Making sense out of Monday’s Indians game

It was frustrating to watch.

It didn’t matter that I’m an Indians fan, always have been.

Didn’t matter that I was watching my team make a remarkable comeback.

No, all I could think of was the state of baseball.

Given a 9-2 lead against Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, Rangers manager Jeff Banister watched as his pitching staff– slowly– gave the game away. By the end of the sixth inning, Texas was down 12-9. The Indians scored three more runs in the seventh and won the game — which three hours earlier most Tribe fans had chalked up as a loss — by six runs, 15-9.

Rangers pitchers — there were five of them, which somehow doesn’t seem like that many — gave up 19 hits.

But that’s not what had me sympathizing with Banister.

No matter who the manager brought in Monday, only reliever Preston Claiborne seemed to have any idea where the strike zone was.

Claiborne isn’t exactly Sandy Koufax. He gave up three runs and five hits in the seventh. But in his two innings, he didn’t walk a batter. No other Ranger pitcher could make that claim.

And as bad as a 15-9 loss reads, it could have been worse.

Cole Hamels (who in fairness, was coming off an injury) began the game by walking the first two hitters.

And this was after the Rangers had given him a 4-0 lead.

The third batter of the game — the white hot Jose Ramirez — followed with a single to load the bases with nobody out.

The Indians scored just one run in that inning. It should have been worse. Hamels was not great the rest of the game either. He pitched just 4 2/3 innings and surrendered seven runs on eight hits.

The next three Rangers’ pitchers, none of whom stuck around for more than a single inning, gave up one walk each.

Overall, Texas pitching allowed seven walks.

While Rangers pitchers didn’t let the Indians put the ball in play, Rangers hitters were all or nothing. They had nine hits, four of which were homers. But they also struck out 17 times.

Meanwhile, Indians pitchers walked five batters. In the lone pace-of-play bright spot, Tribe hitters struck out just three times.

So the overall totals for the game:

20 strikeouts

12 walks

Three home runs

The game took three hours and 36 minutes.

So, 32 times Monday night, a hitter came up and did not put the ball in play.

In another disturbing stat, the Rangers have now played 35 consecutive games that have gone 2 hours and 50 minutes or longer.

I don’t doubt the effectiveness of analytics or “Moneyball.” And I can’t speak for anyone but myself.

But frankly, the game I have loved my whole life is getting sluggish.

And a big Indians win can’t erase that reality.

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