June 30, 2016

Partly cloudy

Tribe tanks late

Staff Writer
CLEVELAND – Nothing says anemic like the Indians offense these days. Pitiful, feeble, awful, dreadful and atrocious also fit the description.
Another night at Progressive Field brought another listless performance from Cleveland’s hitters, who flailed away at a different pitching staff Tuesday —Seattle’s — paving the way for a 7-2 loss.
Coupled with two straight defeats to the Yankees in the final two games of a four-game set, the Indians have lost three straight after posting a season-high five-game winning streak.
Over the span, Cleveland’s offense, which entered the game ranked second-to-last in the American League, has scored a miniscule four runs. The Indians have scored two or less runs in four of their last six games.
“It wasn’t a very good night,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We’re just way too inconsistent with our at-bats. Grady (Sizemore) and (David) Dellucci were real good up top, but we didn’t have a whole lot else going on.”
Sizemore and Dellucci, the top two hitters in Cleveland’s lineup, combined for half of their team’s eight hits, with Sizemore, who returned after missing two games with a sprained right ankle, scoring both runs.
Of the Indians’ 13 position players, seven of them are batting .237 or lower.
Even with the sorry run production, the Indians were in the game through the first eight innings before the Mariners broke a 2-all tie and the game open with five runs in the ninth – three off closer Rafael Betancourt.
Betancourt allowed singles to the first two batters he faced before a three-run home run from Adrian Beltre put Seattle in front to stay.
“Betancourt’s been good for so long. You’re going to have off days,” Wedge said of his former setup man, who has taken over the closer job for an injured Joe Borowski.
It’s been an off season for Cleveland’s hitters, which had a bit of an excuse in their most recent debacle, facing Carlos Silva, a right-hander that entered his sixth start at 3-0 with a 2.83 ERA.
Silva ensured the Indians’ futility would continue, allowing a run in the first before pitching six straight scoreless innings on four hits. He allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings.
Seattle’s bullpen also did a number on Cleveland hitters, shutting them out on one hit over the final two innings.
“It’s just part of baseball,” said designated hitter Travis Hafner, whose slow start continued with an 0-for-4 effort (one RBI) that dropped his season average to .210 (21-for-100). “You hate to waste the starting pitching performances like we’ve been getting, but we’ll get this thing turned around.”
Though he allowed the same amount of runs, Silva outshined Indians starter Fausto Carmona, who pitched well enough to win the game, but was far from dominant, with his season-long control problems on display again.
Carmona allowed just one unearned run on eight hits, but lasted just 6 2/3 innings, thanks to a mounting pitch count that was inflated by four walks and a 27-pitch first inning. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA through six starts, but has walked 26 batters over 34 2/3 innings.
“He was still a little erratic,” Wedge said. “He still needs to be more consistent with his command, but when your starting pitcher gives up two runs, those are games you need to win.”
Seattle’s first run came in the third inning and was unearned thanks to an error on second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera on a routine ground ball with two outs that preceded two straight hits for the Mariners. It was Cabrera’s first error of the season, snapping his errorless streak at 46 games, dating back to last year.
Both of Carmona’s runs scored with two outs.
“That’s frustrating,” Carmona said through interpreter and first base coach Luis Rivera.
What about the lack of support from his offense?
“That doesn’t bother me,” Carmona said. “I know my job is to give the team a chance to win the game. That’s the only thing I can do on the mound.”
If only he could hit.
Assenheimer may be reached at cassenheimer@chroniclet.com or 440-329-7137.

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