The Indians are no longer in despair as they wrap up perhaps the worst month of baseball of the century.
Now, they look angry, at themselves, the umpires, their opponents and maybe even just bad luck.
It showed early, when Asdrubal Cabrera was rung up on a full count curveball well outside the strike zone. Not only was he called out, but also thrown out of the game
But for Tribe fans, that fire is a welcome sign for a stronger, more resilient attitude.
Either way, it was not enough to defeat Oakland on Wednesday night, dropping the third straight game of the series 8-4 in a game they seemed fit to win.
Indians offense finally comes through
Following Cabrera’s ejection, the two teams were scoreless into the third until Jason Donald drove a home run out to right field as the Indians took the lead.
Ezequiel Carrera followed with his third triple of the season and was brought home on Jason Kipnis’ groundout.
But in what has been dubbed “The Collapse,” the Indians can never have it so simple. If they don’t score, the other team scores one or two. And if the Indians score four, the other team scores five.
The slight offense could not bail out the Tribe fully, especially after Josh Donaldson hit a home run near an Indians merchandise stand.
Nobody was in line.
Before the Indians could score again, Oakland had gotten another run off of starter Cody Kluber, who despite pitching in and out of trouble turned in a quality start of six innings and three earned runs.
Oakland pulls ahead to stay
Two more runs came in the seventh following a pair of two-out RBI hits by Seth Smith and Chris Carter.
Faced with a 6-2 hole, the Indians put the first three men on in the eighth inning with the bottom of the order coming up.
Brent Lillibridge brought the deficit to three with a sacrifice fly, and Casey Kotchman brought home another run on a fielder’s choice.
That was the closest they would get, with Oakland pounding out three more hits, bringing their total to 15 on the night.
Seven different batters had doubles for the Athletics, and all but one Oakland starter had at least one hit.
And even more telling: the Indians went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, bringing their home stand mark to 2-46. Two hits in 46 chances with a runner at second and third is a difficult way to win ballgames, make people want to buy your jerseys or get people to show up at all.
Which, as front office staff may be learning, is evident itself: on the last Wednesday of the first half, the Indians drew 20,979 fans to see the Tribe defeat the Angels 12-3 and put their record at four games above .500.
Last night, the Indians drew 14,412, their most of the Athletics series thus far, and the record fell to a season worst 20 games under as the Tribe lost their fourth in a row.
- The Tribe designated OF Shelley Duncan for assignment. Duncan was batting .203 with 11 home runs in 81 games this season.
- Cleveland brought up RHP Jeanmar Gomez to replace Duncan.
AL Central Scores for August 29, 2012
Chicago White Sox @ Baltimore Orioles: 8-1
Oakland Athletics @ Cleveland Indians: 8-4
Detroit Tigers @ Kansas City Royals: 1-0
Seattle Mariners @ Minnesota Twins: 10-0
AL Central Standings for August 30, 2012
Chicago White Sox:..72-57….0 games back
Detroit Tigers:……….69-60….3.0 games back
Kansas City Royals:.58-71….14.0 games back
Cleveland Indians…..55-75….17.5 games back
Minnesota Twins:……53-77….19.5 games back
AL Central Schedule for August 30, 2012
Oakland Athletics @ Cleveland Indians: 12:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox @ Baltimore Orioles: 12:35 p.m.
Seattle Mariners @ Minnesota Twins: 1:10 p.m.
Detroit Tigers @ Kansas City Royals: 8:10 p.m.
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Will the Indians finally get a game against the A’s this afternoon? Leave your thoughts below in the comment section!