MINNEAPOLIS: Don’t be so quick to blame Indians catchers Carlos Santana and Lou Marson when opposing runners take liberties on the bases.
Despite having strong, accurate arms and relatively quick releases, Santana and Marson are virtually helpless when their pitchers fail to do their job of holding runners. That’s what happened Sunday, when the Minnesota Twins stole three bases during Ubaldo Jimenez’s tenure on the mound.
Asked if the responsibility for the steals belonged to Jimenez, Tribe manager Manny Acta said, “Absolutely. You don’t see stolen bases off catchers at this level. Ubaldo struggles with that, and Tony Sipp has not been very good of late.”
Sipp followed Jimenez to the mound, and two more Twins’ stolen bases ensued.
Because starters pitch many more innings than relievers, the techniques of keeping runners close to their bases is more important to the members of the rotation. In that respect, there is a wide variety of success rates among Tribe starters.
Jimenez has been by far the easiest pitcher on whom to steal. Opposing runners have racked up 22 steals and been thrown out only four times when Jimenez is pitching.
Justin Masterson, who like Jimenez has a lot of moving parts to his delivery, has permitted 18 steals with seven runners being thrown out.
Next in line is Derek Lowe, who has given up only seven steals, with two runners being thrown out.
Josh Tomlin, who uses a slide step on almost every pitch out of the stretch, has given up only three steals. Two other runners have been thrown out.
Zach McAllister has made only 10 starts, so comparisons to his lodge brothers are inaccurate, but all five runners who have tried to steal have succeeded.
Hernandez in action
Roberto Hernandez will make his second rehabilitation start this afternoon for Triple-A Columbus. He is expected to go further and throw more pitches than in his first start for Lake County last week, when he pitched five innings and threw 66 pitches.
Effort not questioned
Acta denied that the Tribe came out flat for the series against the Twins, who won all three games over the weekend.
“When you don’t score, you’re going to look flat,” Acta said. “We need to get people going offensively. To survive offensively, you need at least six guys hitting, and that’s not the case. So we have to get it in gear.”
Acta denied that his team has displayed a lack of effort.
“This is not about effort,” he said. “If guys weren’t showing effort, they wouldn’t be out there.”
The Tribe has been swept four times in three-game series. … In the three-game weekend series against the Twins, the Indians batted .140 with one extra-base hit and scored six runs. … In his past four starts, Jimenez is 0-3 with a 7.97 ERA. … Jimenez and Masterson are tied for the American League lead in wild pitches with 11. … During the weekend series, Tribe starters compiled an ERA of 12.94.
Tim Fedroff homered and singled, and Vinny Rottino doubled and drove in three runs, but Columbus lost to Rochester 8-5. … Giovanny Urshela doubled, singled twice and had one RBI, as Carolina beat Wilmington 5-2 in Class A. Anthony Gallas doubled and drove in two runs. Joseph Colon (1-2, 7.53) gave up one run and three hits in five innings. … Jake Lowery homered and had two RBI, and Jerrud Sabourin doubled, singled twice and had two RBI, as Lake County defeated Dayton 4-3 in Class A.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.