Indians 1, Royals 2
Indians fall to 35-28
The Cleveland Indians stranded three runners in the top of the first inning. This set the tone for the rest of the evening, as they stranded seven more in all nine innings. Things could have gone better for the Tribe against the holders of the one ring, in the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.
To start the game, Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis drew walks on nine total pitches. Edinson Volquez got the next two hitters out, but not easily; Lindor smashed a line drive right at Jarrod Dyson, and Napoli struck out after fouling off four 1-2 pitches. Jose Ramirez watched four balls sail by and trotted to third. Would the Fellowship band together and drive a run home against the Ringwraiths?
Lonnie Chisenhall took one strike, then grounded out to end the inning. The Indians would not see such a good chance to score for the rest of the game. Twice, the Indians thwarted their own chances by grounding into inning-ending double plays. Initially a fielder's choice in the fourth had been ruled as a double play, but a powerful spell cast by Terry Francona retrieved the out from the Balrogs in New York. Not that it mattered: Rajai Davis grounded into another fielder's choice two pitches later. In the last few weeks it feels like these are the exact scenarios in which hitters stroked the ball. There were times in 2015 when almost every runner in scoring position got stranded. Now, these mistakes are beginning to feel like anomalies.
Kipnis provided most of the Indians' offense tonight. He went 2-3 with a walk and a home run. A lead off home run in the eighth, mind you. A monstrous middle finger of a home run off of Kelvin Herrera, blasting off of his bat at 103 mph. A soaring Great Eagle of a home run that landed 415 feet away from home plate. For a moment, it looked as though the Indians might sneak back into the game, like Sam and Frodo navigating the tortuous mountains to infiltrate Mordor and cast the ring into Mt. Doom.
Lindor walked, Napoli struck out, and Ramirez grounded into a double play. Sauron lives. Men are enslaved.
And who do we have to blame, mostly? A nasty, sneaky hobbit by the name of Whit Merrifield. In his first two at-bats, Merrifield homered and tripled, scoring the Royals only two runs on those occasions. May the Shire curse your progeny for eternity.
On the mound, Carlos Carrasco did not look particularly sharp. He gave up quite a few long fly balls, including one on which Chisenhall and Naquin collided.
Carrasco's night seemed a bit off by the numbers, as well. It's not very often a pitcher can give up ten hits and a walk in six innings while allowing only two runs. Despite a WHIP of almost two for the game, he baffled some of the Royals hitters with eight strikeouts. I guess it's a positive sign that Cookie threw strikes. Lots and lots of strikes. He's still looking for his first win after returning from the disabled list, although a six inning, two run outing is not one that he should be too upset about.
Tomorrow night the Indians will look to bring out the bats, the lumber, some serious wood. I'm thinking these guys. Also, Josh Tomlin gets the start. The Indians have won nine out of the eleven games in which he has started this season, making him the closest thing the Indians have to a wizard this season.