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Royals crack Kluber's code, Tribe bats miss opportunities in 4-2 loss

For the second time this season, Kluber looked somewhat human against the Royals. The Indians also squandered a several good offensive opportunities.

Corey Kluber allowed four runs in his first three innings, but was able to go eight innings to save the bullpen.
Corey Kluber allowed four runs in his first three innings, but was able to go eight innings to save the bullpen.
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Royals 4, Indians 2

Box Score

Indians fall to 25-27

During the last couple weeks, the Indians have had games in which they've failed to take care of offensive opportunities, but in most cases their pitching has been good enough to not let that burn them. Tonight, Corey Kluber wasn't able to bail the offense out.

All of tonight's scoring happened in the first six at-bats. The Royals scored their first run off Kluber on the first two pitches they saw (Alcides Escobar double, Mike Moustakas single). The Indians countered with a run in the second inning when Brandon Moss doubled home Ryan Raburn, and took the lead when Mike Aviles drove home Michael Bourn with a single.

After the top of the third you thought perhaps that that might be enough with Corey Kluber pitching. He had bounced back after the Royals' initial flurry, retiring six straight batters after Moustakas' first inning single. But in the third the Kansas City bats came to life again. After Drew Butera struck out to start the inning, the Royals put together five straight hits (single, single, double, double, double), scoring three runs to take back the lead. If not for a very nice relay throw to nail Mike Moustakas at the plate, the Royals would have scored at least one more run. Kluber made some minor location mistakes in the third, but the Royals were looking to take his pitches the other way. Two of the doubles were hit over Ryan Raburn (who was subbing for Michael Brantley) in left, and I thought he had a chance to make a play on the Morales double.

Usually when a pitcher allows that many hits and runs that early in a game he's probably not going to get into the middle innings, but because (1) the Royals scored their runs very quickly, on a very minimal amount of pitches, and (2) Corey Kluber rebounded after the third inning, he stuck around to pitch eight innings. Although the effort ultimately ended in a team loss, Kluber's complete game meant that the bullpen will be fully rested for tomorrow's series finale.

The Indians "only" left 6 runners on base, but that number is a little misleading. Twice double plays quashed offensive rallies. In the third, after the Indians took the lead, Ryan Raburn grounded into a double player with runners on first and a second. In the fifth, with runners on first and third and nobody, Mike Aviles pulled off on Jason Vargas and hit a cue shot back to the pitcher. Michael Bourn (who was at third) froze when Vargas fielded the ball, but then inexplicably also froze after Vargas threw to second. The Royals turned the 1-4-3 double play, and Bourn didn't even attempt to get into a rundown. The Indians went quietly in the sixth, and after that the Royals bullpen took over. There was to be no late-inning runs off the Kansas City bullpen this time; they had two hits off Ryan Madson in the seventh, but nothing came of it, and the Tribe went in order in the eighth and ninth innings.

Win Expectancy Chart

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call

Game Thread

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