jason Kipnis will do the same at 2B.
Carlos Santana is too streaky at this point, but still would have to be considered on the plus side, since his OPS is second among all American League catchers.
And despite commenting about the strikeouts when hitting coach Jon Nunnally was let go, Cleveland now leads the AL in failing to make contact at the plate.
That’s why scoring runs is still akin to pulling teeth for this team. They can’t play “action baseball” because they whiff so often. Santana had 10 punchouts today.
When people get hopeful about getting a B. J. Upton or Colby Rasmus (traded to Toronto today), they don’t understand this team needs someone who makes contact on a regular basis, not another guy who strikes out a lot, which both of those guys do.
Conversely, the pitching staff, which by the way is not among the top half of the AL in ERA (currently 9th), is second last in the league in striking out opponents. That’s why GM Chris Antonetti is also looking at adding a pitcher.
FYI: Detroit has a staff ERA almost a quarter of a run higher than the Tribe. And that’s with Justin Verlander.
So, what should this team do?
They are close so they should take a shot and try to improve the team as much as they can, but with an eye on the future as well.
It’s not easy to do, but after today’s game, let’s face it. There is nowhere to go but up.