Royals 7 Indians 2: Defense does Tribe in

Ryan RaburnThis one started out poorly, ended poorly, and was played poorly in the middle. Lets just say it was not a banner evening for your Cleveland Indians.

For the second time this week, the Wahoos had a chance to get into the lead for the second Wild Card spot with a win. They started the night a half game behind both Texas and Tampa Bay. The rookie Danny Salazar got the ball from manager Terry Francona, who knew that at some point earlier than he would like, his bullpen would come into play with Salazar still on a strict pitch count.

It didn’t look as if Danny would be long for this game in the first inning. After retiring the first two Royals on groundouts, Eric Hosmer singled. Billy Butler, a thorn in the Tribe’s side all series, followed with a walk, sending Salvador Perez to the plate. The KC catcher who to me looks like Victor Martinez version 2.o, laced a double to the wall in left. Michael Brantley fired into shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera who had Butler dead to rights at home. However, Cabrera’s throw short hopped catcher Yan Gomes who couldn’t make the scoop and tag for what would have been the third out. Another in a long line of bad defensive plays Asdrubal has made this season. It is not a tough throw and Cabrera couldn’t even hit Gomes on the fly.

Perez advanced to third and then came home on a Salazar wild pitch. Instead of exiting the first trailing just 1-0, the Tribe now had to climb out of a three-run hole.

In the third they got right back into the game. Facing lefty Bruce Chen, Gomes led off with a bloop single and scored on Michael Brantley’s double, aided by an error from centerfielder Jarrod Dyson. Mike Aviles sacrificed Brantley over to third and Michael Bourn scored him on a sac fly. At 3-2, the Tribe was back in business.

Salazar kept the Royals at bay until the fifth, when again the defense failed him. Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon hit a pair of one-out singles to put runners on the corners. Gordon would take off for second in a steal attempt. Yan Gomes paused before making a throw and eventually caught Gordon in a run down. The play started out well for the Indians as Nick Swisher saw Escobar off the bag at third and fired across the diamond to Aviles, who now had Escobar in a rundown. Aviles threw to Gomes who for some reason was trying to see what Gordon was doing and failed to tag Escobar, who went to the ground to avoid the tag. He slipped through and would score a run.

“I kind of peeked to see if Gordon was going to third base,” Gomes said. “It was a pretty disappointing play on my part. It kind of turned out to be a pretty [big] momentum play for them, so it was kind of tough to swallow.”

So if you are scoring at home, that is three Royals runs that should not have scored had the Indians made the easy defensive plays that they should have.

Offensively it was a struggle as well. Now trailing 4-2 in the sixth, the Indians had their big chance. Bourn singled and Swisher walked to open the frame, chasing Chen from the game. Royals manager Ned Yost called on lefty Francisley Bueno to face the struggling Jason Kipnis. Kipnis would lay down a sacrifice bunt, moving the runners up. The Indians now had two chances to bring the tying runs in. Carlos Santana had the first shot and for some reason, he swung at the first pitch and weakly grounded to third. Bueno was replaced by Louis Coleman with Ryan Raburn due up. He has come up big so many times this year, but in this spot, Raburn flew out to right field.

That would be the last we would hear from the bats.

The Royals would tack on three insurance runs in the eighth against a bevy of extended roster relievers. C.C. Lee came on first. Butler hit an infield single to short which Cabrera never seemed to get a good grip on. Perez followed by sending a lazy fly ball to right which Raburn proceeded to drop. He had pinch runner Chris Getz nailed at second, but his throw was way off line. The flood gates now opened. Nick Hagadone came on to face the lefty Mike Moustakas, who sacrificed Getz and Perez into scoring position. Lorenzo Cain was intentionally walked to load the bases for Dyson. It was a curious move considering Hagadone’s propensity for wildness. He worked the count full before walking. At 5-2, Francona called on Carlos Carrasco to stop the bleeding, but it didn’t work as Escobar singled home two more Royals.

It was all over but the shouting at that point.

Salazar took the loss, but pitched six strong innings, throwing 82 pitches. He was charged with four earned runs, but he deserved a better fate; the defense behind him was brutal.

“We had chances,” Francona said. “We just didn’t make enough plays. We had some plays that we probably need to make in a game like that, and we didn’t do it.”

The bottom line here is that the Indians may have lost two of three in KC, but they didn’t lose any ground in the Wild Card standings. They still sit a half game back of Texas for the second spot and now get start their final 10 games of the season against the AL’s three worst teams.

“We can’t take any teams lightly,” Gomes said. “We’ve got to be able to come out and play a good series against Houston. Then, we’ve got Chicago again. We need to finish the year good so we have a chance to play in the postseason.”

Things get started tonight. Come out and support this team. They are so close. They deserve big crowds this weekend. We are fighting for our playoff lives here while the team down at the lake front that gets the blind loyalty from everyone just cashed in another season three weeks in. Channel your energies and focus to the right place – the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.

Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.49 ERA), the Tribe’s hottest pitcher, gets the start and will look to get the Tribe back to its winning ways. He will face off with lefty Dallas Keuchel (6-9, 5.27 ERA). Houston comes in losers of five in a row, including last night’s 6-5, 13 inning loss to Cincinnati where they used five relievers. It was their 101st loss of the season.

  • boomhauertjs

    I’m guessing they’ll get about 20,000 fans tonight, but over 30,000 on Friday. Saturday will probably depend on how tonight and tomorrow go…

  • I know they’re not going to the playoffs. You know they’re not going to the playoffs. This team is fantastic at not getting over the hump. These losses to the Astros this weekend are going to be BRU-TAL. We all are well aware of this. Team had its chance last night. Failed. Again.

    Can’t wait until the season is over.

  • 240

    Can we have a discussion about how idiotic it is to bunt your #3 hitter when you are down 2 runs in the 6th inning? A bunt and sac fly combo and you’re still down 1 run. Even in the 9th inning this is idiotic because you are just taking the bat out of Santana’s hand. Does run expectancy even matter? Why do managers constantly put the team in situations to score less runs.

  • mgbode

    yesterday it was:
    “They proved me wrong last night. Absolutely incredible, meaningful win.”

    as a wise man once said to Rube: “Settle down, there’s 162 of these things”

  • mgbode

    I don’t like the bunt unless it’s for the tie or the win.

  • mgbode

    Well, Banner just put a ton of pressure on the Indians. Our collective sports’ sanity rests on the Tribe taking our minds off of the Browns as much as possible these next few weeks. Let’s make the playoffs, win that play-in game, and take down Boston. That’d be enough to get me over this Richardson trade a bit 🙂

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    nj0 you lied to me yesterday you said the Indians crush soft tossing lefties!!!

  • I normally agree but with our No. 3 hitter – the currently worthless Jason Kipnis – I didn’t mind the move.

  • 5KMD

    They’ve put themselves in a very good position but it could have been so much easier ahad they split the last two series with the Royals instead of going 2-6. Now they have to win the next three series and it is hard to keep that sense of doom from rising up.
    Would be great to win the first 3 against the stros and go from there.
    Didn’t Taylor say that to Vaughn in the first movie when he was flipping the ball? Not Rube int he second movie.

  • mgbode

    2-4 vs. Royals last 2 series, but I agree.

    and, dangit, you are correct. thought he had said it to Rube. complete fail by me. also, had the wording slightly off:

    “Take it easy. We got 162 of these to go.”

  • CB Everett

    I agree–the Hagadone move was a head scratcher (why that mouthbreather is even on this roster is a puzzle to me though). Putting Carrasco in there signaled it was over. Sal’s pitch count aside, in general, I think Tito has been overmanaging his pitchers a bit. Just because you have the expanded roster doesn’t mean you have to give every guy in your pen action. Marc Rzq*$epczy4nzskz#i should be the only situational lefty you really need. Rich Hill in emergency.

  • YeahImFromOhio

    Dunno about crush, but the Indians should have been up 2-1 on the soft tossing lefty when it went to the bullpens. They gifted the Royals three runs.

    This doesn’t change anything in my mind. They’re still making the playoffs with 90 wins.

  • TSR3000

    This Hamsterdam guy is a such a debbie downer.

  • TSR3000

    I have no problem moving 2 guys into scoring position with 1 out and your #4 hitter coming up. That being said, Santana’s AB was a pathetic, depressing joke.

  • TSR3000

    Tall order. I would be happy with a postseason appearance.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Hamsterdam is just trying to cover every angle that’s all. Thank goodness he wasn’t on here all season huh?

  • TSR3000

    A lot of people on here said we only needed to win 1/3 at KC. So…..mission accomplished.

    0.5 back with 4 games at home against Houston. There is no excuse if we don’t get in.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I think it’s the Browns who are destroying the Cleveland fan and it was the Indians who paid the price. Until hopefully yesterday. Lets hope this was finally the straw that broke the camels back and Clevelanders realize that yes, the Indians have a legitimate shot at the playoffs.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    No he clearly typed crush and I expect him to man up and show himself and answer for his crime!!! 😉

  • Jason Hurley

    Jason Kipnis – what have you done for me lately?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If mgbode’s Astros cost the Indians I say we sacrifice him – what say you all?

  • I am a negative fan. No doubt about that. But … you know who else is a Debbie Downer? The Indians. Everytime they have a chance to do something, they fail. EVERY TIME. 14-30 on road against .500 teams. I’ve watched this team religiously for almost 30 years. I saw them in 2005. I saw them in the 2007 ALCS. I saw them in August 2011 and 2012. This is who they are. This is what they do.

  • 0-11 in biggest series of the year. But he always has great NFL-related tweets. So there’s that.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Hey even I don’t expect them to win even if they somehow manage to make it but they are relevant which in Cleveland makes them a winner automatically. If Francona wasn’t here I wouldn’t care.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Kippy is definitely struggling he needs a day off.

  • Again, the lack of defensive play/focus is maddening. I’ve not seen a team look so solid one night and look like total garbage the next. They need to tighten things up if a) they want to not let this playoff spot slip away b) win the wildcard playoff.

  • ToxicToast

    I watched the Tampa Bay vs. Texas game last night starting around the bottom of the 8th of Cleveland vs. KC. While those two teams didn’t exactly commit the egregious blunders our guys did, they didn’t look like world beaters either by any means. It helped me to take a step back from the ledge after seeing that. The Royals are on one of their signature hot streaks and there’s no shame in losing 2/3 in KC (minus the terrible plays in the field). We’re going to be ok.

  • mgbode

    hey, he cares about the Tribe.

  • mgbode

    I can’t even watch the Astros anymore. Actually, that reminds me that I somehow have to figure out a way to see these games.

  • mgbode

    because we typically do crush LHP:,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=9,d

    we are the best team in MLB against LHP. highest OBP, highest SLG, which obviously means we have the highest OPS.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You see how he’s noticeably absent the coward!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    What’s your # I’ll call you and give you a play by play? You can put it on the booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooard, yes!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    But seriously if the ‘stros do anything but rollover and lose it’s curtains 4u. Can u say b-b-q ‘bode?

  • mgbode

    and we’re facing one of my favorite guys tonight in Keuchel.

    I suspect the Tribe won’t have much of an issue with the 4A roster that the ‘Stros are throwing out there. Just better be careful with that Villar guy. He can move.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Kipnis is in surprisingly no Raburn which is odd.

    Bourn, Swisher, Kip, Santana, Gomes, ACab, Brantley, Aviles and Stubby

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I picked up Villar 2x the past week and he hasn’t stolen me a single base. Watch tonight against Gomes when I don’t have him he will. If he does this is your fault too!

  • mgbode

    well, you can thank Brandon Phillip’s butt for the lack of SB.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The infamous butt tag!!!!