Duffy, Royals blank cold Tribe offense, 2-0
Indians win suspended contest, but fall in a winnable second game
CLEVELAND—You can’t win if you can’t score.
Or can you?
At least for one game on Monday, the Indians did just that.
Making up the suspended game with the Royals originally played at Kaufmann Stadium back on August 31, the Tribe edged their division rivals for a 4-3 win. Needing just three outs in the bottom of the tenth inning, Kansas City squeezed a run across against Scott Atchison, but held on to secure the one run victory.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done since in baseball since going to Japan,” manager Terry Francona said. “I didn’t really handle it really well and a lot of the guys said the same thing. It’s just too quick to get your heart rate up that fast. It’s a weird feeling.”
However, it was Monday’s regularly scheduled game with K.C. that left a bad taste and lasting impact when the night was over.
Behind a quality start from lefty Danny Duffy (9-11, 2.32 ERA), the Royals blanked the Wahoos, 2-0 in the second affair.
“It’s not very often, you don’t score and come away with a split,” Francona said. “There’s not a lot of season left, so every time you lose a game at this point hurts.”
Getting within 2.5 games of a wild card spot after coming away with the win in the suspended contest, Cleveland (82-75) remains 3.5 back after the night’s split.
“We can’t really worry about what everybody else is doing, especially these games right here we’re playing against the Royals they’re right ahead of us,” infielder Mike Aviles said. “We were able to finish that first game, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get anything going.”
Offensively, Indians hitters banged out seven hits but couldn’t push any runs across, despite having chances to score early. Trailing by one run after the first inning, the Tribe managed to load the bases with no outs against Duffy, only to come away empty handed with nothing to show for it.
“I don’t think it was necessarily deflating, it was more upsetting than anything,” Aviles said. “The type of team we’ve been, we’ve scored runs later in the game. All year we haven’t really done much damage early in the game. Duffy hasn’t pitched in two weeks but he was tough and I think he settled in after that. They were able to keep us in check all night.”
The Royals southpaw allowed just six hits over six innings of work, issuing two walks while striking out five.
Cleveland went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position leaving nine on base.
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 2.64 ERA) was equally effective, but notched a tough luck loss as he was stiffened by poor defense behind him.
A two out RBI single by Eric Hosmer put the Royals on the board early after the ball deflected off Gimenez’s glove on a line drive to first base. Having racked up just six at-bats prior to Monday since August 4, the 31-year old journey man started at first base for the first time since coming to Cleveland.
“We tried to mix and match the best we can,” Francona said. “Everybody is a little banged up.”
Trailing K.C. by one in the fifth, Royals second baseman Omar Infante led off the inning with a double and scored two batters later on a RBI single by Alcides Escobar. The hard hit grounder went off Ramirez’s glove at short to give Kansas City a big insurance run.
“The ball Hosmer hit was scolded,” Francona said. “It just hit the end of his glove. And the ball to Jose, that would’ve been a really nice play. They’re makeable, they just happened pretty quick.”
“Everything was good, we should’ve made those plays,” Carrasco said. “I thought they had a pretty good chance to make them, but sometimes we don’t make those plays and it can cost us.”
The Indians starter gave his team yet another dominant outing, surrendering just the two runs on seven hits over 7 2/3 innings, allowing one walk and striking out nine.
“He’s been unbelievable,” Aviles said. “When he got moved to the bullpen he figured some things out while he was out there and he’s carried it right into the rotation. I think he’s feeding off the energy of [Corey] Kluber and all the young pitchers. Everybody has been pitching so great, it’s kind of like they have their own little competition among each other.”
With playoff hopes dwindling, Cleveland now needs to find a way to score runs, and fast. Only five games remain on the schedule, where all five have now become must-wins.
“Any loss from here on out is going to make it even more difficult,” Aviles said. “It just puts us in a situation where we really need help from other people. The bottom line is we have to take care of what we can. Right now we need to start figuring out how to win games and we have to take care of our end.”
Up next for Indians: The Tribe looks to get back in the win column against Kansas City Tuesday night. Right-hander Danny Salazar (6-7, 4.02 ERA) toes the rubber opposite of rookie flame-thrower Yordano Ventura (13-10, 3.19 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
If Lindor had been up here, Ramirez would likely have been at 2B. That's the future middle INF I want to see (no Kipnis at 2B and no trading Ramirez unless it's for a guy like Stanton or someone of that caliber- then I'd consider and perhaps do it. Beltre's not at that level- find another way to acquire Beltre if you want to go that route- I don't want that future middle INF torn up, especially since that essentially means Kipnis remains at 2B- that's as big or even a bigger problem than Chisenhall remaining at 3B, and you have Urshela in the Minors, and he pretty much handled AAA, not to mention he's young, cost-controlled, and known for great defense to replace Chisenhall long-term at 3B).
I do agree on the adjustment period- all young players need adjustment time to adapt no matter their talent level.
1) Putting Kipnis in the middle of the lineup.
2) Starting Santana at 3B to start the season.
Putting Santana at 3B killed his offense earlier in the season, if you notice when he stopped playing 3B, that is when his offense came around.
No reason for Kipnis to be in the middle of the order. Yanny Go Go should of been higher up in the lineup this season. Kipnis is out of shape and is looking like Kevin James playing 2B. If yall want him to play OF, he MUST lose weight!!!!
When Santana was acquired for Blake all those years ago, Santana was expected to hit for average and power, along with great plate discipline. Well, he hits for a solid amount of power and walks a solid amount, but I honestly think his average, power and walk rate would all be better if his stroke was shorter and quicker to the ball- I think he'd avoid those prolonged slumps, which would help his BA, as he was expected to hit higher than .230.
Now, I do think he can hit 250-280 next year because he won't be playing 3B, which I think hampered his offense. However, I think he could be more of a Miguel Cabrera-type all-around hitter if he had a shorter, quicker stroke to the ball- that long swing always made me wonder why they couldn't get him to shorten it up a bit- that's a major reason why I think he hits so many pop-ups.
Of course, the proper approach (I.e. focusing on getting a pitch to drive to the OF and doing it) could have and probably would have made all of the difference in that inning, in that game, and in this game tonight. It all goes back to fundamentals- the Indians say they practice them in Spring Training, but sometimes in key moments, the fundamentals and their execution seem to be lacking, such as was the case with Santana (and to some extent, Gomes) last night. Let's hope those fundamentals get executed better next year and in the years to come.
Probably the 30 games in 30 days isn't helping- Gomes is striking out more and Ramirez's defense has been slipping a bit. Regardless, though, what is this infatuation with Kipnis in the middle of the order? This is all the more reason I want to keep Ramirez at 2B long term. Maybe moving Kipnis back to the OF (which he played in college) might help his offense be more consistent and impactful, as it hasn't been since June 2013. That's all the more reason I don't want to see Ramirez traded, not even for Beltre- I don't think Beltre's acquisition will that be impactful if Kipnis continues to play an integral part in this lineup and especially while playing at 2B.
The sad thing is the wasted qlty starts either by the blown saves or lack of offense.
Browns fans show up regardless, and they seem to find a way to snag defeat from the jaws of victory week after week.
A lot of dissing Holt......but heck, he plays good D and he gets hits.
What folks aren't noting is that Duffy handled even the better players in the lineup pretty easily. That was surprising, given that a few times early on his motion was so violent he nearly fell off the mound.
Shuck is 1 for 21 as an Indian. Literally anyone, even a right hander would have been better. Giambi would have been a better choice. Shuck makes me miss Chris Dickerson.
2 years ago many fans were tired that the Indians were done by July and wanted change. They wanted the team to be in FA market and wanted a real proven manager not a manager learning on the job.
The Indians got Francona. The Indians got Swisher and Bourn in FA market. Last year team was competitive and many fans excuse of not coming not until they win . They did 90 wins and playoff appearance. This years team has been on roller coaster ride but still competitive and in the playoff hunt. this years excuse there not good enough to follow.
The excuses keeps changing. If I was owner and my fan base stated they would show up if the team was competitive. When you prove that you did do want the fans wanted, and still did not show up. I would consider that the original request was a lie.
I wonder if the Braves resigned Bourn instead signing FA BJ Upton that Wren still would have his GM job today.
where have you been ??
How the Fans in NEO traat the Indians is embarrassing. LIke I said I think this is a reflection of how the region feels about the ownership. I 'm not saying it's right . I think the Dolans brought this on themselves with admitting to overpaying for the team because they were fans and poor business practices for a 12 year span. I think it's best for all parties that the Dolans sell the team and move on so we can pack the stadium again
That said, the fault does sort of fall on management. A team in contention can't have the likes of Justin Sellers, Chris Gimenez, Jason Giambi, Roberto Perez, Tyler Holt, JB Shuck, and Zach Walters on your roster. Can't. None of those players have a chance to help much and all are just depth and fill in guys. I like Holt but he has no business playing in any games for a team contending and Perez is solid as a backup but has no business as an option to hit in key games. Maybe they should have done a little more to shore up the bench at the deadline and take a shot on a few low cost, low risk bats in the hope that one paid off.
I completely agree, the Indians pitching is good enough to win a WS. They HAVE TO add a cpl of professional bats to the lineup.
I've been tentative about the Tribe going for Adrian Beltre, but if the Indians made a WS appearance, I doubt anyone would complain unless Frazier (assuming he'd be part of the deal) becomes the next Trout.
I think many people feel (I know I do) that Aguilar is a better option than Gimenez period, no matter what the circumstances are.. Injuries have hurt some flexibility that is for sure but I for one second do not believe starting Gimenez at 1B over Aguilar improves your chances of winning a pivotal game. Obviously Francona has ZERO faith in Aguilar, why he won't (can't really) say so it leaves us to ponder what is the deal exactly.
Awesome analysis!!! It the best comment I have read on this site all year. You really hit the nail on the head.
Look at the options to work with and the circumstances laid out on the table.
First, we have a lefty starting against us and we all know how mightily this team has struggled against lefties yes? OK, so the manager tries to counteract that ineffectiveness by loading up on right handed bats. Makes sense right? Anyone objecting? Shouldn't be.
Next, we get a glimpse behind the curtain and hear that some of our players (beyond those we know, like Kipnis's hamstring) are "banged up." So, it stands to reason that that's why a decision was made to play some and sit others on the field. Lets take that into consideration shall we? Seems logical.
Look at it by position: I'll start with right field: who would you want out there if not Holt? Firstly, we all decry the poor team defense so here we have by far the best defensive option manning the position (with apologies to Shuck since I don't really know just how highly his defensive skills are considered). Certainly better than an infielder converted to a few games in the outfield in Walters and clearly not Shuck who basically, sucks offensively, and is left handed. So Murphy is your other option, though certainly not one we fans have had any great love for this season but now you want him in there over this "bum" Holt? Oh, and add in the new found knowledge that he's injured so thus probably even more limited!
Therefore, a thoughtful analysis brings us to the conclusion that Holt was the best choice BY FAR in right field! And what was the result of that decision? A player that contributed an outstanding defensive play saving a run and providing a base hit in the offensive department! Sure you don't want to see him get picked off but you know he's an aggressive player and, at that point in time, did the team need a spark? Would his decision to go provide some electricity, some juice if successful? THINK about it and you'll understand the decision even it the outcome was disappointing. And I'm not convinced he didn't beat out that relay throw! But regardless of the outcome, the prior DECISION to start him was the correct one! Case closed.
Moving on, 2nd base. Clearly Aviles was the way to go there and with the hate we've showered on Kipnis, I don't think even any of this mournful lot have anything to say about that lineup slot.
So that leaves us with the last, most decried decision made by Francona: Gimenez to start at first, Santana to DH. Lets take a look: Apparently Carlos is amongst those walking wounded to the degree that a decision was made not to play him in the field. Bummer for us but ok, understood. But, because it is such an important game lets get him in the game offensively utilizing him as DH. Fine by me, who else would you consider for that role (I'll get to Aguilar in a moment)? Zach Walters. Are you all with me that while exciting, this kid has fallen back to earth after an electric start with the Tribe and our confidence in him delivering in this high pressure environment has reached a low ebb? Comparatively speaking, Santana as my DH (SINCE HE CAN'T PLAY THE FIELD!) seems like the right choice I'd think you'd all agree. So we know where we are playing Carlos, that leaves ONE position to decide, first base. And our contestants are: Gimenez and Aguilar.
First, while it's not the main point of contention, lets talk defense. Neither are defensive stalwarts at the position is the prevailing wisdom. Would Aguilar made that play off on Hosmer's scorcher? Would Santana? IDK, despite Carrasco's conviction that it should've been made it was no easy flub job but rather a rip down the line. So moving on the main aspect of it, offense, we can see that both Jesus and Chris have offered little at the plate. That said, statistically Gimenez has had more ML success at the plate of the two, has had more recent plate appearances and has more experience in these sorts of environments. Is he a great solution? Hell no! But its not like we are choosing him over someone far better that was somehow overlooked!
Clearly, two things are clear: Tito is all about winning at this point in the season and he has no confidence in Aguilar. Now, some of us may feel like, hey, lets roll the dice! Put Walters and Aguilar out there and maybe somebody will hit something and something good happens! But, if you're trying to win and think that players like that will be eaten alive by a smart, wily and massively effective pitcher like Duffy, then perhaps we understand where a player like Gimenez, by default, gets the start.
Lastly, we can talk about pinch hitting: at least he didn't use Giambi! But seriously, once the Royals turned it over to righties in the late innings didn't it make sense to use the walking wounded as at least swinging options from the left side? Kipnis for Avilies in the 8th? Nobody's been loving Mike Aviles this season so I don't think you can truly complain about switching an underachieving left handed bat for an underachieving right handed bat vs. a right handed pitcher. And in the 9th, back against the wall, I suppose you could've gone with Murphy there first over Shuck for Gimenez but he was used one batter later for Holt and while I happen to like and believe in Holt, I get why you bring up a lefty in Shuck to pinch hit. Again, what other option have you? The dreaded Giambi. Can you imagine the shrieking and gnashing of teeth on this board had he come up to hit? Please.
So, after this long forensic exam I hope we can draw the conclusion that based on the circumstances and options presented to Francona, his decisions are far more logical than we might perceive them to be. Bottom line, we want to win. And when we don't we want to lash out and express our pain. I get that.
Am I missing anything? Please let me know, I like a reasoned discourse.
Cleveland can forget about any future FA coming here because the word is being sent out that Cleveland is no longer a legit sports town.
Despite essentially nothing from a third of the payroll we contended into the last week of the season. When we look for the faults of the season - the focus has to be on the money players who basically took the year off in terms of contributing to the team.
Another outstanding performance by Carlos Carrasco. Can't wait to see the numbers he posts next year over a full season in rotation
Who in Cleveland really cares? Virtually an empty stadium so the fans got what they expected. Maybe the stadium size needs to be moe like Huntington!