Second Thoughts: Game #17 - Royals 4, Indians 2
|W: Mendoza (1-2) L: Tomlin (1-2)|
What Went Right
- The Indians’ bullpen, which has had a few struggles this year, pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings to keep the offense in the game. Dan Wheeler, Tony Sipp and Joe Smith all posted scoreless appearances.
- Michael Brantley had a nice drag bunt to jump start the sixth inning. No matter where he hits in the order it would be nice to see him develop that skill. (FYI: This will be the only positive mention of Brantley)
- Another steal by Jason Kipnis, giving him four steals on the year. Just another reason to bat him leadoff.
- Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner lead the AL in walks with 15 and 14 respectively. This team gets lots of runners on base, but at times they struggle to get that timely hit. Choo’s absence really hurts here since one guy can do so much to lengthen your lineup.
- The fifth inning is when Tomlin really started to run into trouble. It’s worth noting though that the Royals had two broken-bat base hits that inning. He wasn’t pitching well but he didn’t get many breaks either.
- Manny Acta was right to give Tomlin the quick hook in the fifth. The Indians needed to try and win this game and it was obvious Tomlin was not going to find his groove . The pen really did give the Tribe its best chance to win.
- Cunningham put a nice swing on a 2-strike pitch to get his second RBI in two days. He’s not the answer but his at-bats were better than Shelley Duncan’s on Thursday.
What Went Wrong
- There was only one way to describe Josh Tomlin on Thursday: erratic. There were times when I felt like Fausto Carmona was pitching (I say Carmona because who knows what Roberto Hernandez will pitch like). Just when it looked like Tomlin was finding his groove he would lose his control again or give up back-to-back hits.
- Since the game had a noon start time it coincided with my lunch break at work. By the time I got back from microwaving my lunch the Tribe was already down 1-0 so I was braced for a long afternoon. It never got as bad as I feared but it certainly wasn’t pretty.
- Tomlin battled all day but he just did not have his best stuff. Carlos Santana was getting a real workout at times as he was blocking balls in the dirt and even jumping out of the crouch to snag a few head high fastballs.
- It was obvious that Tomlin was struggling when a guy known for his control (21 walks in 165 innings last year) gave up two walks, almost hit Billy Butler and then did hit him the next time up all in the span of three innings.
- The second inning could have been Tomlin’s turning point. He retired the first two batters on three pitches but then walked Mitch Maier and ended up using 12 pitches to end the inning.
- The offense was once again a sore spot for the Indians. Royals’ starter Luis Mendoza has really struggled so far this season but he cruised against the Tribe. Going into yesterday’s game Mendoza had given up 24 hits this year over just 13 innings with a 6.92 ERA. However, the Tribe only managed four hits against him in five innings of work.
- The Royals’ pen did its part as well, allowing just two hits in four innings.
- I don’t understand batting Jason Kipnis 8th and Michael Brantley 1st. In my mind they should switch places at the very least. Brantley is struggling right now and Kipnis is getting on base ahead of Aaron Cunningham rather than Asdrubal Cabrera, Santana and Hafner.
- A prime example was Brantley popping up a 3-1 fastball to lead off the game, not a great way to lead off a game. Later, Brantley struck out after back-to-back walks. He’s just not putting up good at-bats right now.
- Shelley Duncan’s warts are beginning to show. Not only did he make a few clumsy plays in the field but he struck out looking twice and is looking overmatched at the plate. Opposing pitchers know he is looking fastball and they are just toying with him. Count me as someone who would like to see Johnny Damon sooner rather than later.
- I know Duncan made a diving catch in the 9th, but isn’t that a play most outfielders make without diving? I’m just saying let’s be careful not to give him too much credit.
- The Royals gave the Indians plenty of chances yesterday but the Tribe could just not get the timely hits they needed to start the big inning. Does the phrase bases loaded, no one out and only one run sound familiar?
- The game ended with Kipnis getting on base for a third time. Cunningham followed with an out and Brantley did walk but Kipnis followed by Cabrera and Santana/Choo sounds much better.
Royals’ catcher Brayan Pena needs to take about half a step back when he’s catching – he got hit twice on Thursday with backswings . . . Interesting note on the STO pregame, going into Thursday’s game the Indians were undefeated when they did not allow a home run, so that stat was interesting while it lasted. . . Santana catching a day game after a night game, I know it wasn’t a lefty pitching but isn’t Lou Marson still on this team? . . . The Indians are third in the AL in the number of pitches they have seen as a team this year.