Errors and Base Running Blunders Can’t Stop Indians
One of the fundamental issues for the Indians, and I outlined this yesterday prior to the first pitch of last night’s game, has been their inconsistency. I think I need to amend that statement just a bit. You see, the Indians have been consistent in one respect. They are consistent in the fact that at least two or three times per game, some type of mistake, whether it be mental or physical, will rear its ugly head. They don’t always come back to haunt the Indians, but they do make the game of baseball significantly more difficult.
Last night was no exception. Try as they might, the Indians just couldn’t avoid making mistakes on defense and on the base paths. Twice, Michael Bourn ran into an out. In the bottom of the first inning he was “caught stealing” when he got too far off of second on a bunt attempt by Jason Kipnis. Then in the seventh, Bourn was again gunned down. This time on a straight steal attempt of second base. Luckily for him, Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis bailed him out by teaming up to score the go ahead run on a single and RBI double.
Before that, in the top of the sixth, the Royals were able to plate their third run of the game when the Indians provided them with extra outs. As Fangraphs so eloquently explained earlier on Wednesday, the Indians defense is rather shoddy (I’m trying to be nice). As a result, it has led to the starting rotation to throw more pitches, endure more stress, and subsequently shorten their starts significantly. On Wednesday night, the Indians failed to turn double plays two batters in a row. These additional outs extended the inning for Justin Masterson and led to a run eventually crossing the plate. It was a run that never would have been scored had the Indians successfully completed either double play attempt.
Meanwhile, the Royals began the scoring on Wednesday in the top half of the second inning. Back-to-back home runs by Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas put the Royals up by a score of 2-0. At that point, it looked as if Justin Masterson was not going to have his best arsenal of pitches on hand. With a little bit a tweaking, particularly with the velocity of his slider, Masterson was able to regain control and make it through 6.1 solid innings of work.
The Indians tied the game in the bottom of the second. Michael Bourn’s two run triple into the power alley in right center scored both Miek Aviles and Asdrubal Cabrera to make it a 2-2 game. It is especially important to note that Michael Bourn went 3 for 5 on Wednesday. It appears as if he may finally have his timing down. That is a major development for a team that has been struggling to score runs.
After the Royals took the lead again on an RBI single to right by Moustakas in the top of the sixth, the Indians responded again in the following half inning. This time it was all Michael Brantley. After singling, he attempted to steal second. A throwing error by Salvador Perez and fielding error by Jarrod Dyson allowed him to come all the way around to score.
As mentioned, the Indians took the lead the following inning on an RBI double from Kipnis. They added an insurance run in the eighth thanks to an RBI single from Lonnie Chisenhall, who is now hitting .432/.475/.595 on the year. John Axford closed out the game for his 8th save of the season.
The Indians and Royals will finish their four game series today with first pitch scheduled for 12:05. Corey Kluber will be on the mound for the Tribe as they take on Bruce Chen. Thanks to Wednesday night’s victory, the Indians are guaranteed at least a split regardless of today’s outcome.