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Second Thoughts: Game #152 Royals 5, Indians 3

Second Thoughts: Game #152 Royals 5, Indians 3
September 23, 2012
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Player of the Game: Will Smith (7 innings 8 hits 2 ER 2 BB 5 SO)

The Leadoff

Saturday night’s game could be summed up in four short words: The Royals' fifth inning. After the Indians rallied back from an early deficit to tie the game, Kansas City would put up three runs in the bottom half of the fifth, cruising to a 5-3 victory.

Tribe starter Ubaldo Jimenez went just 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits for his Major League leading 17th loss of the season.

The Bottom 9.

  • Ugh-baldo Jimenez. What else there is to say about a pitcher who leads the Major Leagues with 17 losses and is second in all of baseball with the highest starter ERA? Well, how about that Jimenez is the first Indians pitcher since Tom Candiotti in 1987 to record 17 or more losses in a season. And if that wasn’t enough, Jimenez has now gone just 1-10 with a 6.99 ERA in 14 starts since the All-Star break.
  • The Royals fifth inning. After the Tribe tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning, Kansas City came roaring back by putting up a three spot of their own in the bottom half of the fifth and seemingly never looked back. There was a blown call by home plate umpire Lance Barksdale which arguably led to all three of the Royals runs in the inning. Lonnie Chisenhall threw the ball home to try and get a force out at home plate on a weak grounder to third base, only to have Barksdale claim that Carlos Santana’s foot came off the plate.
  • Acta not getting thrown out. Yes, it’s the end of the season, yes the games really do not mean anything at this point, but I still think Indians manager Manny Acta should have gotten ejected after the blown call at home plate. It’s just so frustrating to see a manager basically just sit on his hands and “argue” to no avail.
  • Hitless with RISP. The Indians went a combined 0-for-5 on the night with runners in scoring position, leaving nine runners on base in the ballgame.
  • Giving up the early lead. For the second consecutive night, the Tribe gave up the early lead, this time in the very first inning. And again the Indians failed to take the lead in the game, picking up their 90th loss of the season.
  • Three runs or less...again. Also for the second straight game, the Indians offense failed to score more than three runs in a ballgame. With a struggling pitcher like Jimenez on the mound already, three runs just is not going to cut it. Overall, Cleveland has managed three runs or less in 21 of their last 32 games.
  • Cabrera ends hitting streak. Asdrubal Cabrera’s five-game hitting streak was snapped on Saturday as the Indians shortstop went 0-for-4 in the ballgame and dropped his average down to .269 on the season.
  • Another loss to K.C. After starting the season 4-0 against their division rivals, the Tribe has now dropped nine of their last 10 games against the Royals.
  • Yet another loss against a lefty. With the loss against Kansas City southpaw Will Smith, the Indians are now 15-33 against lefty starters in 2012. There’s no question in my mind the Tribe front office must address this situation this upcoming offseason.

The Top Moment

  • Cord dialed in. No one knows what the future holds for Indians utility man Cord Phelps, but Saturday night was his night. Phelps crushed a big two-run homer in the fifth inning, his first of the season and just his second of his big league career.

Closing Time

With the Tribe and Minnesota Twins losers Friday night, Cleveland (62-90) remains in last place in the American League Central Division, a half game behind the Twins. It was just two seasons ago that Cleveland was also 62-90 through 152 games back in 2010.

Sunday marks the five year anniversary of the Indians clinching the 2007 AL Central Division title, their last Division crown over the last five seasons.

Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and avoid the sweep on Sunday, as it will be David Huff (1-0, 2.61 ERA) against Jake Odorizzi (Making his Major League debut) at 2:10 p.m. In his last start, Huff went just 4 1/3 innings on a 85-pitch limit, giving up three runs on seven hits. Opposing righties are hitting just .190 this month against the Indians left-hander. The 22-year-old Odorizzi will be making his big league debut on Sunday, spending most of this season at Triple-A Omaha where he went 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 18 starts.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

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