The Indians should be absolutely embarrassed by their play of late. In a short losing streak, many things can be blamed, including simple bad luck, but in an extended downfall like the Indians are currently on (9-26 since the All-Star break), every single aspect of the team has had a chance to come through and has failed. In 21 of the games listed the Indians scored three or less runs, obviously not enough to win in the American League. The Indians actually won four of these games showing an even bigger problem in starting pitching. They have allowed six or more runs in 19 games since the break. When you put those two numbers together it’s not surprising that the Indians have lost 20+ games. Of course the blame for the last couple of losses can fall on the mostly infallible bullpen. The almost perfect Chris Perez has blown two saves in the last month along with blown saves by Vinnie Pestano and Joe Smith, the two most consistant pitchers in the bullpen.
Chris Antonetti has said that every player is up for re-evaluation and is more of a jerk reaction to the Indians current situation than a thought out strategy going into 2013. Some players do need to be looked at to see if they should be traded or released, especially Ubaldo Jimenez, Travis Hafner, Chris Perez and Jack Hannahan. Hopfully he is a good enough judge of talent and the actual value of these players to not completely ruin what is a very good core of players (Jason Kipnis, Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, etc) by gutting the team during the offseason.
August 20th 10:10 EDT: Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, 9-12, 5.62 ERA vs Kevin Millwood, RHP, 4-10, 4.28 ERA
At this point in the year, the Indians would probably prefer to have Millwood, who they looked at signing in the offseason, than Jimenez. It is almost time to consider the Ubaldo project a complete failure as any team that is actually contending for a playoff spot can’t afford to throw a pitcher that is this inconsistant.
One Hernandez threw a perfect game in his last start, the other just made his first start in the Majors this season. The good news for the Tribe is that the other starters who have thrown no hitters this year (Johan Santana, Phil Humber and Matt Cain) all struggled in their starts following their great game. The bad news is that Hernandez is vastly superior to all these pitchers and has been pitching like this all season.
The Mariners rookie has pitched against the Indians once this season back when he was still a reliever in May. In July, Seattle switched Iwakuma to a starter and he has since had mixed results. Overall he has pitched well, never allowing more than four runs in a game and lowering his ERA a full run since the transition. If he does have a flaw it is that he has failed to get past the 5th inning in half of his starts. Of course against the Indians he will probably pitch more like he did against Toronto when he threw 8 innings and struck out 13.