Indians Defeated 7-2 by Matt Carson and the Dodgers

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The Dodgers defeated the Indians 7-2 on Saturday at Camelback Ranch, in a game that was closer than what the final score implied. Bruce Chen filled in for starter Carlos Carrasco, who missed the game with flu-like symptoms. The Tribe managed just two runs on seven hits and four walks, while the Dodgers compiled 11 hits and two walks.

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Key Moments
Second Inning: Dodgers Get the Early Lead
After a shutout first inning, the Dodgers kept Chen on his toes, starting with a solo home run in the second inning off the bat of Scott Van Slyke. In the third inning, Los Angeles kept it up, after a pair of singles by Jimmy Rollins and Yasmani Grandal set the stage for an RBI groundout from Howie Kendrick. The Indians got a run back in the fourth inning, when Tyler Holt and Roberto Perez walked, and Erik Gonzalez hit an RBI single, but struggling pitcher Mike Adams was replaced with B.J. Rosenberg before the Tribe could do any further damage. The Dodgers immediately answered with a Joc Pederson single and an RBI double courtesy of Rollins. All in all, it was a tough game for Chen, who gave up a walk and seven hits in four innings of work.

Sixth Inning: Josh Tomlin Makes His Case
Tomlin made a strong case for a rotation spot in his return, after skipping his last outing due to shoulder soreness. He set down the side in order in the fifth, and allowed just one single in the sixth. He also induced two groundouts and struck out four, in what might have been his strongest outing in a while. The Tribe’s offense tried to take advantage of Tomlin’s success, adding a run in the top of the sixth inning. After Ryan Raburn walked and was replaced by Carlos Moncrief, a wild pitch put a runner on second for Tyler Holt. Holt singled, and Pederson made a fielding error that allowed Moncrief to come home.

Eighth Inning: Matt Carson Takes On the Tribe
It was a 3-2 game when Anthony Swarzak came on to pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the score looked much differently by the time he left. O’Koyea Dickson and Enrique Hernandez had a pair of one-out singles, and Austin Barnes walked to load the bases. Carson, who played with Swarzak in Minnesota in 2012 and spent most of the last two seasons in the Indians’ farm system, stepped to the plate. He launched a grand slam to make the score 7-2, and put the game firmly out of the Tribe’s reach.

The Positives
Jose Ramirez went 3-for-4, and Raburn had a pair of walks in three at-bats. Meanwhile, Tomlin looked like he hadn’t suffered a setback at all this week, and seems to have put the shoulder issues firmly behind him. Cody Allen made an appearance, setting the side down in order in his typical style. Allen has allowed just two hits in his three outings this spring.

The Negatives
Swarzak looked like he couldn’t locate his pitches very well, and the Dodgers took advantage of that. He finished his inning of work, but not before allowing three hits and a walk, including the grand slam to Carson. That’s not a very good way to make the team.

Reading Too Much Into It
It’s almost to the point where the Tribe will have to start eliminating rotation candidates. While there are still minor league games that the starters can appear in to stay on schedule, the Tribe is running out of time to piggy-back starts on the major league side of camp. Tomlin was making a shortened appearance due to his shoulder, but the other starters are beginning to lengthen their outings and get stretched out for the season. It’s still hard to say who will be the first to go, but so far, T.J. House, Tomlin and Zach McAllister have made the best cases for a rotation spot.

Check It Out
– Raburn was back in the lineup after a scare involving the knee he had surgically repaired over the winter. He appeared to be just fine, playing right field on Saturday after missing just one game. He injured himself against the Royals on Thursday, when one of his spikes got stuck on his way to first base.

Brandon Moss is slated to return to the lineup on Sunday, after missing time with the same flu-like symptoms that plagued Carrasco. So far this season, Moss has a pair of home runs and a triple in two games.

– The Tribe will take on the Padres at Goodyear Ballpark on Sunday afternoon, where it will be Trevor Bauer’s turn to take the ball. Bauer has allowed 10 hits and four runs in seven innings of work this spring, but has yet to walk a batter.

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