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Second Thoughts Game #158: Royals 7, Indians 1

Second Thoughts Game #158: Royals 7, Indians 1
September 24, 2014
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The Cleveland Indians (82-76) were denied a must-win game by a lopsided 7-1 score at the hands of the Kansas City Royals (86-71) at Progressive Field on Tuesday night.

Danny Salazar (6-8, 4.25) was tagged with five runs in 4.2 innings, allowing his final five batters to reach base in a back-breaking three run fifth inning and it all happened with two outs.

He was effective through the front three, surrendering a hit in each inning.  He opened the fourth by issuing a walk to the leadoff hitterBilly Butler and a single to Alex Gordon.  Omar Infantedelivered a line drive double to the left field corner to score both runners with one out.

The back-breaker was the three-run fifth inning.  He gave up back-to-back doubles to Eric Hosmer and Butler to score the third run.  After an intentional walk put Gordon on base, Salvador Perez doubled just out of reach ofMichael Brantley in left-center that plated two runs.  The trail runner Gordon might have been thrown out at the plate, but the throw short hopped the catcher and eluded him.

Gordon added a two run double in the seventh off of Scott Atchison.

Cleveland avoided the shutout after Michael Brantley doubled to lead off the eighth.  He was replaced by J.B. Shuck who scored on a groundball double play by David Murphy.

Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.07) shut out the Cleveland offense for seven innings and held them to four hits.  He did walk four batters, but Cleveland was unable to take advantage.

Elimination situation

Cleveland was officially eliminated from the Central division title picture with the loss and a Tigers win 4-3 over the White Sox.  Miguel Cabrera hit a walk-off single in the ninth after David Price allowed three runs to score in the top half.

Cleveland still trails Seattle, but not by any more than they did to start the day after Felix Hernandezuncharacteristically gave up eight runs in 4.2 innings including a seven run fifth inning in a 10-2 Toronto victory.  Seattle maintains their 1.5 lead despite losing four consecutive games.

Seattle has two more in Toronto and returns home to face the Angels in their final series of the season.  Their elimination number is down to three.

With the loss to Kansas City, Cleveland’s elimination number is down to one in the wild card.  Even if the Royals don’t wrap up Cleveland’s season on Thursday, they have four shots at the White Sox in the final weekend of the season.

It’s looking likely that Oakland and Kansas City will meet in the AL Wild Card Game.  The two teams are tied after Oakland’s loss at the Angels.  After they wrap up that series, they play at Texas in their final series of the year.

In matters not involving Cleveland baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates are headed back to the playoffs for a second straight year after defeating the Atlanta Braves.  The only question in the National League now is whether the Wild Card game will be in Pittsburgh or San Francisco.

Milwaukee’s elimination number is down to one after losing to the Reds in Cincinnati.  San Francisco has one left in Los Angeles on Thursday before closing out at home with four against San Diego.  The Giants lost to the Dodgers on Tuesday to keep Milwaukee’s slim hopes alive.

Milwaukee has two remaining in Cincinnati before closing the season out at home against the Cubs.

Why am I writing about a Wild Card scenario that is virtually locked up?  The answer is simple; that’s all that’s left for the Indians. Cleveland played like a defeated team on Tuesday and frankly, it there is not much more to talk about since the lineup still continues to struggle and the makeup of it still leaves much to be desired. Hopefully with the season over Francona will mix in a lot of his younger players these final four games to give them a look and rest some of the arms.

Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.

User Comments

September 24, 2014 - 2:39 PM EDT
Michael, nice write up but did you see a team with fire going all out for the win the last 2 nights?

shy, good summary. The" run thru a wall for him" I don't see. Poor sloppy play all season.

Much to be excited for in the starting rotation and some players to come up.
September 24, 2014 - 1:15 PM EDT
I agree with almost everything you wrote but I would keep Holt as a 4th OF. He hits from the right side, he's decent defensively, he can steal base and he hustles.

The pitching staff is playoff caliber. The obvious flaws are the lack of offensive production and team defense (really infield defense) Lindor will improve part of that in 2015

There is no excuse for highly paid professional athletes Swisher and Kipnis to show up in spring training out of shape and that led to injuries and dismal performances
September 24, 2014 - 11:55 AM EDT
The way the season started most of us were wondering if the Indians could stay out of the cellar and finish ahead of the Twins and White Sox. After a string of ugly performances from Justin Masterson and the team looking more and more like Triple A offensively and defensively, the road ahead looked long and dark. What happened after was pretty darn cool. Corey Kluber turned into one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, Carlos Carrasco was reborn as a star pitcher, Trevor Bauer turned from an an adolescent into a young adult winning games along the way. Danny Salazar began the season throwing 95 and ended throwing 97, T.J. House emerged as a very tough lefty, the bullpen became one of the better late inning crews in either league, Michael Brantley crystallized into a 5 tool player, Lonnie Chisenhall and Yan Gomes proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can hit, Roberto Perez emerged as one of the best backup backstops in the game. The rest of the team was a disappointment. Bourn ,Swisher and Kipnis couldn't stay healthy and at this point you have to assume they may never reach their levels of a few years ago. the peripheral outfield guys Raburn, Murphy, Holt, Dickerson are the latest in a long line of unspectacular performers going back to Jason Michaels, Travis Buck, Dave DeLucci, Jason Kubel, Shelley Duncan, don't get me started. I think what we see with Terry Francona is he is good to these guys, loyal to them, and he can get them to as the cliche goes to "run thru a wall for him". Problem is as we have found out playing KC and Detroit the last couple weeks, we don't need them to run thru walls, we need them to make plays and get hits, and they're not able to do it. All in all, an entertaining and successful season that just fell short at the end.

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