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Second Thoughts Game #94: Indians 5, Royals 3

Chisenhall's grand slam too much for Royals overcome, as Tribe secures series win

Second Thoughts Game #94: Indians 5, Royals 3
July 14, 2013
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Player of the Game: Lonnie Chisenhall (3-for-5) with a double, grand slam and 4 RBI

The Leadoff

Collecting five runs on nine hits, the Tribe needed just one of those hits Saturday night as they defeated Kansas City, 5-3.

Sporting their throwback 1902 uniforms, it was on the back of starting pitcherScott Kazmir (5-4, 4.60 ERA) and the bat of third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall that the Indians cruised to their second straight victory over the Royals.

The win gives Cleveland their seventh series win over their last 32 games.

Don’t test the Chiz Kid

Chisenhall hit arguably the biggest home run on his career Saturday, belting his first grand slam of his career off Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie.

Finishing the game 2-for-4 with a grand slam, The Chiz Kid has certainly made his presence at the plate known of late. Since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus, Chisenhall is now hitting .292 (21-for-72) with three homers and 14 RBI.

Yes, Chisenhall still struggles against lefties, but he deserves every opportunity to play every day after coming back from the minors ready to contribute. Right now, I would take his bat in the lineup every day against right-handers on third base, leaving the struggling Mark Reynolds to take over third versus southpaws.

The team is better with both Chisenhall’s bat in the lineup, and his glove on third.

Kazmir remains undefeated at home

Tribe starter Scott Kazmir was dominant in his 6 1/3 innings Saturday, yielding just two runs on four hits for his fifth victory. The lefty has more than flashed signs of the pitcher he used to be in 16 starts this year, always giving his team a chance to win with him on the mound.

I think Kazmir may have also found his own personal catcher, as the southpaw is now 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA in 10 starts with Yan Gomes behind the plate.

He also improves to an undefeated 5-0 on the season at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.

With trade rumors swirling that the Tribe may add a starter before the MLB trade deadline July 31, who do you take out of the rotation?

Do you take out Kazmir, the only southpaw on the staff who has looked great over the last three months?

I’m glad I can leave those decisions to Indians general manager Chris Antonetti.

Perez notches third straight save

Up 5-3 in the ninth, closer Chris Perez set down the Royals in order to notch his 12th save on the season. It was CP’s third save in his last three appearances.

Perez has looked great since returning from the disabled list, giving up just one run over his last nine innings, picking up six saves.

Say what you will about the Indians closer, or whether he is or is not talking to the media right now, the Indians are a better team with him out there. Everything falls into place when Perez is healthy, as guys can stay in their regular roles without bouncing around and pitching in different situations.

50 wins before break

For the first time since 2007, the Indians will finish the first half of the season with at least 50 wins before the All-Star break.

Yes, they have bobbed and weaved, but remain in the thick of postseason contention as we sit in the middle of July with two months left in the season. The big test for the team once again becomes whether or not they can sustain staying in the pennant race over the final two month stretch.

It was last year that the Indians finished the first half in second place with a 44-41 record, only to fall out of contention to go just 24-53 after the All-Star break. With a mix of both young and veteran players combined with manager Terry Francona at the helm, this team not only looks, but feels different.

Blacked out

Due to Fox and MLB television rights, SportsTime Ohio was unable to televise Saturday’s Indians game, leaving all of Tribe Town blacked out of the visual broadcast.

Just like it was in 1902, Cleveland fans were unable to visually see the throwback 1902 uniforms the Indians wore against Kansas City unless they bought a ticket to the ballgame.

I know the television rights and everything, but is this not the 21st Century? If we can watch a rover land on Mars from millions of miles away in outer space, there should be a way for fans to watch a game just a few miles from their house…and for free (excluding paying for MLB.TV).

I will say this, there are certainly some great play-by-play radio announcers out there, but I’ll argue and pin the Indians own Tom Hamilton with any of them as best in the big leagues forever.

All Tribe fans can hope for now is that the lights are blacked out at Comerica Park while the lights at Progressive Field remain on in October.

Closing Time

With the win, Cleveland (50-44) moves to 1.5 games in back of Detroit for first place in the A.L. Central. The team has now won four of its last five ballgames, improving to 34-16 when a starter tosses six or more innings.

Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will look to sweep the three-game series with the Royals on Sunday, as Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.37 ERA) takes the hill against Kansas City ace James Shields (4-6, 3.12 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. Over his last nine starts, Jimenez is 4-1 with a 2.88 ERA.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Robert
July 14, 2013 - 1:02 PM EDT
"With trade rumors swirling that the Tribe may add a starter before the MLB trade deadline July 31, who do you take out of the rotation?"

The first question is if McAllister is going to be able to take a regular turn in the rotation and pitch like before his injury.

The second question is if the Bull Pen is not in far more need of help than the starting rotation. Watching Albers and Pestano blast night at the Pro was pure torture. We are damn lucky Santana made a diving catch to save Pestano.

The third question is IMO to get a right handed bat that can actually make contact. Tony on the radio yesterday I believe suggested Delmon Young.

Then - perhaps a starter.

Bob
Steve
July 14, 2013 - 12:26 PM EDT
Nice uniforms!!

Like I said in the past, let Chiz play!!

Had to listen to the game on the radio just like the good old days!!

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