Indians, Multimedia

Bullpen and Bats save the Indians from shame in Kansas City

The Cleveland Indians (29-26) have made a habit of making things hard on themselves in 2017. The Kansas City Royals (24-31) have struggled all season, yet find themselves having won four of the last six games against the Tribe over the past two weeks. The Royals dominated the Indians hitters on Friday as left-hander Justin Vargas allowed one hit- and only one hit- in almost every inning he pitched during a shutout win, 4-0. Saturday’s game was an embarrassment best forgotten as Carlos Carrasco lost a comfortable 3-0 lead in the fifth inning as the Indians gave up six, then another five in the seventh (but only one earned in that frame).

The Indians needed something to go their way on Sunday, badly. Let’s just say that Trevor Bauer kick-started the momentum before the rain ended his day early. The bullpen came in and held onto a standard six-pitcher shutout victory, 8-0.

WFNY’s Mike Hattery has mentioned how much the Tribe has struggled with RISP in 2017, and how that was not likely to continue. Catcher Roberto Perez helped make him look smart with a two-out, run-scoring base knock.

There was much rightful consternation over Dan Robertson and his 70 OPS+ (.237/310/.342) batting second in the order on Sunday. Manager Terry Francona can gloat a bit as he went 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Not that it makes it any more intelligent of an actual decision, but it worked out for us on this day with another two-out hit.

Not everyone in the Indians lineup can have the RISP success of hitting behemoths Perez and Robertson. Jason Kipnis needed to settle for a long, long sacrifice fly to the deepest part of right field. Thankfully, there was only one out with the bases loaded, so it was enough to score another run.

Kipnis probably figured with Robertson in the two-hole that the sacrifice was enough for him. Robertson followed up with yet another two-out base hit. It was the first three RBI game for Robertson since August 5 2014 when he was a member of a Texas Rangers ballclub that destroyed the Chicago White Sox 16-0. Yes, it was a Danks-giving day game as John Danks gave up the first nine of those runs.

Oh sure, Kipnis can splash the ball in the waterfalls above the Pepsi Porch when the bases are empty. It would have been nice to have this hit when the bases were loaded earlier. Then again, Robertson wouldn’t have had a chance for three RBIs and we would have missed the Danks trivia. Things worked out just fine.

Kipnis’ season numbers are still poor from an ugly start to his year, but his .300/.367/.625 slash since moving into the lead-off role on May 14 is fantastic.

The Indians now make a rare trip to Coor’s Field where their bats will hopefully continue what they started on Sunday.