Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians are not the All-Star break yet, but have the look as a team that is going to stick around in the AL Central. They have more depth than 2011, the bullpen looks as good as ever, and the starting rotation has at times been very good.
On the other hand – it’s also been very bad.
We all know the offense is an area that will need to be developed all season, but the starting pitching has been the area of concern as of late – good one day, not so good for 2-3 days.
In losing 6 of 8 in a recent stretch, all the Tribe starters seemed to go south at once. Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Derek Lowe, Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez.
The quick downfall of the five starters didn’t seem to concern Manny Acta, but if the starters can’t manage to keep this team afloat in the second half, it’s going to be a long few months for sure.
Masterson hasn’t been right all season for whatever reason. He comes into Saturday’s game in St.Louis at 2-5 with an ERA over 5. His shining moment was outpitching Justin Verlander a few weeks back, but after that has gone 0-2 with allowing 10 earned runs in 16 innings.
Jimenez has been all over the place this season, somehow sitting at 6-4, but his ERA is also high at 5.31. He went from allowing 7 runs in four innings to the White Sox on May 27th to a 10-day rest that paid off with giving up a run on 5 hits in 6.2 to the Tigers.
Lowe – he’s been beat up as well as of late. He’s lost 3 of 4, and teams are starting to be more aggressive against him early in games. His latest loss to the Tigers saw Detroit hitters get on him early. They went after his slider, and went the other way with it.
Lowe said after the game that adjustments would have to be made, and he had better make them quick, as he’s gone from 6-1 to 7-4, and while he’s been better than most thought, his early great start is fading fast.
Tomlin was very good Friday night against the Cardinals in a win, but he’s still just 3-3 with an ERA near five, and due to the fact he throws so many strikes, it seems a bad outing is always just around for the corner for him.
Then there’s Gomez, who was the standout of the spring, but now is starting to have huge issues in getting batters out. He’s 4-4, and it seems like over his last three outings (15.2 innings total) he’s gotten worse.
Acta could give another shot to Zach McAllister, who is 1-1, but the Indians are 3-1 in his starts, and he’s allowed 11 runs in 25 innings, not bad for a guy sitting in the minors.
The bottom line is these guys have to do better. Acta said that for the first 50 games the starters have been bad for maybe 10 of them, and while that’s fine to say, he can’t sit back and watch these guys get beat up too much more.
The staff is one that has plenty of question marks, and after a decent start to the season, if these guys go south for an extended period of time – you can bet others will be in their place to try to give the Indians a shot at the AL Central title in the second half of 2012.