Jimenez Loses Major-League Worst 16th Game as Tribe Falls to Rangers 6-4
Cleveland Indians GM Chris Antonetti had planned his trip to Arlington, Texas well in advance, but it is highly unlikely that he expected his team to be where it is when he made those plans. None-the-less, Antonetti was at Rangers Stadium on Tuesday night to watch his last-place team limp through a 6-4 loss to the Texas Rangers, a team that is headed for postseason action yet again. For Antonetti, what he saw on Tuesday night was a ball club being led by the worst pitcher in Major-League baseball, Ubaldo Jimenez, who has won exactly one game since July 14 th, and has an MLB worst 9-16 record. This is the guy that Antonetti traded the Indians’ top two pitching prospects for last July, and he has been abysmal for the ball club since his arrival. While the fans were skeptical yet hopeful upon his arrival, they now cannot wait to cheer his departure, and for most it can’t come soon enough.
But that same statement could be said for just about anyone on the Tribe’s roster at this point, and for anyone in their front office for that matter. Most Indians fans, if there are any left, are hopeful that skipper Manny Acta will not return for the 2013 season as for all of the good that he did the team last season, this year his backseat, “wait and see” approach has resulted in the Indians going from first to worst over the course of seven weeks. The fact that the ball club is likely to finish in last place with a very rough schedule ahead of them that includes eleven more games against playoff contenders makes many in Cleveland wonder if there is a future of any kind for the ball club. With the likelihood of All-Star closer Chris Perez, right-fielder and fan-favorite Shin-Soo Choo, oft-injured veterans Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Roberto Hernandez, and other veterans such as Jack Hannahan leaving this winter via free-agency, the Indians are going to have to do a lot this winter to spark any interest in next season’s team who will open the 2013 campaign in Toronto on April 2 nd.
For now though, the Indians will have to face the music, and that music includes the likelihood of going 5-20 the rest of the way, which could put them on pace to lose 100 games for the first time this century. Part of the reason is that their starting pitching staff is just terrible, led by Jimenez who laid another egg on Tuesday night giving up four runs (only one earned) in the second inning, and allowed five overall on four hits, while striking out and walking four batters. He was facing one of the best pitchers in the league in Matt Harrison, who has a 16-9 record and allowed just two runs on five hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work. The Indians pitching now sits 29 th overall, just above the Colorado Rockies with a combined ERA of 4.84, certainly not where anyone thought they would be considering how well the staff pitched at the beginning of the season. Most would love to see Jimenez take a hike this winter; however that would leave the Indians with a rotation that looks something like this heading into next season:
Justin Masterson (11-13, 4.96)
Zach McAllister (5-7, 4.31)
Corey Kluber (1-3, 5.36)
Carlos Carrasco (0-0, 0.00) – recovering from Tommy John Surgery, has not pitched in a Major-League game this season
The fifth spot in the rotation could go to pretty much anyone at this point with Josh Tomlin likely out of the mix for next season due to injury, but candidates from within would certainly be few-and-far-between considering guys like David Huff have been hanging around for several years in the minors and still have not shown any signs that they deserve to be on the big league roster.
The other thing the Indians will need to address is hitting, as they have few if any guys on their roster that are capable of hitting anything other than line-drives on a consistent basis. They will need a designated hitter, they will need a first baseman, they will need a right fielder, they will need a left fielder, and they will need a hitting coach who can put all of the pieces together to turn what has become one of the most anemic offenses in all of baseball into one that will be able to compete with the likes of the White Sox and Tigers in the top-heavy AL Central. But none of those things are going to be addressed before the end of this horrific 2012 campaign on October 3 rd.
So for now the Indians will continue to limp along like a three-legged dog for the rest of this abysmal season and hope that when they return home to face the Tigers this weekend somebody will show up to watch them play. They are not likely to win either of their remaining games in Arlington as they will face Ryan Dempster on Wednesday night and Derek Holland on Thursday. Things won’t get any easier this weekend against Detroit, but the Indians have played fairly well against their rivals to the northwest, so they might be able to squeak a win or two out of the weekend series before taking on fellow bottom-feeders Minnesota to start next week who just handed the Tribe three losses in their four-game series last weekend.
By Robert Gonzalez