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Southpaw struggles continue for Cleveland

Posted By Luke Lovekin On Jun 5 2012 @ 9:26 am In Cleveland Indians | No Comments

Cleveland going down to the Twins could be perceived as injury issues. It’s hard to expect any team to win missing their 3,4 and 5 hitters on the Disabled List, but I think there are two deeper issues troubling the tribe here in early June. These really need to be addressed for the Indians, if we are to have any chance of catching the red hot White Sox. The Twins are a struggling team this season, picking up only their 20th win after this series with Cleveland. For my mind, there were two reasons that the Twins beat us.

Firstly the starting pitching struggled in both losses. Cleveland’s pitchers were pitching from behind in the count and struggling to find the zone. The first pitch strike count was low in games 2 and 3, with Tomlin and Masterton unable to get out of the first inning without giving up a run, whereas Lowe went 6 & 2/3 innings only giving up 1 run. Lowe struggled a little with command, although he predominately threw first pitch strikes, whereas Tomlin and Masterton threw from behind in the count and the scoreboard showed the results.

Coming into the upcoming series with Detroit, Cleveland pitchers have to go out and attack every batter on the Detroit line-up. Cleveland starters need to put the ball in play and trust their defence to make the outs. They need to go back to good old fundamental baseball, get strikes early in the count and go after the hitters. If the Indians want to beat Detroit in the next series and keep in touch with Chicago, it is going to have to come from the pitching staff.

Secondly, Cleveland’s inability to hit left handed pitching was under the spotlight again. Minnesota’s bullpen did a number on Cleveland in the last two games, with their left handed pitching shutting down the offence. This is something they need to fix quickly, with 2 of their next 3 probable starters being lefty’s. Only 4 hits came after the 6th dig over 3 games. The Twins used mainly left handed relievers and completely shut down Cleveland’s offence. With Detroit’s southpaw starters Scherzer and Smyly set to start against the Indians, Clevelands batting line-up looks to be in trouble again. Scherzer being on quite a roll as of late, with 30 big K’s in his last 18 &1/3 innings. On the other hand, Smyly has given up 4 runs in each of his last 4 starts, those numbers could be well and truly set to change if the tribe can’t work out there problems against left handers. I also expect Below and Coke to get a few innings in relief, if Detroit have paid attention to how the Twins got up over Cleveland.

For Cleveland to get up over Detroit, their pitchers have to work ahead in the count and keep their scores to a minimum. This will give the Tribe’s struggling offence their best chance to work through their southpaw blues and keep in touch with the divison leading White Sox.

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