Second Thoughts: Game #151 Royals 6, Indians 3
Player of the Game: Luis Mendoza (6 innings 8 hits 2 ER 2 BB 3 SO)
Missed “royal” opportunities could be one way to describe the Indians game on Friday night as the Indians struggled to put up runs against division rival Kansas City, falling to the Royals 6-3. The game not only gives Cleveland their 89th loss of the season, but their 48th loss on the road, the most of any other team in the American League.
Tribe starter Justin Masterson did not pitch all bad, yielding four earned runs over six innings in the ballgame. What is bad is that with another loss, the Indians ace recorded his 15th loss of the year.
The Bottom 9:
- Masterson loses again. The Indians right-hander would settle in late, but the damage was done early as the Royals scored three of their four runs off Masterson in the first three innings. Entering the game with a 3.75 run support, the lowest run support in the American League, the Tribe starter would get less than that as the team would scored only three runs on the night. Masterson is now 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in his last three starts.
- First inning offensive woes. There could be an argument made that the Tribe lost Friday night’s ballgame way back in the first inning. With two runners on second and third and one out, Carlos Santana struck out. Royals starter Luis Mendoza would intentionally walk Michael Brantley to face Travis Hafner with the bases loaded and two out. Wait…what? Yes, Mendoza intentionally walked Brantely to get to Hafner, only to have the Indians designated hitter ground out to end the inning. If the Tribe would have taken the early lead there, the game would have been different without question.
- Nine runners left on base. Get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em in is what baseball is all about. For the Indians, the get ‘em in part was almost non-existent last night as the team spoiled chances with one or two runners in scoring position, costing them the victory.
- One extra-base hit. Asdrubal Cabrera recorded the Indians' only extra-base hit last night, a double in the top of the fifth inning. For a team to collect 10 hits with just one of them being an extra-base hit is unacceptable.
- Pronk who? Travis Hafner was held hitless again in his second game back in the lineup since returning from the disabled list. In all honesty, why is Manny Acta even playing Hafner this late in the season? I would much rather see a guy like Russ Canzler or Santana as the designated hitter and just let the rookies play. Yes, he’s had a good career as a member of the Tribe, but let’s all hope this is in fact Hafner’s last season with Cleveland.
- Giving up the early lead. After what should have been an early lead taken by the Tribe in the first inning, the Royals did not miss too many of their opportunities to put up runs early, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning and a 3-1 lead by the third. A lead they would never surrender at any point on the night.
- Three runs or less...again. Although the Indians scored more than three runs four consecutive games prior to last night’s ballgame, they could not escape a quality outing by Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza, who limited the Tribe to just two runs over six innings. Overall, Cleveland has managed three runs or less in 20 of their last 31 games.
- Another loss to K.C. After starting the season 4-0 against their division rivals, the Tribe has now dropped eight of their last nine games against the Royals. With the victory last night pushing the Indians more than seven games behind Kansas City, it’s looking more and more like Cleveland will finish the season behind K.C. for the first time since 2003.
- Allen struggles again. It’s looking like life in the Major Leagues may be finally catching up to Indians reliever Cody Allen. The Tribe rookie right-hander gave up two big insurance runs late in the eighth inning, all but securing a Royals victory.
The Top 2
- Double-digit hits. Both teams would collect 10 hits in the ballgame, as seven of the nine Tribe starters would collect at least one hit in the game as well.
- Cabrera extends hitting streak. Going 2-for-4 with a double last night, Asdrubal Cabrera extended his hitting streak to five games. The Indians shortstop is hitting .400 (8-for-20) over his last five games with a double, homer and three RBIs.
With the Tribe losers Friday night, Cleveland (62-89) falls yet again to last place in the Central Division, a half game behind the Minnesota Twins. Masterson (15 losses) and teammate Ubaldo Jimenez (16 losses) are now first and second respectfully for the most losses in the big leagues this season.
Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and to win on Saturday, as it will be Ubaldo Jimenez (9-16, 5.43 ERA) against Will Smith (5-8, 5.08 ERA) at 7:10 p.m. Jimenez will try and avoid becoming the first pitcher in all of Major League Baseball to lose 17 games this season. In two starts against the Royals in 2012, the Indians right-hander is 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA in 11 total innings. Smith’s only start against the Tribe came back on May 29, as the left-hander would pick up the victory tossing six innings yielding only two runs on four hits in the ballgame. Cleveland is just 15-32 against southpaws this season.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.