There’s no other word to describe the Indians bullpen right now than “disaster.”
Again on Monday an Indians starter pitched well enough to get the team a victory, and again the bullpen blew it. A late-inning home run from Joey Votto sealed a Cincinnati Reds victory, handing Cleveland their fourth straight loss.
In four games since May 24, Cleveland starters have given up 10 earned runs in 24 2/3 innings, the bulk coming from Masterson in a six inning, five run effort against the Red Sox last Friday.
That comes to a 3.64 ERA for starters. In that same stretch of games, the bullpen has given up 15 earned runs in eight innings pitched, a 16.88 ERA that has almost single-handedly handed the Indians a four-game losing streak.
Such was the case on Monday afternoon in Great American Ballpark, a 75-degree game welcoming the Tribe into summer on Memorial Day.
Ubaldo Jimenez gave up just two runs in seven innings, another solid start in what has been a turnaround month for the right-hander. Despite giving up six runs against Detroit in his last start on May 22, Monday’s effort lowered his season ERA to 5.57, a far cry from what it was in mid-April.
He went 108 pitches, even recording a sacrifice bunt at the National League ballpark.
Shin-Soo Choo, in his first game against the Tribe since being traded to Cincinnati, hit his third lead-off home run of the season. That gave him eight such home runs in his career.
The Indians fell behind 2-1 into the eighth inning as Jason Giambi was tapped by Terry Francona to pinch-hit for the pitcher’s spot.
Giambi came in to Monday’s contest hitless in his last 23 at-bats dating back to May 9. Against Reds starter Mike Leake, Giambi drove a 1-1 game over the wall in dead center to tie the game.
In the bottom of the eighth, with Indians reliever Nick Hagadone in to keep the game locked at two, the Indians found themselves in another jam.
Choo singled and moved to second on a passed ball. After being sacrificed to third, Francona was left with a decision of whether or not to pitch to Votto with one out or walk him to set up a double play.
Hagadone went after Votto, falling behind 2-1 before a fastball down the middle of the plate was drilled into the seats in left center.
The Reds pulled ahead 4-2, and closer Aroldis Chapman came in to finish the game.
The Indians have now lost six of their last seven games. Detroit defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, putting the Tribe down 2.5 games in the division heading into Tuesday.
The Indians and Reds will play the second game of the series on Tuesday, with Zach McAllister (4-3, 2.89 ERA) facing off against Mat Latos (4-0, 3.17 ERA).
AL Central Scores for Monday, May 27
St. Louis Cardinals @ Kansas City Royals: 6-3 in the 8th inning
Cleveland Indians @ Cincinnati Reds: 4-2
Chicago Cubs @ Chicago White Sox: 7:10 p.m. starting time
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Detroit Tigers: 6-5
Minnesota Twins @ Milwaukee Brewers: 6-3
AL Central Standings for May 28, 2013
Detroit Tigers:…….…29-20….0.0 games back
Cleveland Indians…….27-23….2.5 games back
Chicago White Sox:….24-24….4.5 games back
Kansas City Royals:…21-26…7.0 games back
Minnesota Twins:……20-28…..8.5 games back
AL Central Schedule for Tuesday, May 28
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Detroit Tigers – 7:08 p.m.
Cleveland Indians @ Cincinnati Reds – 7:10 p.m.
Chicago Cubs @ Chicago White Sox – 8:10 p.m.
Minnesota Twins @ Milwaukee Brewers – 8:10 p.m.
St. Louis Cardinals @ Kansas City Royals – 8:10 p.m.
All times in eastern standard.
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