Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/20/14
The Indians are making a habit of giving away games they shouldn’t lately. It’s becoming all too costly in the race for the AL Central title. Mental lapses happen from time to time, but they certainly can’t arrive in the ninth inning with the score tied. And I am not just talking about the players on the field. On Tuesday morning, I took manager Terry Francona to task a bit regarding some questionable in game decisions in the late innings of a 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Last night, he was at it again. Tito deserves all the credit in the world for the culture change surrounding this club. But if he is going to get the praise, he also needs to be questioned when things he does/doesn’t do affect the game negatively. It shouldn’t have come to this, really. During the first two innings of the 5-4 loss, the Indians offense peppered their former teammate Esmil Rogers. Michael Bourn and Asdubal Cabrera opened the game with back to back singles against the newly converted Blue Jays starter. Neither would score as Jason Kipnis grounded into a double play and Nick Swisher struck out. The second inning started with back to back walks to Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana and an RBI single from Jason Giambi. A big inning was supposed to be in the cards with runners on the corners and nobody out, but it never happened. Lonnie Chisenhall flied out to shallow right, Drew Stubbs struck out, and Bourn grounded out. It was that this time where I turned to my son and said “you can’t let this guy off the hook, this will come back to haunt us later.” Sure enough, Rogers began blanking the Tribe from that point forward. He would pitch six innings, allowing just that lone run on four hits. Tribe starter Justin Masterson was putting a runner on base each inning, mostly via the walk, but like Ubaldo Jimenez a night before, he kept working out of jams. Into the seventh inning, the Tribe was clinging to that 1-0 lead. With a tired bullpen in need of a rest, Tito sent out Masterson for another inning. He gave up a one out double to Adam Lind, but recovered to get Colby Rasmus on a ground out. When he walked Maicer Izturis – his fourth of the game – it was obvious Masterson had run out of gas. But Francona wanted him to get that last out. When he walked backup catcher Josh Thole to load the bases, Masterson had to be done, right? Nope. I truly couldn’t believe Tito let his starter stay in the game to face Emilio Bonafacio. All he had warming in the pen was rookie Preston Guilmet, who had yet to throw a Major League pitch. He decided to stick with Masterson. Naturally, Bonafacio, a .028 hitter, singled in two to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. “He didn’t command all night,” Francona said. “We had several walks. But his two-seamer, it was so violent that it was almost hard to keep it in the zone at times. That’s a good thing because they can’t hit it. But, there was a lot of base runners for a good amount of hits.” If that was the case, then why leave him out there so long? Guilmet came on to strike out Muninori Kawasaki to end the inning. The offense still had three more chances to tie things. They did so in the bottom of the eighth. Facing All-Star lefty Brett Cecil, Bourn singled and stole second base. After Cabrera struck out, Kipnis grounded out, moving Bourn to third. Swisher then worked a walk, bringing the most clutch Indian of them all, Michael Brantley, to the plate. Dr. Smooth’s sharp liner got past shortstop Jose Reyes to tie the game. Santana followed with a single to left, but it was hit so hard, Swisher had to be held at third. With a lefty on the mound, Ryan Raburn was called to pinch hit for Giambi. Toronto manager John Gibbons countered with righty Neil Wagner, a former Tribe farmhand. Raburn would strike out. With the scored tied at two in the ninth, Francona called for Rich Hill, one of his fresh arms. He recorded two outs, but walked Colby Rasmus. Pinch hitter J.P. Arencibia was brought out of the dugout for to replace Thole. Francona had two righties warming: Bryan Shaw, who faced four batters the night before, and Joe Smith, who had worked the previous three games. He called on Smitty to work his fourth straight game. Arencibia took Smith’s first pitch to left for a single. He previously was 0-4 with three K’s against Smith in his career. Smith clearly didn’t look right as he couldn’t find the zone and walked Bonafacio to load the bases. Shaw was ready, but Tito stuck with Smith, who shouldn’t have been pitching at all. The sidewinder got ahead of Kawasaki 1-2, but left one over the middle of the plate which the Jays rookie took into left-center. It broke an 0-18 slump. Two runs would score, but Bourn misplayed the ball off his glove and hurried a throw towards second. The speedy Bonafacio ran hard the entire way and scored from first as Kipnis’s throw home was off line. “I said I was good,” said Smith of his performance. “I felt all right, but I wasn’t good. That was far from that, that’s for sure.”   The blunder proved extremely costly. Trailing 5-2 potentially instead of 4-2, the Tribe attempted the miracle comeback against Jays closer Casey Janssen. With two out, Bourn singled and advanced to second on catcher’s indifference. Cabrera singled him in to bring the trying run to the plate. Kipnis then walked with Cabrera on third, twice more advancing without a throw. Swisher stepped to the plate as the winning run. He hit a ground ball to Kawasaki at second. The game should have been over there, but he rushed the throw, which got past Lind at first base, allowing Cabrera to score. Kipnis made it to third. The next man up was the guy who the Tribe wanted in this spot, Brantley. Gibbons had seen enough of Janssen and called on ace set up man Steve Delabar. Brantley got a first pitch fastball that he liked, but flew out to center to end the game. This was a frustrating loss to say the least for the Indians, who fall to three and a half games back of the first place Tigers, who won last night 8-5 over the Chicago White Sox. Today’s rubber match will feature the Major League Debut of the Indians right-hander Danny Salazar. The strikeout machine has been mostly a five inning pitcher in his starts for Columbus, so it should be interesting to see how he is handled should he do well against Toronto. The Jays counter with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (8-9, 4.77 ERA), who they beat on Opening Day in Toronto. (photo via Scott Shaw/PD)
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Love injury a powerful argument for playoff reform

Jon Jones wanted for questioning in hit and run

Pitcher throws perfect game with 23 strikeouts, still loses

Will LaMarcus Aldridge leave the Portland Trailblazers?

Wizards sweep listless Raptors

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clippers defeat Spurs, even series at 2-2

JR Smith 'nervous as hell' about possible suspension

Dana White: No more WWE for Ronda Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk for 'bush league' play

Report: Eli Manning not concerned about contract

Several teams interested in Bucs' No. 1 overall pick?

Greg Hardy faces teammate, Cowboys locker room leak

Top 10 storylines for the 2015 NFL Draft

Paul Pierce burns Raptors fans with epic troll job

Yes, ESPN2 is airing video games

WATCH: Former NBA’er Darko Milicic is enjoying life

WATCH: Alex Gordon leaps into stands for incredible catch

WATCH: JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder in face

WATCH: Kevin Love leaves Game 4 with shoulder injury

Joe Flacco content with current Ravens receivers

WATCH: Demetrious Johnson wins with last-second submission

WATCH: Jerryd Bayless beats Bulls with buzzer-beater

John Legend catches Belichick checking out Chrissy Teigen

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 storylines for the 2015 NFL Draft

Paul Pierce trolls Raptors fans

Yes, ESPN2 is airing video games

Darko Milicic is enjoying life

Pitcher throws perfect game, still loses

Will Aldridge leave the Blazers?

Alex Gordon leaps into stands for catch

Dana White: No more WWE for Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk

JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder

Report: Wainwright likely done for year

UAB player brings helmet to graduation

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.