All teams go through slumps, and so a three-game losing streak is not the end of the world.
But a distressing pattern is beginning to emerge for the Indians: They simply have been unable to beat a really good pitcher for quite a while now, without a command performance from a Tribe starter. And folks, even if you make it to the post-season, if you cannot beat a stud pitcher, you’re not going to win more than a pennant for a divisional championship or a wild-card to display in your stadium.
But a trophy? Not if the Tribe can’t beat David Price, or pitchers like him.
Tampa Bay got two-run homers from Casey Kotchman and Sam Fuld in the second inning off of Josh Tomlin, and truly that was all that was needed for the Rays, who went on to defeat The Good Guys 5-0, for Cleveland’s third loss in a row.
David Price cruised through seven innings to beat the Indians for the second time this season. Price (6-4, 3.54 ERA) allowed only four hits and two walks, while fanning twelve. Joel Peralta and Adam Russell each tossed a scoreless inning to complete the shutout that dropped the Tribe to 30-18 on the season.
Thankfully, the team that began the Indians’ current slide — the Red Sox — have continued rolling along, taking the first two games of a four-game set in Detroit, so the Tribe still leads the Central by six games.
Tomlin manned up and made it through six innings with just the four second-inning runs surrendered. Tomlin (6-2, 2.74 ERA) allowed 10 hits, but walked none and fanned four.
Chad Durbin went an inning for Cleveland and allowed a run, while Joe Smith tossed a perfect eighth.
Shelley Duncan and Carlos Santana each doubled but was stranded for the Indians, while both Orlando and Asdrubal Cabrera singled.
Matt LaPorta had a particularly brutal night, striking out in all four plate appearances, while four other Indians struck out twice each, That included Grady Sizemore, who went 0-for-4 in his first game back from the disabled list.
All that is left is to get back out there on Saturday at 4:10 and try again.
By the way, that “try again” will be against James Shields (5-2), who is sporting a 2.00 ERA. Shields will oppose Carlos Carrasco (3-2, 5.16 ERA).
The Indians might use now as a good time to figure out how to put a dent in a quality pitcher, before the momentum of a 30-15 start has fizzled away.