Stephanie Storm’s 10 final thoughts on the Indians 7-1 loss to the host Angels, capping a forgettable West Coast road trip during which the team went 0-for-California.
1) The Indians did little right in any phase of the game during the ugly road trip. The offense hit just .183 overall, and an even worse .167 with runners in scoring position to support the pitching staff with a mere 2.2 runs per game. In turn, the pitching staff combined for a 5.55 ERA.
2) And that’s not even the worst part, really. The team’s defense has become almost laughable, the team routinely making at least one error per game to further increase their American League-leading total to 26 errors in the first 28 games. The Indians have now committed an error in 10 consecutive games and have 18 over their last 17 contests.
3) On Monday, first baseman Nick Swisher made a crucial eighth-inning error at first base. Tuesday, it was shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera who caught the error flu. Wednesday, catcher Yan Gomes airmailed another throw into shallow centerfield in the third inning trying to throw out Howie Kendrick attempting to steal second. The miscue advanced Kendrick at third, and he soon cruised home on an Albert Pujols sacrifice fly.
4) The error was Gomes’ seventh of the season. Both his and the team’s errors as a whole are piling up at an alarming rate with just the first month of the season coming to a close. After Gomes wrestled the starting job from Carlos Santana towards the end of season last year, the Indians signed the inexperienced backstop to a six-year, $23 million contract extension in an effort to lock him up at an affordable price.
5) The flip side of those kinds of contracts are becoming tethered to a sometimes inexperienced player for a long time before you really know just how good they are – or aren’t - going to be. While it’s too early to even hint at Gomes potentially being a bust, he’s proving there’s more nuances to being a catcher aside from working well with a pitching staff and owning a rifle for an arm.
6) “We have to stop giving the other team extra outs and extra opportunities,” Indians manager Terry Francona said during the forgettable trip. “We’re not the kind of team that can do that and get away with it.” Then the veteran skipper sat and watched his squad go out and continue the maddening pattern.
7) Wednesday, it wouldn’t have mattered had the Indians actually played a clean game. After the Tribe got on the board first inning with a second-inning run aided by a C.J. Wilson hit batter and wild pitch, the Angels promptly doubled them up in he bottom of the inning - then kept piling on the runs.
8) For the most part on the road trip, the errors weren’t born out of carelessness. Quite the opposite, mostly. Most of the daily miscues seem to have come from a player trying to be aggressive and make something happen. Perhaps even, a player pressing a bit, wanting so hard to be the spark that finally turns the team in the right direction. It’s that fine-line dilemma of letting the game come to you and trying to make something happen.
9) If ever there was a scheduled off day coming at the time the Indians needed it most, it’s Thursday’s.
“We’ve been down before, this organization’s been down before,” a defiant Swisher said as the team packed up and gladly prepared to head back to Ohio. “But we’re going to do our best to fight back. That’s what we do.”
10) It’s only the last day of April, so there’s no need to panic just yet. There’s plenty of baseball to be played moving forward. But for their own good, it’s not a bad idea for the Indians to start getting the train moving in the right direction.