Second Thoughts: Game #158 Royals 7, Indians 6
Player of the Game: Jeff Francoeur (2-for-6 with 1 2B, a 3-run homer and 3 RBI)
The Indians were far from clutch when they needed it the most last night, missing several opportunities late in the ballgame to take the lead, falling to the Royals in 14 innings 7-6.
Tribe starter Jeanmar Gomez didn’t last past the third inning as the Royals put up a six spot against the right-hander, sending him to his second straight loss as a starter.
The Bottom 9.
- 20 runners left on base. Some fans could say this stat is somewhat inflated as the game went another five innings, but there is no reason to deny that the Indians had their fair share of chances to win the ballgame last night. Try FOUR times; one in the ninth, one in the eleventh, one in the thirteenth and finally, one in the fourteenth. After coming back to tie the game like they did, there’s no question this loss was frustrating all around.
- Dismal with RISP. And if the 20 runners left on base sounded bad, the Tribe also went just 3-for-21 (.143) with runners in scoring position. Just in the final four innings alone, the Indians went 0-for-5 with RISP and it cost them what we all thought was an easy September victory.
- Bases loaded with no outs in the 14th inning. Down 7-6 with the bases loaded and nobody out, Cleveland could not even manage to squeeze one run across the board. Carlos Santana (swinging at the first pitch) flew out to shallow left field, Lonnie Chisenhall was robbed on a sinking line drive to right field, and Casey Kotchman grounded out to second for the game’s final out. Unbelieveable.
- Kotchman. I just don’t get the reasoning behind pinch-hitting Casey Kotchman for Russ Canzler in the eighth inning with the Indians down two runs. Yes, he is better defensively, but it’s the end of a meaningless season. Why not just leave Canzler and his .301 average in the ballgame? This proved to be a mistake, as Kotchman went 0-for-4 in the game and hitless in clutch situations.
- Gomez struggles continue. Tribe starter Jeanmar Gomez struggled for the second straight start, giving up six runs in just three innings. In his last two starts, Gomez is now 0-2 with 14.14 ERA giving up 11 earned runs in just seven innings pitched.
- Brantley’s lack of hustle. Yes, there are just four games left in the season, but when does that make it right for Michael Brantley to gingerly run around the bases? I understand it’s a long season and he may be banged up, but honestly, he could have easily dove or slid for what turned out to be the Royal’s game-winning hit by Tony Abreu in the fourteenth inning. If he is hurting he shouldn’t be playing, it’s simple as that.
- The Royals third inning. Kansas City scored six of their seven runs last night in the top of the third inning, sending nine players to the plate which was capped-off by Jeff Francoeur’s three-run homer that sent Gomez to the showers.
- Santana and Kipnis hitless. Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis were held hitless Saturday night, going a combined 0-for-10 at the plate with three strikeouts. They may have also each walked three times in the ballgame, but they came up short when the team needed them the most.
- Pronk, take a seat. Why are we still playing Travis Hafner? Is the front office really trying to boost his free agent stock at the end of the season? Call me crazy, but I would rather see Thomas Neal, Cord Phelps, or even Brent Lillibridge get the start as a designated hitter than Hafner. Going 0-for-2 last night, Hafner has now gone 0-for-13 since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 19.
The Top 3
- Tribe offense came back. The offense may have been flat in extra innings, but the Indians battled back from an early 6-1 deficit in the fifth inning. No hit was bigger for the Tribe than Asdrubal Cabrera’s game tying two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
- The Bullpen Mafia. Taking over for Gomez after the third inning, Tribe relievers pitched 10 innings of scoreless baseball, giving up just two hits and striking out seven until Scott Maine gave up what would be the game-winning run for Kansas City in the fourteenth inning.
- The Chiz-Kid stays hot. For the second straight game, Lonnie Chisenhall collected three hits in a ballgame going 3-for-7 with a double and RBI. The Indians third baseman is now hitting .421 (8-for-19) with two doubles and two RBI over his last four games.
With the Tribe and Minnesota Twins both losing Saturday night, Cleveland (66-92) remains tied for last place in the American League Central Division.
Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and take the series in the rubber match on Sunday, as it will be Zach McAllister (5-8, 4.25 ERA) against Luke Hochevar (8-15, 5.43 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. McAllister’s only start against the Royals this year came back on Aug. 1, when he gave up four runs on five hits in six innings picking up a loss. Hochevar has struggled when facing the Tribe offense this season as the Kansas City right-hander is 1-2 with a 6.61 ERA in three starts versus Cleveland. Choo is 13-for-23 (.565) against Hochevar in his career with three homers and 10 RBI.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.