Thanks to the Royals and a rain out between the Tigers and Twins in Detroit last night, the Indians are officially back in the place they’ve come to call home: Last place.
It was more of the same as the Royals toppled the Indians by a score of 6-3. Missed opportunities and a lack of timely situational hitting were once again the culprits as the Indians collected 10 hits and 2 walks, but were only able to plate 3 runs on the evening. Meanwhile, the Royals also had ten hits but were able to collect twice as many runs thanks in large part to third baseman Mike Moustakas and catcher Bryan Pena, both of whom collected two RBI apiece on the evening.
Justin Masterson turned in a quality pitching performance, but as has been the case for the most of the season, it wasn’t enough to ensure a victory. Masterson lasted six innings allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, one of which was intentional to Billy Butler, while striking out three. While it was a quality start, Masterson failed to dominate they way you hope the ace of your staff would be able to. Then again, much like the lack of offensive inefficiency, this is something we’ve grown accustomed to as the year has worn on.
The scoring for the Royals got started in the bottom of the second inning. After retiring the ever dangerous Butler, Masterson allowed a single to Jeff Francoeur and allowed him to advance to second on a wild pitch. Masterson rebounded by striking out Eric Hosmer and looked well on his way to escaping unscathed until the aforementioned Pena singled to left to score Francoeur. Pena scored two batters later on a single by second baseman, Irving Falu to make it 2-0 Royals after two.
The Indians responded quickly in the top of the third. With two outs, Asdrubal Cabrera singled to right field and advanced to second on a walk by Carlos Santana. Michael Brantley, who has quietly had a solid season for the Tribe, singled to center and scored Cabrera to cut the Royals’ lead to 2-1. However, it wouldn’t last long. Mike Moustakas hit an sac fly to right in the third and an RBI ground out in the fifth to push the Royals’ lead to 4-1. It’s all they would need.
Thanks to an outstanding pitching performance by Luis Mendoza and the Royals’ bullpen, the Indians only scored two more runs thanks to a two run single by Carlos Santana in the top half of the seventh inning. At 4-3, it appeared as if the Indians were going to pull off a miracle, but it wasn’t meant to be. The Royals added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to put the game out of reach, 6-3. The Tribe went quietly in the top of the ninth to end things, pushing their record to 62-89, 20 games back of the White Sox for first, or… .5 games ahead of the Twins for last in the Central.
The Good: Not much. It was another typical game for the 2012 Cleveland Indians. No one was able to come up with a timely hit or a big play when they needed it. But, for the sake of finding some type of silver lining in all of this, the 10 hits registered by the Tribe was a positive. They gave themselves plenty of chances to score and because of that, they were never really 100% out of the game.
The Bad: I already mentioned it, but the inability to take advantage of scoring opportunities was a huge problem tonight. The Indians collected 10 hits and 2 walks, but could only plate 3 runs. For those of you too lazy to do the math, that come to 9 stranded base runners. That’s not good.
The “Huh?”: The continued misuse of Matt LaPorta by Manny Acta. I realize it’s too late for him to be able to make a differnce and the dye has already been cast on his career with the Indians, but seriously, what good is it to pinch hit him in the top of the eighth? Why is Casey Kotchman still playing? Is he magically going to transform into something he isn’t? He is what he is at this point, so why continue to run him out there every day and take at bats away from guys like LaPorta and Russ Canzler? Those at bats don’t mean much now, but that experience could pay off huge dividends next season.