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Royals pummel Indians with longballs, hand Tribe third straight loss

When Billy Butler is the nail in the coffin, you know the season has gone downhill

Butler hit the ball so hard, he traveled back in time to the Detroit series
Butler hit the ball so hard, he traveled back in time to the Detroit series
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Game 103: Royals 6, Indians 4

Box Score

Tribe falls to 51-52

My fiancée walked through the door midway through the 6th inning. Not having seen the score yet, she said "I hope they don't drag this out to 14 innings again." Not to worry, I said. There was no chance our offense would score three more runs this game. Strangely, the Indians proved me wrong. Not so strangely, they managed to find a way to lose the game anyway. Poor pitching, poor offense (outside of Carlos Santana), and poor defense combined to send the Tribe to their third straight loss.

Josh Tomlin was, once again, not very good tonight. After a 1-2-3 1st inning, he gave up back-to-back taters to Salvador Perez (?) and Mike Moustakas to put the Indians down 2-0 early. Moussaka owes most of his minimal 2014 success to a killer béchamel Indians pitching, and tonight proved that once again.

Tomlin appeared to settle down the next inning, striking out the side. Carlos Santana put the Indians on the board with a solo bomb in the top of the 4th, and it looked like we might have a ballgame on our hands. Tomlin's suck flared back up in the bottom of the 4th, however, complemented nicely by atrocious defense. Alex Gordon led off with a single, and came around to score on a Raul Ibanez triple. Ibanez himself would score when Jason Kipnis botched the throw to third, allowing the ball to roll under the third base camera bay fence. The Royals were up 4-1, and rookie fireballer Yordano Ventura was cruising. Things didn't look so good for the Indians, but Lando Carlossian wasn't going to let these scoundrels go down without a fight.

With Michael Brantley on base in the Tribe 6th, Santana crushed another homer to put the Tribe within one. A Jason Kipnis sac fly - with a heads-up running play from Yan Gomes - tied the game in the 7th. I was starting to fear this would be another excruciating extra-inning affair. Not if Billy Butler had anything to say about it.

Pardon me for the crude comparison with zero statistical significance, but:

  • Ryan Raburn pinch hits in the Tribe 7th with runners on 2nd and 3rd and two out. He pops out weakly on the second pitch of the at bat. Game remains tied 4-4.
  • Billy Butler pinch hits in the Royals 8th with one on and two out. He crushes a ball toward Venus, and admires it like he's watching the first piece of Thanksgiving turkey being carved. Royals up 6-4

Butler's homer was the nail in the coffin of an otherwise poorly played game. Tomlin's outing ranks medium to high on the turdosity scale with 3 ER, 2 HR, and 7 hit in 5.1. John Axford gets credit for serving up that tasty meatball to Butler, though it was Carlos Carrasco who was responsible for the losing run. And the offense? Oy. The offense. With Michael Brantley struggling and Lonnie Chisenhall coming back to earth, Carlos Santana is basically the only decent hitter the Indians have going right now. It's getting harder and harder to watch this team struggle and lose due to the same reasons as the season comes closer to ending.

After starting the second "half" 3-0, the Indians have now lost five of their last six, and have dipped back below .500. First place in the Central is a lost cause at this point, and the Wild Card continues to slip away. The hearts in Cleveland hope Antonetti can get something done to ignite the charge for a playoff spot. But the minds rightly fear that no realistic move could make that happen.

Win Expectancy Chart:

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call:

Game Thread

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