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Cleveland Indians: 3 takeaways from the Thursday night loss to Houston

(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians faced the Houston Astros again and the result was exactly what you expected.

This series was advertised as two of the best teams in the AL facing off for the second time in a week. This game made it feel like one of the best teams in the AL faced a scrappy .500 team from the AL Central. Why? Because that’s exactly what it was.

The Cleveland Indians have crossed the line from perennial AL powerhouse to scrappy team that loses heartbreaking games. This particular game went from heartbreaking loss to ugly blowout in a matter of two innings.

It’s important to remember that the Indians are going through a nasty slump. Unfortunately, that nasty slump has lasted almost all of May. So as nasty slumps come so do bad games. This was one of them.

Mike Clevinger got off to a strong start but ultimately ended up losing this one as the Astros scored 8 unanswered to win 8-2. Takeaway time.

Mike Clevinger is great, but he has a ways to go

I won’t try to play devil’s advocate saying Clevinger is some inexperienced kid who makes stupid mistakes. Because aside from hanging a changeup high and away for Alex Bregman, he didn’t make many mistakes.

Unfortunately, that high changeup is indicative of how his overall performance can be. A strong starter who is turning into a strikeout starter, but still has problems with control.

The pitch that lost him the game was Clevinger’s 105th pitch and it was with only one out in the sixth inning. He still threw 42 balls in this outing and had a lot of pitches fouled off. The Astros have a good lineup, it’s to be expected that they’ll make a pitcher work. Clevinger isn’t to blame for this loss, but understand that even as a starter he is still developing.

Sour Melky

Melky Cabrera has already had an up and down start since joining the Indians roster on Sunday. Today was a bit of a down for him. Melky went 1-4 with a strikeout tonight bringing his batting average to a lousy .143 with one RBI this week.

He may be a victim of the Indians slump but some has been self inflicted. Tonight Melky attempted to leg out a double after his dribbler snuck through the infield but he was quickly gunned down by George Springer and was easily tagged out at second.

Melky also found himself worked into a full count in his first at-bat. It was almost painful to watch him foul off five straight pitches, three of which in the same spot.

The Indians can’t get away from .500

It’s been a long month of may for the Cleveland Indians. In fact it’s been a long average season for the Indians. The team is middle of the pack in almost every major pitching category as the bad weight of the bullpen balances out the strong weight of the rotation.

They hit for power but not for efficiency. The Indians sit near the top of the league in home runs and slugging but are in the middle to lower half of the league in batting average and RBIs.

Next: Outfield depth being tested right now

Simply put the Indians are middling. They are 24-24 and are 5-5 in their last ten. The Indians are also 13-10 at home and 11-14 on the road. The Tribe have been mediocre and there’s no other way to put it. As we draw closer and closer to the halfway mark, it will loom even larger if the Indians can’t improve above .500.