When Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana took a pitch from Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Randall Delgado pitch deep for a two-run homer in the top of the 11th inning to give the Tribe an 8-6 lead on Tuesday night, all seemed to finally be falling in place for the Indians to break their three-game losing streak.
Little did they know that would be the last positive moment they would have against the Diamondbacks, as disaster struck in the bottom of the 11th, and again in the 14th in a hard-to-swallow 9-8 loss.
Aside from dropping the Indians to 37-40, six games back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, the loss taxed the bullpen to the brink. Manager Terry Francona had to use a whopping 10 pitchers after Justin Masterson lasted just four innings, giving up five runs after the Tribe had built a 5-2 lead in the third inning. With seven games left to play on this west coast trip, it could be a swing that defines the Indians.
If they can’t find a way to win at least four of the games remaining on this trip, it could mean they return home being double-digit games out of first in the division. This comes after being just three back before a deflating three-game sweep over the weekend at home by the Tigers.
With their backs against the wall, it’s time for this roster to step up and play up to its potential. If they don’t, the Indians’ season could be done by the time the All-Star break arrives.
Matt Loede has covered the Cleveland Indians for 20 years for National Networks like AP Radio, Metro Networks and other local and national stations. Follow him on twitter @mattloede.