Nine final thoughts for a lineup that's been producing from nine spots (See Nos. 7-8 below), and a 10-7 loss to the Twins.
1. Pretty much everything Justin Masterson does this season will come with "$17 million" in the back of everyone's mind. In the season opening loss, it looked like that might be a bargain. Today, you'd think it'd be a massive mistake.
2. Manager Terry Francona said after the game that they don't give up on guys on April 6. He was more-so talking about the whole rotation, but that's a good reminder that this is a long season. Masterson's next 30 starts will all likely fall in the middle of his first start and today. Said Francona, "Not saying we don't want to do better, but I think you can rush to judgment and miss out on some really good players."
3. David Murphy went 4-for-5, which is good to sign. Fans don't tend to love him because he doesn't look like an American League right fielder. He looks like a left fielder in the National League hitting .270 slapping balls to the opposite field. He turned on several pitches today and tied the game 6-6 before the Twins got to Blake Wood.
4. On the Gomes error, Francona said he was trying to rush, but it's easy to say that now. Either Kipnis or Aviles probably should have gotten over there, but Gomes also shouldn't have fired until that happened. Either way, a bad result.
5. There are two sides to just about every story. Side one to this story: the starting rotation has not been very good since Opening Day and it's felt like the Indians' bats have been playing catch-up ever since. Francona said he's not worried about guys like Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister, and is confident in them.
6. The other side: the bats have been able to play catch-up. Kipnis had been the most noticaeble struggle (simply because of his contract extension) and today he came up with the team's biggest hit, and in the previous at-bat hit one to the warning track (Swisher did as well to dead center field).
7. Chisenhall has been swinging his bat well and had a double today. Gomes had a home run, his second of the home stand. Murphy went 4-for-5. If the bottom of the order can produce like it has, the Indians can be dangerous in every inning, even without a prototypical 40-HR, 100-RBI bopper in the middle.
8. Because there might be a slightly higher probability in Cleveland that runs can be scored at the bottom of the order, it makes it a bit harder to game plan your run to the concession stand for a hot dog. Be careful. Lonnie and Yan can make you pay.
9. Two things could be taken from what Murphy said after the game. 1. This is what the offense is capable of, and it's more when you consider how many men were left on base and that two balls were hit to the warning track. And 2. "We know we're better than this." The meaning: there isn't a feel of "We won 92 games last year and feel good about that."