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Cleveland Indians: 3 takeaways from Tuesday’s bad loss in Chicago

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Sometimes the Cleveland Indians don’t like to play good baseball. Tuesday night was one of those times.

This was a really ugly loss on a really “off” night for the Cleveland Indians. Hopefully we won’t get many more of these outings against bad teams like the White Sox.

Unfortunately for the Indians, they’ve had a lot of these dumb losses.

The Indians came close to rallying in the ninth against the White Sox bullpen but it fell short. There isn’t much else to say outside of how bad the offense was against James Shields, so let’s get right into that!

Hey, let’s make James Shields look like a Cy Young contender

I guess Big Game James wanted to be Big Game James again. The pitcher with the 1-7 record got the best of the inconsistent Indians lineup Tuesday night. James Shields opened up the game by hitting Lindor on the first pitch. Then he started off in a 3-0 count against Michael Brantley. After that, the Tribe couldn’t get anything going against the veteran.

Shields worked seven innings, allowing four hits and just one run. Part of his success could be contributed to his low amount of walks issued. In fact, aside from the HBP to Lindor, Shields didn’t allow a walk. This is one of the ways the Tribe offense can be beaten.

The Indians score a lot of runs thanks to having men on base thanks to walks. Shields doesn’t exactly have a great K/BB ratio, but it didn’t matter. The Indians offense went just 1-9 with RISP and aside from a Lindor leadoff double, the team didn’t create many opportunities against Shields.

Plutko’s kryptonite is the White Sox

This was Adam Plutko‘s second start against the White Sox. In fact, his last start was against this team. The White Sox have since racked up 10 runs in 9.2 innings against Plutko. That’s not an ideal split to have against a team as bad as the White Sox.

Something that is plaguing Plutko is the long ball. This was a similar problem that Josh Tomlin had faced as the team’s fifth starter. Plutko had a BABIP of .180 coming into the game. That means he’s not allowing many hits on balls in play.

The problem is that BABIP doesn’t account for home runs, and Plutko’s ERA shoots up to 5.09 when you calculate the long ball. Plutko is going to have to find a way to avoid the home runs, or he may see his time as the number five starter being short-lived.

Yes, we’re going to talk about the bullpen again

It’s almost a headline itself when it comes to how the bullpen performs. In this particular game, it continued to improve. Zach McAllister had himself a hell of an outing in relief of Plutko. McAllister worked 2.1 scoreless innings with no hits and no walks. McAllister hasn’t allowed a run in June and looks like he’s finally found his rhythm. At least, it seems that way against the dismal AL Central.

As for Tyler Olson, he worked 0.2 innings walking two and retiring two. He had trouble finding the strike zone but didn’t allow a run to score. Josh Tomlin came in to get the last out. He’s had seven bullpen outings this year with a 3.68 ERA. That’s much better than the ERA he had as a starter.

All-in-all the Indians bullpen has improved, but that comes with the level of competition the Indians have faced of late. Although they deserve credit for their performance against a very good Brewers team.

Next: A roundup of all the 2018 draft picks

The Indians will look to rebound tonight with Trevor Bauer on the mound.