Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 9-3 blowout loss to the visiting Angels Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
1.) Mike Trout was, well, Mike Trout Tuesday night. It’s not purely ironic that one of the magazines on a table in the Indians locker room is a Sports Illustrated that features the Angels slugging center fielder on the cover. Trout showed he deserves all the attention more Tuesday night, hitting two of the Angels’ three home runs and accounting for four runs in the second game of the four-game series.
His three-run homer in the fifth inning all but the game away. He added another to lead off the seventh. Combined, the pair of long balls pushed Trout’s homer total to 17 on the season.
2) Surprisingly, the multi-homer game marked just the second of his career. Still, Indians manager Terry Francona went for the laugh-so-you-don’t-cry reaction when asked about the game’s best all-around player.
“They should rest him tomorrow,” Francona said of Trout. “He has a chance to be a pretty good player. I don't want to tire him out.”
3) The Indians pitching didn’t even come close to matching the previous night’s tidy effort that resulted in an efficient Game One win. A day after starter Trevor Bauer and starter-turned-reliever Carlos Carrasco took care of business to secure a 4-3 victory over a lineup that features Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton at the heart of the order, Tuesday’s starter Josh Tomlin failed to advance the cause.
On a night in which Francona said pitching coach Mickey Callaway relayed that the right handed control pitcher was “yanking his fastball” across the plate in the bullpen while warming up before the game, Tomlin went on to dish up six runs (five earned) on 11 hits in just 5 1/3 innings en route to his fourth loss.
“I settled in during the middle portion of the game, but I still made a couple mistakes there in those innings and paid for it,” Tomlin said.
On a humid, windy, 91-degree evening, Tomlin refused to use the ball carrying well during the game as an excuse.
“Yeah, probably not (that the wind didn’t help his cause),” he said. “But they hit those (two home runs) pretty well anyways.”
4) Meanwhile, Angels rookie Matt Shoemaker took a turn dominating on the mound. The young right-hander pitched a career-high eight innings, limiting the Tribe’s offense to two runs on a David Murphy ground out in the second inning and Lonnie Chisenhall solo home run in the fourth.
“His pitch count was low, he threw a very good breaking ball and off of that and he threw enough fastballs either above our barrels or got us looking for the breaking ball,” Francona said of Shoemaker.
Shoemaker cruised through his start, needing a mere 94 pitches as he limited the Indians to five hits while striking out a career-best 10 batters in his fourth win of the season. He was so efficient, Shoemaker came out to pitch the ninth for a shot at recording a complete game before a rain shower forced an 11-minute delay just as the Tribe was coming to bat in the bottom of the ninth.
5) Although the rain delay halted the action for only 11 minutes, Angels manager Mike Scioscia wisely had closer Ernesto Frieri finish the game for two main reasons. For starters, 11 minutes is short by rain delay standards, but not worth the risk of injuring a young player after his arm has cooled down following eight strong innings. Secondly, Frieri needed the work after struggling recently - the closer once having already been supplanted by former Indians set-up man Joe Smith one time earlier this season while the Tribe played a series in Anaheim.
Frieri struggled to settle in at first, and as the Indians scratched another run across the plate before going down for the night. Jason Kipnis opened the ninth inning with a double and scored on Carlos Santana’s infield single when no one bothered to cover home plate.
6) Going down with a fight might have been a moral victory of sorts, but once again the black cloud over the bullpen wasn’t able to lift with another short outing by an Indians starting pitcher.
The only pitcher for the host that did his job was rookie left-handed Kyle Crockett, who retired the only two batters he faced in relief of Tomlin in the sixth. After Crockett, Mark Lowe dished up Trout’s second homer of the night on the third pitch he threw. Lefty Josh Outman relieved Lowe and was worse. In a long 1 1/3 innings, Outman gave up two runs and walked two.