Indians Zeroing In On Nothing Special
Jason Dubois grounds out in his 1st Tribe at-bat.
Jason Dubois grounds out in his 1st Tribe at-bat.
Indians Ink
Posted Jul 20, 2005


Mark Shapiro might be forced to get something for Kevin Millwood simply because the Indians' offense can't get the right-hander a thing. Millwood lost again as the Tribe was shut out by Zack Greinke and the Kansas City Royals, 4-0.

That made it 10 losses in 12 games and three shutouts in six games for the rapidly fading Indians.

Millwood, ever the warrior, didn't complain. "We've still got a chance at the wild card," he said.

If the losses keep mounting, that chance and Millwood's time in Cleveland will both be over.

Should the hitters keep failing to make the proper adjustments, Shapiro will be forced to adjust and change his plan of attack -- from being bullish in the trade market in an attempt to acquire veteran talent for a stretch run to unloading veterans in an attempt to bring in young prospects to fortify the team for next year.

Millwood (3-9) again didn't get any run support. Of the seven times the Indians have been shut out this season, three have come in the right-hander' last four starts.

"It's not something I can control," said Millwood. "I probably deserved the loss. I put myself into too many jams. I got out of some but I didn't pitch very well."

Millwood also said he doesn't put stock into trade rumors because that also is something over which he has no control.

But it would be shocking to see Shapiro hang on to Millwood, who becomes a free agent after the season -- and not get some value in return. The exchange of outfielders Monday night in which Cleveland acquired Jason Dubois from the Chicago Cubs for Jody Gerut hints that the Indians are seeking potential rather than present production.

Dubois went 0-for-3 and struck out twice in his debut for Cleveland.

Manager Eric Wedge admitted the offensive inefficiency is getting to him. "What frustrates me the most is guys doing the same thing time after time. It drives me crazy.

"We have to start making adjustments. Guys have a plan when they go to the plate, but they don't stick to it. They are not being aggressive and getting after it."

Millwood also was victimized by some less-than exemplary defense, too. Coco Crisp dropped a ball in left field in the second inning and Emil Brown followed with a two-run homer. The Royals scored twice more in the seventh, though once again only one of the runs was earned due to an error by third baseman Aaron Boone.

Cleveland played its third straight game without designated hitter Travis Hafner, who said he still is experiencing some light dizzy spells when he does some physical activity. He was hit in the face by a pitch thrown by Chicago's Mark Buehrle on Saturday.

MINOR MATTERS

CLASS AAA BUFFALO (55-42)
won at Columbus, 11-6, as Jake Gautreau (.278) hit a three-run homer, his 17th. Jason Cooper (.243) hit a two-run homer, his sixth, and Jeff Liefer (.318) hit his 18th, a solo shot. Mike Kinkade (.277) and Jose Morban (.314) had two hits apiece for the Bisons. Jason Davis (5-2, 4.86 ERA) gave up three runs over five innings. Jose Diaz (3.86 ERA) worked two scoreless, Francisco Cruceta (5.19 ERA) gave up two runs in one inning and Chris Cooper, in his first game since being promoted from Akron, allowed one run, one walk and two hits in the ninth -- though he did strike out the side.

CLASS AA AKRON (52-43) lost at New Hampshire, 3-2. Brad Snyder (.280) hit his sixth homer, a solo shot, and had two hits. Eider Torres (.251) also had two hits and the Aeros' other RBI. Ron Bay (1-2, 3.93 ERA) gave up three runs over 5 1/3 innings. Victor Kleine (3.30 ERA) struck out three over two perfect innings.

CLASS A KINSTON (10-14) fell at home to Frederick, 5-1, though Caleb Brock (.245), Nate Panther (.247) and Rodney Choy Foo (.286) all had two hits. Nick Pesco (6-8, 3.90 ERA) gave up three unearned runs over 5 1/3 innings and three relievers finished up.

CLASS A LAKE COUNTY (10-14) lost at Delmarva, 4-1, though the Captains outhit the Shorebirds, 7-4. Brian Finegan (.292) went 2-for-4. Cody Bunkelman (2-4, 4.61 ERA) had a no-hitter for five innings. He walked two in the sixth and yielded a two-run double before getting three more outs. He walked four and struck out three in six innings overall. Jesus Soto worked one scoreless inning and Kieran Mattison (2.87 ERA) had a rare shaky outing, giving up two runs in one inning.

CLASS A MAHONING VALLEY (14-14) lost at Hudson Valley, 7-2. Jeff Lytle (.236) went 3-for-4 and Mike Woodson (.182) singled home both of the Scrappers' runs. Starter Justin Pekarek (1.93 ERA) got all of his outs on strikeouts -- allowing one hit and one walk while striking out nine over three innings. Jose Amaya (1-2, 4.97 ERA) then gave up five runs in just tw-thirds of an inning, but only one run was earned. Tom Cowley (4.06 ERA) then got six strikeouts over 3 1/3 hitless innings before Nelson Hiraldo yielded two runs in one inning.

ROOKIE LEAGUE BURLINGTON (11-15) had a doubleheader against Bluefield postponed by rain. One game was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday and the other game will be made up at a later date.


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