Indians fall to 5-5.
The Indians stumbled through one of the strangest half innings in recent memory during the top of the second today. To start with, look at Kluber's face as he walked off the mound:
It's the angrier, quieter version of this:
At this point, the Indians could put a young Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, and Roberto Clemente in the outfield. I'm sure that on a routine fly ball to left center, Bond's shoe would come flying off, hit Mays in the face, and then catch the ball, causing both fielders to stare around at the grass shrugging. WHERE DID IT GO? Clemente would run up and throw the shoe to home plate — a perfect strike — but too late. Sixty-eight runs would score because Kluber must face opponents using Matball rules.
I understand that it's no fun dealing with an angry sun, but Rajai Davis ought to be able to track down a routine fly ball if he's dealing with anything short of this. We saw Lucas Duda struggle with a foul pop in the top of the fourth, and Jose Ramirez nearly misjudged a fly in the third, but both recorded the out. I'm sure Davis feels not-so-good-maybe-quite-bad-I'm-sorry about his mistakes. That doesn't make the replays any better.
This is definitely one of the games for which I'm interested in hearing the post-game; I've not tried to catch a fly ball while staring into a 865,000 mile-wide fusion explosion in a while, so I'm looking forward to his remarks.
Not all of the blame lies with the fielding. Kluber threw a first pitch ball in ten at-bats through four innings today, and the Mets cashed in with six hits. So far this year we've seen a Klubot that works with ruthless efficiency, deleting chunks of innings from the other team's scorecard. Then, a glitch, and the runs just start to duplicate themselves while Tito frantically pulls up the task manager. We saw this juxtaposition again today. Before a weak grounder up the middle in the sixth, Kluber retired eight in a row. If Davis catches the first pop-up in the second, Kluber's line would read 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO.
It did not help matters that the Indians again failed to score any runs with Kluber on the mound, but Steven Matz pitched an excellent game. Eleven of the outs he recorded happened in three pitches or less. Even with John Adams drumming late in the game against Hector Robles, Jerry Blevins, and Addison Reed, the Indians could not figure out any of the Mets offerings. Here are a few of the more desperate takeaways from today's offensive showing:
• The bottom of the second inning was the only time more than one hitter reached base for the Indians.
• Only Francisco Lindor and Yan Gomes advanced past first base. They both achieved it once.
• Every Indians hitter except Juan Uribe struck out at least once. Six hitters struck out multiple times.
• Mike Napoli's eight game hitting streak ended.
Over the course of a 162 game season it's ridiculous to expect a great showing from the offense every day. However, coming off of three straight games with at least ten hits, today was a bit of a disappointment.
Looking ahead to the rest of the week, the Indians rest tomorrow and then face off against Seattle at home for a three game series before traveling to Detroit for the weekend.
Final thought: If you feel discouraged, remember that the Tribe have already spent more time above .500 this season than they did last season.
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