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Cleveland Indians find nothing but misery in wacky wild world of National League rules

An all-too-familiar outcome.

Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Indians 3, Phillies 4

Box Score

Indians fall to 10-10


The Cleveland Indians stretched the game out to 11 innings, but the result was the same as it has been far too often recently: a walk-off loss. A questionable Terry Francona decision late was the deciding factor in this one, and maybe now he will actually consider giving Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw a break. Probably not, but who knows.

To be completely fair, I liked the idea of bringing in Cody Allen in the 10th inning. He was brought in with one out and the bases loaded with the idea that he could get two straight strikeouts. Well, he managed a strikeout and a groundout and it worked really well. That's what the closer should be used for, and it was a pretty masterful use of the bullpen from Tito. However, as usual, Allen was left in for one too many innings and it cost the team.

In this case, Allen was up against Ryan Howard in the 11th and he failed to locate a fastball. Howard was not having any of that and he crushed it out of the park and directly through the hearts of Tribe fans.

Allen's mistake would not have been as crushing, or maybe not have even mattered, if the offense could manage anything in the final few frames. They could do no such thing, and it resulted in an ugly box score for the whole team. They struck out a whopping 18 times altogether, four coming from Mike Napoli and three from Yan Gomes. The only non-pitcher to not strike out tonight was Juan Uribe, of all people.

The whiffs were especially bad when the team needed offense the most -- late and in extra innings. From the eighth inning on, Indians batters struck out in seven of their 13 at-bats. The Phillies bullpen is far from terrible, but that kind of performance out of an offense at the most crucial moments cannot be acceptable.

Believe it or not, this whole game was not a nightmarish train wreck. For one glorious inning the Indians offense came alive. Even Corey Kluber, pitching because of the archaic National League rules, got a two-out double. Rajai Davis followed with a single to score Kluber (who hustled all the way from second on a single), and Jason Kipnis cleared the bases with a home run.

...and then the bottom of the inning rolled around and reality sunk in.

I do not know for sure if a pitcher batting makes them fatigued in their next inning of work, but it certainly looked like it affected Corey Kluber. Coming into the fifth Kluber was spinning a one-hit shutout with five strikeouts. By the time the inning was over, he had given up two earned runs, five hits, and only added one more strikeout.

The Phillies would threaten to score several times over the next few innings (while the Indians struck out consistently), but the score stayed tied at three until the 11th inning.

Even in the loss, the hero of this game was Yan Gomes. It would have been over at least an inning earlier if he was not on his ball-in-the-dirt blocking game. Cody Allen had a big curveball working when he entered in the 10th inning, and several of the pitchers wound up in the dirt and were close to going behind Gomes. They did not, and the Indians survived another inning. Just one, though.

The Indians will find a new way to crush our hopes and dreams tomorrow when they face the Phillies in another 7:10 p.m. start.