CLEVELAND: It wasn’t much of a season for Roberto Hernandez.
After waiting for more than half a year for the federal government to issue him a work visa, Hernandez served a three-week suspension for using a false identity (Fausto Carmona) and finally made his season debut for the Indians on Aug. 15.
He might have made his final start Monday night after leaving the game in the third inning with a sprained right ankle in the Tribe’s 3-0 loss to the Athletics at Progressive Field.
“Roberto hurt his ankle backing up the plate on that double [by Yoenis Cespedes],’’ manager Manny Acta said. “We feel that it’s nothing major, but he couldn’t push off the rubber.”
Hernandez threw two pitches to Seth Smith with one out and two on in the third, when he called Lou Marson to the mound. The pitcher and catcher were soon joined by manager Manny Acta, who after a conversation with Hernandez, summoned Chris Seddon from the bullpen to pitch.
Smith came to the plate immediately after Cespedes doubled to right with Stephen Drew on first.
It was not a successful 2⅓ innings for Hernandez, who gave up three runs, four hits and a walk. The third run was let in by Seddon, who gave up an RBI single to Chris Carter before retiring the side in the third.
However, Acta was not unhappy with the brief outing.
“Roberto was pounding the strike zone, but his secondary stuff was not sharp,” the manager said. “Without his secondary pitches, he really didn’t have a swing-and-miss pitch.”
In his first two starts, Hernandez went 0-2 with a 6.75 earned-run average in 12 innings.
Seddon pitched 4⅔ innings and gave up just two hits and a walk.
“I saw Roberto call out [Marson], so I thought, ‘OK, maybe,’ ” Seddon said of the thought he might have to pitch. “I tried not to get overexcited.”
If any lineup is ripe to be victimized by a no-hitter, the Tribe’s rag-tag group of batsmen should be at the top of the list. It didn’t happen Monday night, but who knows what might have transpired had first base umpire Jerry Meals not missed a call?
Brett Anderson, making his second start of the season, retired the first 13 batters of the game, with only two outs caught by outfielders.
When Michael Brantley hit a slow bouncer to Carter at first, it appeared that Anderson would make it 14 in a row. But Anderson, second baseman Cliff Pennington and Brantley all converged near the bag, creating a situation that might have turned into a three-way collision. Instead, Pennington caught the short toss from Carter and somehow touched the base with his toe an instant before Brantley.
At least that’s what a close-up TV replay of the feet of Brantley and Pennington showed. Meals called Brantley safe, and A’s manager Bob Melvin was unable to dissuade the umpire from a ruling that gave the Indians their first hit.
Brent Lillibridge got a “real” hit leading off the fifth inning by whacking a double to the left- field fence.
Anderson worked seven innings, giving up the two hits and two walks, while striking out five.
“He had a good breaking pitch and changeup,” Jason Donald said. “And he mixed his pitches really well. He definitely had enough life on his fastball. But without a doubt [we should have done better]. We hit some balls hard, and they made some good plays defensively.”
The Tribe didn’t bust loose against the Oakland bullpen, either, as the A’s relief corps gave up no hits and one walk and struck out five in the game’s final two innings.
In the past eight games, the Indians have scored 11 runs, an average of 1.4 per game. Not surprisingly, the club’s record is 1-7.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.