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Second Thoughts Game #21 & #22: Indians split twin bill

Tribe gets shutout in game one, win big in Sunday's nightcap

Second Thoughts Game #21 & #22: Indians split twin bill
April 29, 2013
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Game 1: Royals 9, Indians 0

Game 2: Indians 10, Royals 3

Player of Game 1: Jeremy Guthrie (6.2 Inn. 6 hits 0 ER 3 BB / 5 SO)

Player of Game 2: Corey Kluber (7 Inn. 7 hits 2 ER 0 BB / 6 SO)

The Leadoff

It was a tale of two completely different ballgames on Sunday, as the Indians split a day-night doubleheader with the first place Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Game one could be summed up in one word: Ugly. The Royals exploded for seven runs off Tribe starter Justin Masterson in 6 1/3 innings, in route to a 9-0 shutout. Cleveland struggled again offensively as they couldn’t get anything going off former Indian Jeremy Guthrie. The right-hander shutdown his old club throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings for his third victory on the year.

Sunday’s second game was a sigh of relief for both the Tribe and their fans, as the Wahoo’s got some much needed revenge against Kansas City winning 10-3. Starter Corey Kluber was stellar in his first start with the Indians, pitching seven solid innings yielding just two runs on the night. The offense also bounced back strong scoring 10 runs on 14 hits, sending Royals lefty Will Smith to the showers through just four innings ending their three-game losing streak.

Offensive roller coaster

Talk about two totally different offenses over a span of just eight hours. Yes, the second game makes up for the dismal shutout in game one, but it’s something that should definitely not be overlooked. This first month of April has been one wicked roller coaster ride offensively for the Indians. Will things get better? I think so. The Tribe is still without their leadoff man in centerfielder Michael Bourn and the team has already used eight different starting pitchers through 22 games.

Let’s hope getting a much needed victory in the second game will put Cleveland back on track as the month of May approaches.

Kluber dominates, Masterson struggles

I think the Tribe may have found their replacement for injured starter Brett Myers in the starting rotation. Kluber was brilliant in his seven solid innings of work in the nightcap, giving up just two earned runs and six strikeouts. There was one point in Sunday night’s ballgame that Kluber set down 10 straight Royals hitters and he is now 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA.

Unlike his teammate Masterson Sunday afternoon, Kluber did not yield a walk in the contest and has not walked a batter in 12 innings this season.

Gomes back at Home

Before Sunday’s doubleheader, the Indians recalled catcher Yan Gomes from Triple-A Columbus and placed catcher Lou Marson back on the 15-day DL with inflammation in his right shoulder. Like many, I thought Gomes should’ve never been sent back down to the minor leagues as he has done a solid job both offensively and even more defensively.

This stat tells why:

In Gomes’ last six games as a starting catcher, Tribe pitchers have a 2.20 ERA. This covers 49 innings behind the plate, where pitchers have given up just 12 runs on 38 hits walked nine and struck out 41.

Coincidence? Maybe. But Indians manager Terry Francona and his staff better keep an eye at just how well of a job Gomes has done calling games in his brief time in Cleveland. The Tribe is also 5-2 in games Gomes has appeared in so far this year.

Be Like Mike

Guthrie beats his former team in game one, and Indians second baseman Mike Aviles sets a personal record of his own against his former club in game two. While he only finished the game 1-for-4, that one hit Aviles got was a clutch three-run home run to break the game open for the Tribe. With the long ball, it was a career-night for the 32-year old utility man, as he finished the game with a career-high five RBI against Kansas City. In 13 games, Aviles is now hitting .250 (10-for-40) with two homers and 11 RBI in 13 games.

What was then a low-key offseason trade by the Tribe when they sent reliever Esmil Rogers to Toronto for Aviles and Gomes, now looks like it could not only be one of the team’s best moves for the 2013 season and beyond.

Scoring runs first

The Tribe is four games under .500 with a record of 9-13 through their first 22 games in 2013. When Cleveland scores first though, things seem to go well as the Indians are now 7-2 when scoring the game’s first run. Allowing the opposition to score first is a much different story, as the club is just 2-11 when opponents grab the first lead of a ballgame.

Cabrera heating up, Santana sizzling

Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera continued his hot tear of late going 5-for-9 combined in the doubleheader with two doubles, one RBI and two runs scored. Batting just .118 less than two weeks ago, Cabrera has hit in seven straight games bumping his average up to .208. During his seven-game hitting streak, he is hitting .385 with three doubles and three RBI.

Like Cabrera, catcher Carlos Santana continued to rake offensively as well going 6-for-9 in the two games on Sunday with a double and an RBI. With his six hits, Santana is now leading all of Major League Baseball with a .388 batting average.

Closing Time

With the doubleheader split against the Royals, Cleveland remains four games in back of first place in the American League Central Division with a record of 9-13 on the season. The Tribe cannot finish the month of April with a winning record.

Up next for the Indians: The rubber match and final game of the four-game series between the Tribe and Kansas City. Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2, 10.06 ERA) will matchup against the Royals Wade Davis (2-1, 3.20 ERA) at 8:10 pm.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at

User Comments

April 29, 2013 - 11:04 PM EDT
I seem to recall someone in the Indians' organization saying they want to hit Santana lower in the order to take some pressure off him.

Kipnis hit a HR tonight.

When Bourn gets back I'd like to see Brantley drop down to the #2 slot with Kipnis moving back to 7 or 8.
April 29, 2013 - 10:27 PM EDT
thanks for the chat. I hope he's the next g. brett, but I just have a bad vibe about him. I'll gladly say I'm wrong if he's hitting .275 or so come fall. thanks.
April 29, 2013 - 10:22 PM EDT
Too early to pull the plug on Chisenhall. He's actually been putting up some good at bats and making some good swings, but has nothing to show for it yet. I think as long as he stays within himself and doesn't get frustrated that he will be fine.
April 29, 2013 - 10:17 PM EDT
one more thing. chisenhall has all the look over 3 yrs now as a career AAA player.

I know he's young etc, but he just looks lost at the plate to me. hope I'm proven wrong, but I just got that gut feeling he doesn't have it. I would go with rayburn and aviles much more. the left, righty stuff is meaningless.
April 29, 2013 - 10:16 PM EDT
Yes, it is time to slide Kipnis down in the order if for nothing else to let him catch his breath and take some pressure off of him. Losing Bourn has hurt, so hopefully when he returns we see some changes.
April 29, 2013 - 10:13 PM EDT
Tony, santana is leading the league or close to it in many categories. kipnis isn't hitting his weight and yet he's 4 spots higher? and remember the kipnis slide started mid yr last year.

hr tonight or not, kipnis should be 8th. I understand terry not wanting to panic and move guys around every week, but kipnis has only been a every day starter for a short time. it's not like he's joe morgan in his 8th yr or something.

please move him down, way down and santana up.

this is starting to make me mad!!!!

ubaldo finished the 7th as I write!! wow! who would have thought??
April 29, 2013 - 10:03 PM EDT
Yeah, Santana hitting 6th makes no sense to me. He belongs at #3 or #4. he's the one true impact bat in this lineup, so should be hitting earlier to ensure more at bats over the course of the season.
April 29, 2013 - 7:35 PM EDT
why is santana down at 6? it's just dumb. should be 3 or 4 at lowest.

kipnis, when he plays, should be 8 or 9. again, 2 hole right now for him is dumb.

hate to keep throwing out the dumb, comment, but if the shoe fits. what is terry thinking?
April 29, 2013 - 3:37 PM EDT
The Clippers are still listing Bauer as tonight's starter. If he goes tonight, who will the Tribe call up to make the start Wednesday?

Dice-K and Carrasco are injured, Martinez pitched Saturday, Huff pitched yesterday. Will they call up Nieve again?
April 29, 2013 - 3:02 PM EDT
No, Bourn is not expected to come off the DL tomorrow. It may be a few days still.
April 29, 2013 - 2:54 PM EDT
Tony, do you expect Michael Bourn to play as soon as he's eligible to come of the DL (tomar I believe) ?
April 29, 2013 - 9:45 AM EDT
Aviles home run was nice, but his 5 RBI demonstrates again why Santana should not be hitting 6th. They are leaving runs on the table more often than not. Giving Kipnis more opportunities to bat than Santana. Forcing the Aviles and Raburn to drive in runs. It worked once with Aviles, but they shouldn't depend on it. Those RBI opportunities should be going to Swisher and Reynolds, much earlier in the order. Kluber ... Better than Ubaldo (and Myers)

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