Game 85: Royals 7, Indians 1
Tribe falls to 41-44
The Indians returned home from another long road trop to celebrate the 4th of July by kicking off a series against the Royals, who pulled ahead of the Tribe a few weeks ago, and have created some distance between the two teams since then. Friday night they created a bit more.
Josh Tomlin was incredible in his previous outing, pitching a one-hit shutout last Saturday in Seattle. Friday night was a different story though. Tomlin was one batter away from turning in another quality start, having struck out six while walking none, and having allowed only two runs in 5.2 innings. Tomlin was already up over 100 pitches when Kansas City's Mike Moustakas came to the plate with two on and two out in the 6th, making it a good time to bring in a lefty reliever and get the platoon advantage. Francona didn't go that route, and Moustakas knocked the ball out for a three-run homer that turned a 2-0 game into a 5-0 one, effectively ending it.
Moustakas is having a pretty miserable season, batting .192/.254/.370 on the year. You wouldn't know it from watching him against the Indians though. After last night he's carrying a line of .333/.357/.852 against the Tribe in 2014, with 4 of his 9 home runs. Bastard.
In the end, even the 2-0 deficit would have been enough, as KC's Yordano Ventura (the American's best rookie aside from Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu, each of whom was already professionals in another country) shut the Indians out for the first eight inning, allowing only two runners to get as far as second base until Michael Brantley put the Indians on the board with a homer to lead off the 9th. That was Brantley's 13th home run of the season, as he continues to be one of the 5-10 best offensive players in the American League.
The Indians are now 8 games behind Detroit and 4 games behind Kansas City in the Central, and 5.5 games behind the second Wild Card spot. If we don't see the Tribe win more than they lose over the nine games they've got between now and the All-Star break, it might be time to throw in the towel on contention this season.
Win Expectancy chart: