Second Thoughts: Game #48 - Royals 5, Indians 8
|W: J. Tomlin (2-2) L: N. Adcock (0-3) S: Perez (17)|
- Josh Tomlin’s return – it’s tough to ask a guy fresh off the DL to give you 6 innings, but it would really help out right now, and if he made it a quality start that would be swell
- Cleveland put Jack Hannahan on the 15-day DL, calling up Lonnie Chisenhall, who is starting for the first time this year at the DH spot. Early reports say Hannahan will miss at least a few weeks, potentially longer.
- Kansas City’s starter—24 year old righty, Nate Adcock— is making his second start of the year.
- With four starters missing from the lineup (Hafner, Cabrera, Santana, Hannahan), it’ll be up to a different-look lineup, featuring Kipnis in the three-hole and Lopez hitting cleanup
- This is a chance for the Tribe to show some resolve, play loose, and win some games this week against teams they should beat; two wins or less in these next two series against the Royals and Twins could incite Indians players to press, leading to a long string of losses.
The Meat & Potatoes
Tomlin’s Pitching Line: 81 pitches (65% strikes) – 5 IP/ 4 ER/ 2 BB/ 4 SO/ 2 HR
Kansas City kicked off the scoring in the second inning with a two-run jack by Eric Hosmer on a low fastball, sinking at the knees. It wasn’t an awful pitch from Tomlin, who looked to be his usual self, attacking hitters and locating all of his pitches. This was a sour way to open the scoring, as it appeared that Tomlin had rung up the previous hitter, Jeff Francoeur, on a 2-2 pitch, but the at bat ended in a walk. It was a tight strike zone the entire game for both sides.
Cleveland responded in the 3rd inning with an offensive outburst that plated five runs, giving the Tribe its second five-run inning of the season. Lonnie Chisenhall, in his first big league at-bat of 2012, took Adcock deep with a sweet swing that deposited a fat pitch into the Kansas City bullpen. This triggered an offensive onslaught, in which the Tribe lineup, missing the heart of its order, batted around and booted Adcock off the mound after only 2 1/3 innings.
Following Chisenhall’s blast, Carlin and Choo hit singles, sandwiched around a Diaz out. Brantley then worked a rare walk to load the bases for the Tribe’s hottest hitter, Jason Kipnis. Kip worked the count full and fought off multiple fastballs on the outer-half of the plate, before slapping a clutch single up the middle, past the outstretched Kansas City second baseman, Dalu, to score a pair. This was a key play in the game, as it gave Cleveland the lead, which they never relinquished, in addition to buoying Cleveland’s numbers with the bases loaded.
In the very next at bat, Lopez hit a high chopper to third base, easily scoring Brantley and allowing Lopez to reach on an infield single. Without a play at home or first, Moustakas bluffed a throw, baiting Kipnis off second base. In what initially appeared to be a costly base-running gaffe, Kipnis crouched out of the way of a charging Moustakas tag, but the second base umpire blew the call, missing the tag that was applied to Kipnis’ back. Call it golden boy luck, or whatever else you will, but the Tribe caught a break and took advantage of it, scoring the fourth run of the inning on the blown call.
Kotchman then hit a soft grounder through the left side of the infield to score the fifth run of the inning. It was really pleasing to see the Tribe lineup string together hits and take advantage of opportunities, especially with four starters absent from the lineup. After the fifth run crossed the plate, Kansas City manager Ned Yost had seen enough from Adcock, who did not record a single swing-and-miss through his 51 pitches.
Kansas City plated a pair of runs in the fifth inning on a one out solo shot for Brayan Pena, followed by a triple off the bat of speedster Jarrod Dyson, who scored on a throwing error from Jason Kipnis’ relay throw that flew into the seats flanking the Tribe dugout. The two runs cut the Tribe lead to 5-4. Josh Tomlin gutted it out, striking out Escobar, and then Falu to end the inning.
This was a key moment in the game because Kansas City was starting to pickup some momentum, but Tomlin doused the rally to get through the fifth and qualify for the win. He did give up a pair of home runs, but Tomlin challenged Royals hitters and pitched to contact, as usual. His fastball was in the upper-80s and he did well working both sides of the plate. It was imperative for the Tribe to get a solid outing from a starting pitcher after the recent string of ugly lines from Indians’ starters.
Cleveland got a run back in the bottom half of the fifth off a Lopez hit that struck the top of the left field wall, scoring Kipnis, who bunted his way on and then stole second. Unfortunately, Lopez got caught admiring his work, and was gunned down at second by a one-hop strike from Gordon.
The Bullpen Mafia then combined for four innings of one-run ball. The quartet of Smith-Hagadone-Pestano-Perez preserved the lead, with the lone run coming from an Escobar opposite field single off Hagadone, who recovered to preserve the Tribe lead at 6-5. That was as close as Kansas City would get, as the Tribe scored twice more.
In the seventh inning, Brantley blooped an RBI single to center to score Diaz, who reached on an infield single and then was awarded third on a two-base error off a pickoff throw from Kansas City reliever Jose Mijares that drilled Diaz in the back. Following a Kipnis single, Kansas City second baseman Irving Falu booted a textbook double play ball off the bat of Lopez, which allowed Brantley to score. Two Kansas City errors in the inning gifted the Indians two insurance runs, allowing Pestano and Perez to attack Royals hitters in the 8th and 9th innings, respectively.
It wasn’t the prettiest win, but it was a win, and an important one at that. Tribe hitters took advantage of opportunities all game long, hitting 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position, while racking up 14 hits and eight runs in another impressive offensive showing.
Forget about Chi-town: This win got the Indians back on track; hopefully the momentum will keep rolling, so the Tribe can feast on the injury-riddled Royals and Twins this week.
Offense Keeps Rolling: Four Tribe hitters had multi-hit games (Kipnis, Lopez, Chisenhall, Carlin). It’s great to see the complementary bats step up with the muscle of the lineup battling injuries. This run scoring binge won’t last forever, but if they can keep registering a competitive amount of runs, the pitching should hold serve until Cabrera, Santana, and Hafner return.
Welcome Back, Josh and Lonnie! The boost from Tomlin and Chisenhall was the difference in this game. Tomlin battled and gave his club a chance to win, while Chisenhall returned to Cleveland in grand style, with a solo blast to announce his arrival.
Offensive Play of the Game: Kipnis’ two-run single with the bases loaded in the fifth. This was a crucial point in the game as it gave Cleveland the lead and kept the five-run fifth moving.
Best Facial Hair Award: Lonnie Chisenhall and his slim Fu Manchu edges out Josh Tomlin…and whatever that is on his face.
That's pretty cold...