At the start of play Friday night, Indians pitchers had walked 148 batters this season. Among American League teams, only Toronto (151) had walked more. Making that statistic even more distressing for the Indians is that the top two starters in their rotation both rank in the top three in the league in walks.
No. 2 starter Ubaldo Jimenez leads the league in walks and No. 1 starter Justin Masterson is tied for third in the league in walks. On Friday night, the Indians' four-game winning streak was halted with a 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins. All three of Miami's runs were scored by runners who reached base on walks.
Masterson, the Indians' starting pitcher Friday, walked three batters in seven innings, and two of the three scored. Overall, Indians pitchers walked four batters, three of them leading off an inning, two of those being the Marlins' No. 9 hitter.
Walks have plagued both Masterson and Jimenez all season. It's a big reason why the two pitchers have gotten off to such poor starts. Masterson is 1-3 with a 5.04 ERA while Jimenez is 4-3 with a 5.09 ERA.
Both pitchers have struggled to pitch deep into games, mostly because of high pitch counts. The high pitch counts are a product of the high walk totals. Jimenez has walked 32 batters in 46 innings while Masterson has now walked 29 batters in 54 innings.
Those are troubling numbers for any team's No. 1 and 2 starters. For the Indians to remain in contention this year, they are going to have to get much more production from their top two starting pitchers. In order to do that, both pitchers are going to have to drastically reduce their number of walks.
NOTES, QUOTESSantana throws out three attempted stealers
--C Carlos Santana threw out three Miami Marlins attempting to steal second base Friday. It's the first time three Marlins have been thrown out trying to steal in a single game since Aug. 25, 2006. Santana has thrown out 32 percent (8-of-25) of attempted base stealers this year. "He was outstanding, especially doing it against a team that likes to run like they do," said manager Manny Acta.
--RHP Josh Tomlin has been diagnosed with intersection syndrome in his right wrist. That's basically inflammation of the tendons in Tomlin's wrist, according to Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff. Tomlin, who has been on the disabled list since May 8, did some long tossing at 75 feet on Friday. Soloff said the next step will be a bullpen session next week, after which the Indians hope to have a better idea on a timetable for Tomlin's return.
--3B Jack Hannahan remains out of the lineup but not on the disabled list. Hannahan has missed the last five games with soreness in his lower back. Manager Manny Acta said Hannahan is making progress, but stopped short of saying Hannahan will play Saturday.
--OF Shin-Soo Choo continues to flourish in his first long-term trial as a leadoff hitter. In his first five games since being moved to the leadoff spot, Choo is hitting .364 (8-22), with three doubles, one home run, three RBI and four runs scored. His on-base percentage in the five games is .440.
--RHP Justin Masterson pitched seven innings vs. Miami Friday night, his longest outing since going 8 13 innings vs. the Angels on April 27. Masterson continues to struggle to win games, however. He has only won one of his nine starts this season and is winless at Progressive Field, despite a 2.62 ERA in five home starts.
BY THE NUMBERS: 29,378 -- The attendance Friday night at Progressive Field. That's the second-largest crowd at Progressive Field this season. The Indians came into the game averaging 14,111 per home game, the lowest average in the majors.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm thinking, 'Keep running. Thank you.' " -- RHP Justin Masterson, when asked about the Miami Marlins challenging Indians C Carlos Santana, who threw out three attempted base stealers Friday night.
ROSTER REPORTMEDICAL WATCH:
--3B Jack Hannahan (lower back stiffness) did not play May 14-18. An MRI revealed mild inflammation, and he is day-to-day. Manager Manny Acta said Hannahan is making progress, but stopped short of saying Hannahan will play May 19.
--RHP Josh Tomlin (intersection syndrome, right wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list May 12 retroactive to May 8. He did some long tossing at 75 feet on May 18. The next step will be a bullpen session.
--OF Grady Sizemore (back surgery in March 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4. He was cleared to begin baseball activities in late April and took live batting practice May 16, but manager Manny Acta said he was unlikely to be ready June 3, the first day he'll be eligible to be activated. There is no timetable for Sizemore's return.
--LHP Rafael Perez (strained left lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 26.
--RHP Carlos Carrasco (Tommy John surgery in September 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26. He might miss the entire season.