By Joe Cooper @joeRantSports on April 14, 2014
There’s a reason the MLB season is 162 games long. Every inning through the six-month marathon can damage a team’s chances of playing in the Fall Classic. While hiccups in the early action may seem mundane and insignificant, the playoff race is traditionally decided by three or less games. Just two weeks into the regular season, the Cleveland Indians have already squandered a few half innings they wish they could have back.
Brian Dozier went yard when Carlos Carrasco left a 92 mph fastball hanging at the waist. In just the second pitch of the game, the Indians were already trailing with an emotionally broken pitcher leading the way. If Carrasco was able to avoid a lopsided three-run inning to begin his season, perhaps he would have had a better outing.
In last Wednesday’s doubleheader against the San Diego Padres, Elliot Johnson by rule made an error. After tracking down a fly ball in deep right field, Johnson dropped the ball in the exchange to his hand. The new rule implemented this offseason designates the particular play as incomplete, which eventually gave the Padres the 1-0 lead early. If the old rule was exercised (the correct one), the Tribe may have escaped the defensive battle that only saw three total runs.
The Indians found themselves in a high scoring rubber match tied at 6-6 against the Minnesota Twins in the sixth inning. Manager Terry Francona made a huge oversight by plugging the right-handed Blake Wood into a situation he is entirely unqualified for as he allowed three earned runs. Eight days since this game where the Tribe fell 10-7, Francona has acknowledged he made a blunder by only calling upon Wood for two innings since.
A ninth inning rally orchestrated by Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes set the stage for John Axford’s first blown save in Wahoo apparel. Alexei Ramirez saw dead red when the 31-year-old left a fastball up in the zone for the shortstop's 354 foot two-run walk-off.
Whether it was the fault of Francona, Aviles or idiotic situation baseball, a bunt should not have been laid down in ninth inning by the Indians. With runners at first and second, Mike Aviles (2-for-2) handed the White Sox a crucial out. Although the sacrifice allowed Yan Gomes to reach home on a passed ball, the inning could have been far more profitable for Cleveland as the one run the bunt fortuitously created was not enough in the end.
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