And just like that, the Indians’ four game winning streak is a thing of the past. Led by James Shields, the Royals put an end to the Tribe’s winning ways and kept them on the wrong side of the playoff picture for another day. While the Indians didn’t lose any ground, they now trail the Rangers by a half game for the second spot, yesterday’s loss was an opportunity wasted. At this point in the year, opportunities need to be seized, not squandered.
Unfortunately, as predicted in our series preview yesterday afternoon, the Indians ran into a buzz saw in the form of James Shields. For the second time in a week he held the Indians offense in check. This time he lasted only six innings, but allowed only one run to cross the plate on a Lonnie Chisenhall solo home run in the top of the fifth. It was his only mistake of the game as Shields struck out 10 while scattering six hits.
Meanwhile, Scott Kazmir wasn’t awful, but he never stood a chance going up against Shields. Over the course of five innings of work ( he pitched into the sixth) Kazmir allowed only four runs to cross the plate. Unfortunately those four runs were four runs too many against Shields. Without the Indians able to do anything offensively, Kazmir was saddled with his ninth loss of the season overall.
The Royals jumped out to an early lead behind the bat of Billy Butler. In the bottom of the first inning his single back up the middle scored Emilio Bonifacio and put the Royals up 1-0. Two innings later Salvador Perez singled to right center scoring Alex Gordon and putting the Royals ahead by a score of 2-0. That’s all the offense they would need, but they were far from done.
After Chisenhall’s solo shot in the fifth, the Royals exploded for three runs in the bottom of the sixth and two more in the seventh. Oddly enough, only on of the Royals’ RBI hits went for extra bases, that being Lorenzo Cain‘s RBI triple to center. Other than that, the remainder of the run scoring for the Royals came on singles and a disastrous throwing error by Chisenhall at third base. When it was all said and done, the Royals had a 7-1 victory.
In the grand scheme of things, this was only one loss. The sky is not falling and the world is not coming to an end by any means. As previously stated, the Tribe didn’t lose ground last night in the wild card race so really, things could be worse. Plus, they were facing James Shields who is a legitimate ace. He did his job and shut down the Indians. Now it is u to them to bounce back over the next two days against Danny Duffy and Bruce Chen.
The Good: One last time. This loss does not end the Indians’ season or kill off their playoff hopes. It’s only one loss and they are still a half game out with about two weeks left to go. They have plenty of time to bounce back from this and get back on track.
The Bad: James Shields shut the Indians down again. And while this is what he is paid to do and is almost expected at this point, it doesn’t make things any easier. The Indians faced Shields less than a week ago and were unable to make any adjustments to make life difficult for “Big Game James.” Again, this is what Shields is paid to do, but the Indians have to be better if they are serious about being contenders.