Adversity mounts for Cleveland as losing streak reaches 7 games

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Here are four exit thoughts after a 9-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, which dropped Cleveland’s record to 42-40.

Cleveland’s losing streak stretches to seven games with one loss on foot

Cleveland is in the midst of the most dangerous part of the season yet. The Mission Impossible-level task given to a small team and decimated pitching staff over the past few weeks had, by all accounts, gone well given the dire circumstances. Cleveland a week ago was only two games away from first place with several key losses to the roster and a young rotation started on short notice.

Cleveland’s goal: to put it all back together, keep the team’s collective head above water until at least the All-Star break, when at least half the cavalry could arrive and the other half could come out. will be closer to reactivation. The schedule at the start of this injury-laden streak offered challenges in its volume (30 games in 31 games) but for a time gave Cleveland a break as it featured a string of lighter or rebuilding opponents. . That was interrupted when the Houston Astros arrived in town a day after Cleveland abandoned both games of a double-deck against the rebuilding Detroit Tigers.

Fast forward to Monday in Tampa, and Cleveland were looking to end a six-game losing streak that had brought the Central American League’s deficit to six games. It looked like it was about to come to fruition in the following way, a momentous victory to potentially change momentum and turn things around. Then he collapsed in the ninth. The Rays, entering the inning 8-7 behind, had three straight singles to tie and, with goals loaded from an intentional march, won it over the withdrawal of Yandy Diaz when Cesar Hernandez was unable to complete the toss for home plate. And it was there: No.7 back-to-back loss despite a significant kickback that at one point turned a 5-1 deficit into an 8-5 lead in the span of two innings.

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Cleveland has done well to withstand a slip back at this point given the young and injury-laden roster. But with a tougher schedule and seven straight losses bringing the record close to 0.500, the club also know they have to push.

“Yeah, it’s a hard way to play, a hard way to win. It’s always, as we found out, a hard way to lose. It hurts,” manager Terry Francona said during a Zoom call. “But that’s one of the things I admire about our guys. It’s definitely not perfect, and I know that, but they keep playing. You learn a lot about people through adversity. And it’s a tough stage for us. But no one is running and hiding. The guys take the ball. We’re going to do it together. If we can get into this jam together, we’re going to find out together. “

Zach Plesac will start Thursday’s game, giving the rotation some depth

Slowly help began to arrive. Franmil Reyes and Roberto Perez have returned in recent days in training. Zach Plesac, while not fully lying, is expected to kick off Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Royals. After the All-Star hiatus, he might be closer to his full workload. Shane Bieber (shoulder) might take about a week and a half before throwing a baseball, although his schedule remains murky and depends on how he progresses each day. Aaron Civale started throwing from 45 feet, according to Francona, so he and Bieber aren’t too close to coming back just yet. The last few weeks have largely been about closing the gap to the point where the roster may be closer to full strength. There had been no decline until last week.

“There are a lot of games left, and as I say and always tell you guys, I have a lot of confidence in my team,” said Franmil Reyes, who led five points and hit a homer in the loss. of Monday, said during a Zoom call. “It’s going to happen. Even the best baseball teams lose. And I know we’re going to compete and come back and win a lot of games too.”

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As for Reyes, it was mainly his bat that was behind Cleveland’s comeback in the fifth and sixth innings. Reyes first hit a laser from a two-point home run at center field that had an exit speed of 111 mph and a launch angle of 20 degrees, only the fourth time in his career he hit a homer 20 degrees or less. Francona was encouraged by the fact that Reyes’ timing already appears to be right despite being away for several weeks.

“One is good to have him back,” Francona said. “It’s also good not to have him back just in name. He’s obviously worked hard enough to prepare, because his timing looks really good. He missed a pitch his last at bat, I know – when he’s a threat like that, that’s really good for us. “

Logan Allen done by the grand slam, bad command

Logan Allen seemed to be dancing around trouble. Then everything found him at once. As of Monday night’s game, Allen struggled to find his command, but hadn’t paid the price yet until Brandon Lowe made his way to the plate with the bases loaded. That’s when Allen left a fastball in the middle of the plate and Lowe crushed it for a grand slam.

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Allen’s ERA continued to sit around one inning per inning – he’s now 9.13 – because he failed to find the same kind of success as this spring when he went. imposed in the rotation of the opening day. Cleveland has remained high on him as a prospect since acquiring San Diego, sometimes viewing him as a work in progress, which wasn’t meant to be negative. Under better circumstances, Allen would likely have time in Triple-A to work on his mechanics like Triston McKenzie has been doing in recent weeks. As Francona noted, Allen’s order was cut short and his change wasn’t where he wanted it, leaving his repertoire understaffed and Allen searching for answers.

“One, the lack of fastpitch control. By his own admission, he’s struggling with his change, getting them out of his fastpitch slider,” Francona said. “They had the bases loaded and the land towards Lowe was right in the middle. He just wasn’t in command very well.”

Ryan Lewis can be contacted at [email protected] Learn more about Indians at www.beaconjournal.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.

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