Another night, another loss for the Cleveland Indians. What else is new? Last night’s debacle followed the exact same script as the night before. The Indians fell behind early, bounced back in the middle innings to make it a game, and then immediately fell back behind before going quietly in the late innings.
Once again, Ubaldo Jimenez took the mound looking to end another Tribe losing streak. Things didn’t go well, but again, what else is new? Just like we’ve seen time and time again this season, the Indians needed Jimenez to come up big and he did anything but. Jimenez lasted just 4.1 innings allowing 5 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks while only striking out three Royals. In one word, he was awful.
The Royals got things going offensively in the bottom of the first inning. After surrendering a lead-off walk and stolen base to Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar brought him around to score with an RBI double. Two batters later Billy Butler drove home Escobar with an RBI single to right field. It put the Royals ahead 2-0 and paved the way for Jimenez’s major league leading 17th loss. Yes, the Indians ace, or other ace depending on your opinion of the situation leads the majors in losses. Don’t feel too bad, though. Justin Masterson is second with 15 losses. Moving on.
The Indians tied things up in the top half of the fifth thanks to the dynamic duo of… Thomas Neal and Cord Phelps? Yes, Thomas Neal and Cord Phelps. Neal led off the inning with a single to center and scored on a Cord Phelps home run to left field. The home run, the first of the year for Phelps, tied the game at 2-2 and breathed new life into the Tribe for the time being. That is until the following inning when Jimenez loaded the bases.
Jimenez didn’t stick around for the conclusion of his bases loaded disaster, but he did feel the repercussions of it. Alex Gordon scored on an Eric Hosmer RBI fielder’s choice to give the Royals a 3-2 lead. Brayan Pena followed with an RBI sac fly to left scoring Mike Moustakas and expanding the lead to 4-2. Finally, Irving Falu singled to left scoring Jeff Francoeur giving the Royals a 5-2 lead and officially closing the book on Jimenez for the night. Falu was then thrown out trying to steal second base, ending the inning before things could get any worse.
The Indians eventually tacked on another run in the top half of the eighth inning. Carlos Santana led off with a single to right field. Michael Brantley then reached base on a disastrous fielding error by center fielder Jason Bourgeois that allowed Santana to come all the way around to score. It cut the Royals’ lead to 5-3, but alas, that was as close as the Indians would get it. The Royals shut the door after that and the Indians once again went quietly into the night.
With the loss, the Indians record is now a season worst 62-90 and kept them within 19.5 games of the first place White Sox. They also managed to keep pace with the Twins, who also lost last night to the Tigers. for last place in the division. Meanwhile, the Royals now find themselves solidly in third place in the central with a 70-81 record, 11 games behind the White Sox for first. The Indians will close out the three game series with the Royals today as David Huff takes the mound against Jake Odorizzi.
The Good: Once again, the Indians offense showed up last night by recording 10 hits and 4 walks. It helped keep pressure on the Royals pitching staff and also kept them in the game. It was also a good performance by Shin-Soo Choo, Ruzz Canzler, and Carlos Santana, all of whom recorded 2 hits on the night.
The Bad: It’s the exact same problem as Friday night. The Indians managed to get 10 hits and 4 walks, plus a runner reaching on an error and only scored 3 runs. That’s not good. You’re not going to be a successful team if you can’t come up with some clutch hitting in key spots with runners in scoring position. They left 9 men on base. That’s not getting the job done and needs to change.
The “Huh?”: This is easy. Cord Phelps’ home run in the fifth inning. Home runs aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Cord Phelps, but he absolutely crushed Will Smith‘s 0-1 pitch to left field. Maybe, just maybe he’s tarting to figure things out at the big league level. We can only hope.