Apr 22, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields (33) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Salazar Struggles Again, Indians Fall to James Shields and Royals 8-2

Indians Offense Has No Answers for James Shields

Throughout the course of the season, there are games that pop up on the calendar where you just know your team has little to no chance of winning. Tuesday night was one of those nights for the Indians. Before a single pitch was even thrown, this one had the makings of being a loss for the Indians.

The primary reason for this lack of optimism was directly related to the pitcher taking the mound for the Royals, James Shields. Since being acquired by the Royals prior to the start of the 2013 season, Shields has done more than his fair share to earn the title of ace. He has been practically unhittable for the Royals and proved why once again on Tuesday.

In six innings of work, Shields allowed the Indians to plate only two runs on six hits and a walk. He also struck out nine Indians in the process, including the final six out he would record on the night. His already spectacular ERA dropped to 1.90 and he improved his record on the year to 2-2. It’s surprising that Shields has actually picked up two losses so far, but then you remember that he routinely receives next to no run support and it begins to make sense.

Meanwhile, the Indians not only had to contend with James Shields, but also another poor start from one of their starting pitchers. It’s been an alarming trend to being the 2014 season, but Indians starters have mostly been unable to make it through five complete innings. On Tuesday night, Salazar added to the problem by lasting only 4.1 innings. In the process, he allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks. With the loss, his record on the year dropped to 0-3 and may have burst the bubble on his supposed break out season.

On the plus side… This happened. And by this, I mean the obvious choice for the Indians new mascot(s).

james shields

red bag hats dancing

After one successful time through the Royals lineup, it was the second go around that proved to be a problem once again. In the top of the fourth, with the Indians leading 1-0 after an RBI single from Michael Bourn, Salazar served up a gopher ball on a silver platter to Mike Moustakas. He didn’t miss, lining a three run home run into the visiting bullpen out in right field. That made it 3-1 Royals and proved to be the difference.

The Royals added a fourth run when Jarrod Dyson singled home Alcides Escobar a few batters later. With the score 4-1 against a pitcher like Shields, you just knew that the chances of the Indians making a comeback were going to be few and far between unless they got into the bullpen early. Candidly speaking, it wouldn’t have mattered.

The Royals added on to their lead in the fifth thanks to Billy Butler. His RBI double, only his second of the season, made it a 5-1 ballgame. Speaking of Butler, his 2 for 4 night at the plate may be an indication that he is finally ready to break out in 2014 after and ice-cold start.

In the bottom of the sixth, Yan Gomes made it a 5-3 ball game with an RBI double. Unfortunately, it would be nowhere near enough. The Royals tacked on three more runs over the course of the final three innings to make it an 8-2 game. Danny Duffy and Aaron Crow would come on in relief of James Shields and shut the Indians offense down. Their three innings of scoreless relief helped lead the Royals to victory.

Game three of this four game set will take place this evening with first pitch once again scheduled for 7:05. This time around, it will be Justin Masterson taking on Jason Vargas. Be sure to check back in later tonight as I will be live blogging/commenting on the game as the Indians try to guarantee themselves the split.

Source: FanGraphs

The Indians will have to play better in their next game if they want to come out of this series on top. Get your Indians vs KC Royals tickets today!

Tags: Cleveland Indians Danny Salazar James Shields

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