Second Thoughts Game #65: Indians 5, Royals 9
The Cleveland Indians lost to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night by a score of 9-5. The game was largely out of hand, though the Indians tried to creep back in by scoring five runs in the final two innings.
Corey Kluber was uncharacteristically shaky as he yielded six runs (three earned) on six hits (including a HR) and two walks. He was taken out in the fifth at just 78 pitches with Francona deciding to save some bullets in Kluber’s arm when he might have a little better day on the mound.
Some quick thoughts on the game:
- At five innings, it was his shortest outing in his past nine starts since an April 29th start against the Angels.
- Kluber was victimized by the Indians defense yet again, yielding three more unearned runs.
- Lonnie Chisenhall only had two hits, of which only one of them went for extra bases.
The big blow came in the fifth when Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer to put the Royals up 6-0 and effectively end the Indians’ chances. The pitch that Eric Hosmer hit out was pretty good. It was a 93 MPH fastball at the absolute bottom of the zone and on the outer-third of the plate:
Most batters fail to do anything with pitches this low in the zone:
That’s a pair of groundouts, three strikeouts and a single down there for the other batters. Then again, most other batters don’t have Eric Hosmer’s batting profile. Here is his 2014 heat map (reflecting batting average/pitch):
*Note that the averages are all low because many pitches are taken in these spots. The colors are most important.
Here is the pitch he hit for a home-run imposed over Eric Hosmer’s heat map:
That’s a long way of saying it, but as you can see: this was basically in Hosmer’s go-zone. Kluber either made a mistake or didn’t follow the scouting report, because Hosmer loves the low-stuff and even though it tried to creep outside: throwing in the top-half is clearly the way to go.
One mistake wasn’t the death knell for the Tribe. Errors and a lack of any meaningful offense ultimately contributed as well. But, learning how to pitch to the batter you are facing, as opposed to just pitching, is the final step for Kluber’s ascendency to becoming truly elite.
The Indians will go for a short-series split this afternoon at 2:10pm as Trevor Bauer goes against Yordano Ventura in a game featuring two young pitchers looking to establish some type of consistency.
This team needs better defense and some RHB that can hit. Raburn not hitting really hurts this team.
Can't wait for an infield D of Urshela, Lindor, JRam/Kipnis and Chiz/Aguilar from left to right. Make Kipnis a 2B/OF/DH. The Latin kids all hit LHP better, so they're perfect fits for this roster as soon as now. Add Holt to that list, good defender and owns LHP. He could spell one of Murphy/Brantley/Bourn vs any LHP starter.
Of course, for any of that to happen, they would have to release Giambi and eat the remaining 3.5-3.7mil on Raburn. I don't think any of that will happen and it could cost the Indians a postseason spot