Royals 6, Indians 2
Tribe falls to 6-12
April has been a miserable month for the Indians. I wish that May would get here already, not that a different picture on the locker room calendar is likely to make much difference. We're only 18 games into the schedule, but already we're looking at a Tribe team that's 7 games out of first place, and 6.5 games out of second. The Indians have played twice as many games on the road as at Progressive Field so far, if you're looking for some sort of silver lining, but 9,000 roaring fans and the comforts of home don't seem to be helping, as they're now just 1-5 in Cleveland.
As for the particulars of tonight's defeat... well, let's see...
Corey Kluber had his second mediocre start in a row after three really good ones to begin the season. He gave up 10 hits in 6.1 innings. Four earned runs scored while he was in the game, and then two unearned ones came across just after he was pulled from the game. The reigning AL Cy Young winner ends the month of April with a record of 0-3, which is largely not his fault, and with a mediocre 4.24 ERA, which is somewhat not his fault. In any case, a repeat honor for the Klubot is looking awfully unlikely.
Those two unearned runs came after one of the Tribe's three errors this evening, all by the infield. Jason Kipnis threw an out away in the 1st, Jose Ramirez misplayed a ball in the 2nd, and Mike Aviles (at third base tonight) did the same in the 7th. If those three plays had all been made, Kluber would have been looking at shorter innings, and it's reasonable to think another one or two of those "earned" runs never would have scored. That's not the kind of team the Indians are though.
As for the offense, they were facing a left-handed starter, so you can probably guess how well things went. Jason Vargas was terrible, walking two men in the 1st and two more in the 3rd, but both times Carlos Santana was unable to make him pay. None of Vargas' five free passes came around to score. Mike Aviles hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the 5th, but that shot should have put the Tribe ahead by one or two runs. They let Vargas off the hook, and while they worked his pitch count up and got into the bullpen for the 6th inning, Kansas City has a great bullpen, and the Indians managed just one base runner in the final four innings.
As is always the case after the first game of a three-game set, the Indians could still end up winning the series, but right now it's hard for me to visualize them winning two games in a row, perhaps because they haven't done it for three weeks. Trevor Bauer will return from his illness to start Tuesday night's game, with the right-handed Jeremy Guthrie going for KC. Those things sounds good, but so did having Kluber on the mound.
At this point, Tribe fans should expect victory only when the final score is in the books and the Indians have a larger number than their opponent, and not an inning sooner.
Win Expectancy Chart
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